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?
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: Why does my Toyota Camry have traction light tire pressure light and vsc light on? Could it be the battery?

Hi there. If there are traction control lights on, it's possible that the traction control has been disabled. There is a button on your dash that allows you to turn it on and off. VSC stands for vehicle stability control...

Q: My car cranks but doesn't turn over

Hi there. First, we need to determine what is going on. Does it crank and not start? or does the engine not crank/turn over? Cranking and turning over mean the same to technicians. You described it as cranking and not...

Q: Where is the power steering pressure switch located on a 2003 Nissan sentra 1.8l?

The power steering pump pressure switch is located on the pressure hose just before the connections to the rack and pinion steering system. If you need further assistance with your power steering system, then seek out a professional, such as...

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...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.