2005 Taurus SE

Hey everyone my check engine light is on, my car seems to “shake” or randomly “jolt” during idle or while accelerating, and sometimes when I accelerate moderately it seems like the gears or something “slips”, and it’s impossible to accelerate at all. What’s going on??

Any number of a hundred things may be going on.

The check engine light means that the computer has diagnostic codes stored in it. Many large auto parts stores read these for free. The codes are in the format “P1234” - take it to one, have it scanned, write down the exact “P” numbers (not what anyone says about them) and post the codes.

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.

I want to echo and emphasize the advice to have the car’s OBD system scanned for trouble codes immediately. As cigroller stated, there are literally hundreds of possibilities regarding the nature of the problem, but continuing to drive the car in its present condition could be increasing your repair bill every time that you drive it.

If you are correct that “something slips”, that could indicate a transmission problem.
If you continue to drive the car in that condition, you could be wearing away the friction surfaces in the transmission. As the friction surfaces wear away, that material can clog the tiny hydraulic passages inside the transmission. Or to put it in layman’s terms, if your transmission is beginning to slip and you continue to drive it, this is equivalent to asking someone with chest pains to run the NY Marathon–i.e.–very unwise.

Regarding the transmission–When “it’s impossible to accelerate”, is the engine revving higher than normal? Have you bothered to look at your tachometer when this situation takes place? It would be very revealing if you noted the action of your tachometer and reported back to us on your observation.

All of that being said, most “driveability” problems are actually engine-related, rather than transmission-related. But, until you find out what trouble codes have been stored by the car’s OBD system, everything is mere guesswork.