Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car cranks but it won't start - 2003 Nissan Altima

asked by on

The problem is, I was driving one day and all of a sudden at the red light, my car started shaking and the oil light was flashing. After a few seconds later it stalled. I had to start it again, but it wouldn't start by itself, it would just crank. The only way for me to start was to put gas to the peddle and it would start right up, but rough. Every time it goes under or near 1,000 RPM it shuts down. Keep in mind that i had the check engine light on prior to this happening. I get the code P011, P0300, p0335. I thought it was the crank sensor and cam, but that didn't fix the problem. It would still keep cranking and not start. I've drained and changed the oil and filter and still no success. Spark plugs are new and everything. i don't know what else to do. I might just have to take it to the shop.

My car has 149000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Your symptoms suggest a problem with both camshaft and ignition timing (driven off the cam). Given your mileage, I would suspect a worn timing chain, chain guides, and the chain tensioner. It is also possible the timing chain was loose enough (from wear of these components) that it "jumped a tooth" during the traffic light incident, which changes the cam and ignition timing relative to the crankshaft, and will cause rough running, and other potential engine damage.

Replacing the timing chain components is a normal maintenance task for engines with your mileage, and needs to be checked out before driving the vehicle further causes engine damage. I would recommend having a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your location to perform an inspection to determine why the engine is shaking and suggest repairs necessary to get your car back in proper working order.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Mileage is getting progressively worse

Hi there. This can be caused by a number of things. If it occurred right after the work was done then you may want to have it double checked. They may have used poor quality wires or the wrong spark...

Q: The rpm drops when stopped. It feels like it wants to die then catches to normal, it will do this a couple of times.

Hi, thanks for writing in. I would recommend checking the idle air control valve which is what regulates intake air as it is mixed with fuel at idle and upon slowing down to an idle speed. When this is not...

Q: Why does my Saturn ion keep cutting off on me while driving it's not my battery or my alternator

Hello. Thank you for writing in. The issue sounds like it is related to the transmission, and it may be electrical or mechanical. More specifically, it may be related to the torque converter. The torque converter has a solenoid in...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...