Car Jerks When Shifting from Park to Drive – What Is The Reason?

Automatic transmissions tend to work without drivers having to think about them. They don’t have much help other than topping off fluids now and then.

When there is an issue with your car’s ability to run smoothly, it can be a little bit of a mystery to many people.

Some mechanics don’t like handling transmission issues because they are very complicated.

Why does my car jump when I put it on the drive?

There are several reasons that cars jump when they are put in drive.

Some of the common ones include malfunctioning sensors, low transmission fluid, dirty transmission fluid, a clogged transmission filter, a failing transmission pump, and worn-out parts.

This is something that you need to pay attention to for a long time. It could leave you stranded on the side of the road if you do that.

If you want to know if your transmission is failing, and if it’s causing your car to jump when you put it in drive, this article will give you all the warning signs that you need to know.

Car Jerks when Drive

Why Does My Car Jump When I Put It In Drive?

If you feel jumpy and jerking when you put your car in drive, this is a sign that your transmission is having a hard time shifting gears, and this could be a sign of a malfunctioning sensor.

If either of these options is the source, the fix could be simple and not very expensive.

There are a lot of different reasons why your car might be jumping.

What Are the Reasons?

Low Transmission Fluid 

Your transmission system uses fluid to make sure that the system runs smoothly and it needs the right amount of fluid to work correctly.

If your transmission fluid level is too low, you will experience issues with shifting in and out of gears, which can cause your transmission system to not work.

A leak in the system is the only way that your fluid would be low. Your fluid level shouldn’t fall quickly because it is closed and doesn’t burn up.

If you see a dark red fluid where you park your car, this is a sign that you are leaking transmission fluid.

Dirty Transmission Fluid 

When the transmission fluid is dirty, it can affect the smooth shifting of the vehicle.

It’s possible to get pieces of metal or dirt into the fluid, which will wear down your transmission system quicker.

If the dirty fluid is in your transmission system, it can affect its ability to build pressure.

If you notice that your car is having trouble shifting into drive, but don’t see any leaking fluid, then check your fluid to make sure it isn’t dirty.

Clogged Transmission Filter 

If there is a large particle inside the system, your transmission filter can sometimes get stuck.

When the fluid is dirty, there may be only one or two particles that are causing the problem. This will cause the transmission pump to wear out more quickly if the filter is not cleaned.

It could cause a change in the system’s pressure in the system, or it could cause the transmission function to be lower.

If you have flushed your transmission recently, this doesn’t always mean that you need to change it. You will want someone to look at the problem and see what’s causing it.

If you can see and remove the particle, you can see an improvement in gear shifting. If the particle is hard to see, then you will need to change the filter.

If you get your transmission fluid changed, it’s a good idea to change the filter now and then to make sure you don’t have any issues like this in the future.

Failing Transmission Pump 

The transmission pump is close to the filter and if it fails you could see some people jumping whenever you try to shift gears.

You will be able to hear a whining noise in the engine that can be heard if your pump is failing.

If your check engine light shows that there is an issue with the pump, you might see it.

Your transmission pump is going to have to work harder to do its job if you have a clogged filter. This could lead to expensive fixes if it fails sooner than it should.

It is best to stay on top of things as much as possible to prevent these types of issues because you don’t want to let your filter get clogged and allow the pump to fail because of it.

Worn Out Parts 

The reason for shifting being jumpy is because of worn-out parts in your transmission system. One of the top reasons for feeling jerked when you shift into the drive is if you have an older car.

Old parts don’t work as well and they could cause loose shifting. When you try to put your car in drive, shifting can cause you to jump.

If any need to be replaced, check your parts or have a mechanic look at them. If the problem persists, you need to replace the older parts.

Why Should You Take Care Of It?

Regardless of what the issue is with your transmission, you want to deal with it immediately.

If you don’t handle the fix immediately, your car will have more damage and you will be at risk of getting stuck on the side of the road.

If you drive with a bad transmission, it will hurt your car more and cause you to need a more expensive repair.

It will help you avoid paying more down the line for a larger issue and it will keep you from breaking down unexpectedly and needing to be towed.

Importance of Transmission Fluid 

The amount of transmission fluid and its condition can make a huge difference in the performance of your vehicle.

It is possible to make your car run better by checking for leaks, changing out your fluid frequently, and making sure that the fluid isn’t getting dirty.

You should check your car’s owner’s manual for the recommended number of miles between transmission fluid changes if you don’t know how frequently you should change it.

If you don’t have access to the owner’s manual, you can choose to change the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles.

If you notice that your fluid is getting dirty, it is a good time to get another fluid change, even if the time between changes is shorter.

Drive Gear


Taking care of your vehicle doesn’t take a lot of work, but knowing what issues stem from what system and how to fix them could help diagnose your vehicle’s problems.

This can cause a lot of problems if the transmission is not shifting as smoothly as it used to.

You want to know what’s causing your vehicle to jump when you shift, and what you can do to remedy the situation.

Getting costly fixes shouldn’t be normal and you can get it fixed for less if you know what is causing the problem.

You mustn’t take any chances when shifting. If you have to have your transmission rebuilt, it can be very expensive and it is important for your vehicle.

Having the system rebuilt for a long time will be put off if you don’t take care of your transmission.

Whenever you need to find out what is causing your car to jump when shifting gears, use this article to figure out what you can do to fix it.

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