05 Jeep Cherokee hesitating start and jerking while driving

My 05 Cherokee has begun to jerk while driving. It’s only just a jerk or two and then it smoothes out and drives fine. It only happens while driving never from a stop.
It is also hesitating a little while starting. It always starts but I have never had this problem before. Not sure if the two issues are related or not but thought I would mention it.

I had a similar problem with my Subaru and turned out to be the fuel pump. It would always act up going up a certain hill while trying to pull extra power from the engine. You might check and replace the fuel filter as a first step.

How long have the spark plugs been in service…They don’t last forever…So yeah, a fuel filter and a set of plugs might clear things up…

I am not sure the spark plugs have ever been changed. If they were it was back when the car was still under warranty and I was having it serviced at the dealer.
I have also noticed recently that the hesitation is only for the first start of the day. Afterwards it starts right up.

The fuel may be flowing back to the tank while the car is parked. The check valve that is usually in the fuel pump may be leaking and allowing fuel to backflow into the tank.

so if I parked on an incline tonight, would that prevent that backflow. Then if it starts right up I would know the problem.

Yeah, that might work if that is really causing the issue. You could also try just turning the ignition on several times for a few seconds each time to see if the pump primes the fuel back up the line.

I assume I would want to have the front end of my car higher than my rear end. Is that right.

No, the front needs to be lower than the tank. I would try the ignition trick I just added to my previous post.

That surprises me. I park that way everyday. My front end is always a little lower than my rear. Are you sure

maestro489 wrote:
I am not sure the spark plugs have ever been changed. If they were it was back when the car was still under warranty and I was having it serviced at the dealer.

Are you saying that you don’t the follow the schedule of required maintenance and keep your maintenance records? If so, that’s a good way to end up having to make expensive repairs down the road that could have been avoided for a relatively small amount of money.

The car is 10 years old there isn’t a required maintenance log anymore. It stops at 100k

Huh? you think required maintenance stops when the car reaches 100k?
no, sorry to tell you, but the required maintenance continues past that point. Look carefully in the users manual.

Unless this vehicle has a diesel engine the spark plugs should be replaced every 30,000 miles.

Thanks Nevada_545 and to all of the rest of you who have offered support and suggestions. I really appreciate it. For those of you who only offered criticism I say, goodbye.

Hesitation for the first start of the day is a common symptom of the fuel tank check valve leaking fuel from the fuel rail into the tank overnight. That depressurizes the rail, and so there’s not enough fuel pressure to start the engine at first. Parking on a hill to keep the gas tank higher than the engine won’t prevent fuel from back-flowing from the fuel rail back into the tank if the check valve is kaput. The reason is the fuel in the fuel rail is pressurized enough it will easily flow uphill to the tank.

If the trouble is with the fuel leaking back to the tank then cycling the ignition On and OFF, leaving it ON for a few seconds each time for several times before trying to start the engine, will pressurize the fuel line again and the engine should start normally.