What can cause jerking on heavy acceleration when AC is on in my 2008 PT Cruiser Convertable?


Asked by Aug 12, 2012 at 08:08 PM about the 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The service engine light came on in my car. It's come on before and then gone off. Yesterday after driving about 5 miles, upon trying to accelerate my PT started jerking. If I ease off the accelerator then it will run ok without the jerking. I had my daughter come over with her computer reader to diagnose the problem for me. No codes came up. She took it and test drove it, and it didn't do the jerking. Today I go out and have the AC going, the check service engine light comes on again and then the car starts in jerking on heavy acceleration again. I decided to try turning off the AC to see if that made a difference, it did. The car did not jerk any longer as long as I left the AC off. What could be causing my car to act up like this? Also, the service engine light stayed on even with the AC off and no jerking. I just had it checked out and a service done on it about 2 weeks ago. They said it had a clean bill of health....no problems. Now this!!! Can someone give me a clue as to what is going on...PLEASE????

10 Answers


I finally figured out what was causing my car to jerk upon fast acceleration. I took my car to Autozone as my son suggested. They will hook up a computer reader to your car and get a print out of all the codes that come up. They will then give you the print out telling you what it showed as possible things wrong. I had two codes. One was saying the gas cap on my car was faulty and most likely needed to be replaced. Inexpensive quick fix! I more or less figured something was going on with it considering the gas cap light lit up from time to time on my dash. The other thing it suggested was my cam sensor. Another relatively inexpensive part replacement. If you buy it at the auto parts store it's a few dollars less then at the dealership. The parts store has two types, I chose the one with a lifetime warranty on it. My son installed the part for me which was an easy install, and my car is now running great again! :)

21 out of 21 people think this is helpful.

Octoberschild, I had the same problem. When I turned off the ac, it was fine. Finally got tired of not using ac so when it acted up, I took it to the mechanic. Ended up being an accelerator sensor. Hope this helped :)

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

my 2007 pt did same thing, engine light came on , car was jerking and bucking, ( had nothing to do with the a/c or heat) it was the cam positon sensor, on line the part is 35.99 to 55.99 depending on where you buy it, local garage did mine part and labor for 162.00

14 out of 14 people think this is helpful.

My Wifes 2004 pt cruiser began bucking and stalling, I took it to the shop ,they plug it into their computer and tell me the AC cooling fan itself was burned out causing the car to overheat and stall. So we replaced it and the car still does the same thing. They replaced the crankshaft sensor ,still the same thing.replaced oil sending unit same thing.every time we go to pick it up it never leaves the parking lot without stalling.each time they tell us the problem has been resolved and runs perfect and then never makes it a mile down the road before the problem returns. When this happens ,I push the accelerator but nothing happens ,it loses all power then dies ,the computer has been check and reprogrammed ,they say. I was thing maybe a catalytic converter or the fuel pump but they say no,it's electrical.right before his happens I get a dinging sound and a small light next to the fuel gauge comes on, any suggestions please help

23 out of 23 people think this is helpful.

I had a problem with my 2003 Sebring 2.4l. It had a subtle miss when idling which got much worse with the A/C on. The car was like this for many months without bothering me much but then I noticed a hesitation/cutting out during a harder acceleration when demanding near max power etc. The check engine light never came on during this time. I first replaced the cam position sensor after some initial research and it seemed to fix the problem. The issue returned in a short time and I was back to square one in trying to diagnose the problem. Without the CEL at least leading me in the right direction it seemed like it was going to be tough to diagnose and my mechanic friend concurred. It turned out to be a bad spark plug wire that was causing an intermittent arc or short that was getting worse over time. A new set of $35 plug wire has my car now running beautifully and better than it has in months even at 204k miles. Just remember-it's always fuel or ignition and more often ignition in the final analysis. Fuel pumps go but they die completely. Sensors go bad but it boils down to spark in the end result unless there is internal engine damage like a broken valve train component or something worse and likely catastrophic.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Just a side note, even with the more modern vehicles it is still a good idea to check for weak vacuum lines. Without proper ventilation an vacuum some components will not function correctly making you think it is a different problem all together. Only an honest shop will find it. Also research a shop before giving over your investment, Better Business Bureau is still in operation an offers a free grade of the business being researched.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Mines starting jerking and as I tried to give it some gas it jerked worsted, and then my check engine light comes on and stay for awhile and then goes off, I also put 87 grade gas and my friend puts 89 grade ....Any suggestions????

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

am having a similar problem with my Hyndai Santafe 2007, i put the Ac the car start Jerking, the car cant move good again, cant climb hill with it force and speed, i guess i have to go for the computer diagnosing machine to know where the problem is from. I also need help and clues,

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Camshaft sensor need ne replaced

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

That was what happened to my 2006 pt cruiser to , as soon as I changed the crankshaft sensor it came back to life again , this has to be changed every five yrs of use ...thanks

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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