Check Engine Light On/hesitation & shaking while accelerating and idling. on 2000 Toyota Solara

The other day I was getting on the expressway and as I hit the gas to accelerate the engine hesitated and only accelerated at a very slow rate...if I gave it too much gas it began to shake. The check engine light came on and has been on ever since. The engine has the same issue while idling at traffic lights..I put the car in park at stop lights in fear that the shaking will lead to a stall out. It seemed a couple of times the engine "caught" really quick and would accelerate at a normal speed but then returned to the shaking/hesitating. I took it to AutoZone for the free diagnostic hookup and they said my vehicle needed a tune up. I replaced the spark plugs and the problem still exists. Also if it helps, the vehicle doesn't shake while in neutral and I give it some gas. Only while in gear? Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Asked by for the 2000 Toyota Solara
Just had the same problem with my 92 Celica. She runs great but after putting in gas one morning starting stuttering and would not accelerate. Shook alot at the low speeds and I feared would die when I was at stop light. Did fine in neutral, but once I put in gear would shake and lagged on acceleration. I checked my alternator, it had bad diode pattern, so I replaced, but still had problem. Ended up being 2 bad spark plug wires. My celica was firing on only 2 plugs thus the shaking and non acceleration. You changed your spark plug, but it may be your spark plug wires, so give that a try. It may just be 1 or 2 bad wires. The first one we tried on mine ended up being the culprit, after changing it out, she ran quiet and smooth again, but changed out all four (since wireset was under warranty) and found that the 4th one was cracking as well. Autozone has Duralast wires with lifetime warranty for under 50 bucks.
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I have this same exact problem with my 99 Solara. I was wondering if you ever got this problem resolved and if so, what was the answer. Any advice you can provide would be extremely helpful.

Thank you,
I was able to get my problem fixed. Wasn't the spark plugs but the ignition coils. It may have been just one bad coil that was causing the misfire but seeing as I could get all three aftermarket on Ebay for under $100, I just went ahead and replaced them all. Car runs fine now, no more check engine light sending misleading error codes.

i have a 2003 chevrolet malibu and it happened once before. replaced all the spark plugs and wires and still did it. took it to a shop and they replaced the rocker arm and whatever else and problem ceased....started again last night
it's most likely your catalytic converter- I had the exact same problem. Not anymore.
If its only while in gear, could be sign of an automatic transmission about to fail. It makes sence that it would only shudder while in drive, but not while in park or neutral. Your transmission is about to kick the can.
The hesitation and shaking in the motor could be from your motor miss firing because of worn spark plugs and wires. I suggest you get you plugs and wires changed and your distributor and make sure you route your wires so that they aren't touching the exhaust manifold or anything that gets hot by just zip tying the wires.
When I had this problem with a 93 Honda Civic DX, it was the catalytic converter.
Have you tired a trottle body, try cleaning it first if that doesnt work you might have to replace it
It might be the Valve cover gasket, It's just a rubber seal to prevent motor oil from spilling but it would cause your car to run like garbage. Go for aftermarket parts to save some $, the job plus parts might cost from $70 to $300 depending where you bring it to. I got mine done a couple years ago for a 91 prelude for $120, Hope this helps.
I also have the same problem . 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer. diagnostic read misfire on #2. I changed out all 4 spark plugs and now it shakes when idling and bogs down when I give it gas.
I have a 2004 Lancer too that is doing the same thing. Replaced the spark plugs and wires but it's still shaking and I guess bogs as it doesn't want to go. Did you find out what the problem is?