Acceleration Hesitation

Hi. I drive a 1998 Ford escort (manual transmission). Recently, I noticed that the car hesitates and jerks upon acceleration. It did primarily when driving up hills; now it occurs intermittently on level streets. I have no difficulty during shifting, just when pressing on the gas pedal. The weird thing is that it doesn’t always do it, but often enough to be cause for concern. I’d like to take it into a mechanic but am apprehensive because I had a very bad experience with a dealership mechanic with my wife’s car. Any preliminary advice on most probable causes and best way to find a trustworthy mechanic and referal? Your answer is greatly appreciated. Juls

How recently have the spark plugs, plug wires, fuel filter, air filter, and PCV valve been replaced?
If you can’t recall when, then these items are probably overdue and are the likely cause of the problem.

Even though you are apprehensive about mechanics, this problem will not cure itself, and is only going to get worse–until the point where you wind up being stranded. Before that happens, ask friends, relatives and co-workers for recommendations on an independent mechanic in your area.

DO NOT go to Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, AAMCO or any other chain operation unless you relish being overcharged for substandard (and possibly unnecessary work). You might also use the “Mechanics Files” located in another portion of this site to locate recommended mechanics in your area.