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

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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.

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