Q: My car would shake violently when starting, and now it won't start at all.

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Last week I was taking deliveries for work. 3 times, it would shake quite violently upon startup. After that, it would let me drive. I arrived at a delivery, and when I went to leave, my car would not turn over. We had AAA tow it to a mehanic who said that he found nothing wrong, and that it could have been condensation in the gas tank. Today it ran fine to work and back, about 40 miles total, but when I went to leave again it would not turn over.

My car has 130000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. The technician you went to could be on to something there with the shaking and possibly having moisture in the fuel tank. However, it sounds like you could be having an intermittent electrical component fault which can be difficult to trace when everything is working properly.

If the vehicle does not turn over, then the starter is not engaging. Check for a loose battery terminal first and have a battery test performed with a digital tester to determine the cold cranking amps and state of health.

The starter could be faulty with worn contacts internally. Sometimes they complete the circuit, sometimes they don’t. Worn contacts can create intermittent problems and require replacement of the starter assembly to repair. There could also be a relay, ignition switch, or wire harness fault.

Inspecting these items requires the use of a digital volt/ohm meter and the electrical wiring diagram. I strongly suggest acquiring a qualified technician to perform an inspection and avoid replacing unnecessary parts. If you would like to have this scoped out by an expert, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the hard start and follow through with repairs.

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