I own a 2010 Nissan Sentra. This past winter whenever the roads have any amount of snow or moisture on them my car started to randomly jerk. It feels like it is catching and then it takes off again. It started off sporadically and now can happen over 30 times on the ride home even if it’s just a dusting of snow. It happens at any speed, any RPM, and on hills and flat surfaces. I took it into the dealer and they told me a valve was left open allowing air in the lines and they they fixed it. It snowed the night I picked it up and the car proceeded to jerk over 20 times on the short ride home. I have looked this problem up online and it doesn’t appear to be common. If I can’t figure it out I am going to have to get a new car because it just isn’t drive able in the winter. Other than this it is in great shape. Do you know what is wrong?
If you can say something more about the “valve” and “air in the lines” that would be helpful. It’s too vague to really say what it’s about but since they were able to actually inspect the car it could give clues.
Does this car have traction control?
What is the make and model of your tires and about how many miles are on them?
Is your check engine light on? Or any other warning lights?
We’re going to need a better description of “random jerk” if we are going to give you guesses that have much value.
When you feel this “jerk”, what does the tachometer indicate? (In other words, do the RPMs decrease or increase?)
Does the speed of the car change?
Do any warning lights come on when the car jerks?
How many miles are on the odometer?
How many miles per day is the car driven?
Does it have an automatic transmission or is it a manual shift?
What can you tell us–specifically–about the car’s maintenance over the past 3 years?
Has it been maintained at least as well as Nissan specifies, in terms of both odometer mileage and elapsed time?
The RPMs don’t change, the speed doesn’t change. It’s as if the car hesitates. You can feel it jerk back and then forward again. The speed doesn’t change as this occurs though. No lights come on when this happens. It has 65000 miles, and it’s driven about 60 miles a day. Over the last three years it only has had routine maintenance done by certified mechanics. The snow tires are about three years old, but when checked they were still good. I am not sure of the make and model. It is an automatic transmission. The Nissan dealership thought the only thing wrong was the air valve, they didn’t provide any more specifics than that. But the problem still occurs so that clearly wasn’t it.
I assume this car has a traction control system. It sounds like that’s malfunctioning. Are you sure the traction control indicator light doesn’t come on just for an instant when this happens? Does the traction control indicator light work (which you’d check when starting the car)?
By the way, I know you said your snow tires are still good, but how much tread do they actually have left? Three winters is often the limit.
I’m actually going to start with guess that you probably have a cracked ignition coil or damaged wiring for one or more of them. In that case, I’m assuming that the issue isn’t about what’s on the road, but what is in the air - as in moisture. Marginal ignition components are susceptible acting up when they get damp. This will cause an occasional misfire (sometimes more than occasional). Misfires will feel like what you describe. Eventually, an error code should be set, but the computer counts and waits before setting them. All cars misfire once in a while for random reasons, so the computer doesn’t set a code every time it sees one. It waits and counts.
Either that or, as lion9car said, your traction control is acting up.