Nissan Altima 2009 RPM goes up and down and car jerks when driving below 60mph and going up and down the hill.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Your question is very broad. There are probably a thousand things which could cause what you're suggesting. Could you please edit your question with more detail as to what exactly is going on in your specific instance so we can stand a better chance of helping you? Sep 22, 2022 at 11:05
  • Maybe TPS, if you have a ODB tool showing live data you can look at the values the ECU gets as you gradually peddle down and up check the ramp up is small. If it jumps around then likely this
    – Chris
    Sep 23, 2022 at 2:07

2 Answers 2


If you have an automatic transmission from which most of the fluid has leaked out, the torque converter will sometimes "slip" as air gets into the mechanism instead of fluid. This may happen more often on hills. This produces the same effect as depressing the clutch on a car with manual transmission. The engine will speed up. Then, when the torque converter gets enough fluid to work again, there will be a "jerk" as if you released the clutch pedal.

So check your transmission fluid. Look in your car's manual and follow the procedure to check the fluid. If you do not have the manual, find it online.

If the dip stick does not show any fluid level follow the manual's procedure for adding fluid or take the car to a service station to add fluid to the proper level. And maybe fix the leak.


Two questions here:

"What would cause the car RPM to fluctuate"

Pressing or letting off the accelerator. Changing load on the engine due to hills, wind, A/C compressor.

"cause a vehicle to vibrate on smooth roads?"

Tires of of balance or otherwise damaged, worn suspension, worn drivetrain components.

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