Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: When I turn the key, the engine jumps and shakes the whole car but it won't start.

asked by on

I just had my valve cover and starter replaced because my car only clicked when i turned the key and there was oil on my spark plugs. I finally got it to start and it started just fine repeatly at the mechanic. It has always had trouble starting and I have replaced the alternator as well. It only ever clicked or didn't start when it was cold. The day after the starter and valve cover was replaced when I started the car there was white smoke coming from the exhaust. It quickly faded. The car drove fine and it only did it a couple times. Then tonight I turned the car off and then decided to leave so I cranked the car, or attempted to. The engine jumps really bad but the car won't start. What could cause the engine to shake the car?

My car has 220000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello there. You have several different issues going on with your 2003 Nissan Sentra. If the white smoke was seen immediately after the valve cover replacement, it is likely the oil burning off of the plugs. If the car is not starting, the most common cause is the battery. A load test of the battery should be done to see its current condition.

If the battery tests okay, other common faults are the fuel pump, battery cables, fuel filter, ignition switch, or a wiring harness fault. A qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, will be able to perform an inspection to determine why the car is not starting and make any repairs required to resolve the issue.

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
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. When I turn the key, the engine jumps and shakes the whole car but it won't start.

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: 2016 Nissan Rogue non Bose stereo wiring colors

Hi there. Your best bet is to purchase a service diagram from your 2016 Nissan Rogue; which should list the wiring schematic for accessories including the stereo system.

Q: It won't start and the ECU is not found by scanner.

Hi there. First check the battery and make sure that there is 12.6 volts. If the battery is low, then the battery will need charged before testing again. Check the wiring from the battery to the fuse box and make...

Q: The car idle but stalls as soon as I brake at intersections .

Hi there - first thing to check is for problem codes, even if you Check Engine Light is not illuminated. Your pre-OBD II engine still has diagnostic capabilities. A good candidate for this behavior is a dirty or stuck idle...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...