Why does my car shudder when I accelerate?

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It usually happens when I gradually speed up, but not during hard acceleration. What do you think the problem could be?

Q. My 1992 Pontiac four-door sedan seems to shudder and slip when I accelerate. This happens first thing in the morning, but it improves throughout the day. It doesn’t usually happen under hard acceleration, but more so when I gradually speed up. What do you think the problem could be?

A. There are many problems that match your description. It could be that the transmission is slipping, so I would start with an inspection of the fluid level and condition. The problem could also be ignition- or fuel-related. Check all the basics first, and then consider having the car evaluated by a professional technician. Unless the car is in very good condition at 26-years-old, I would carefully consider how much you spend on repairs.

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John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.