06 Corolla Won't Start

A few weeks ago I got a CEL tested and the reader said ECM. Then the CEL went out. So when I brought it to Midas to have it looked at for a second opinion I was told essentially to “go home, wait for the CEL to come on again.” Two days later my car wouldn’t start.

It’s an 06 CE. It has 130k miles on it, so reading online that an ECM could go out at 125k miles I thought the worst and having called multiple shops in town, I got the impression that the only people who could do an ECM that wasn’t plug/play was the dealer.

What I thought it was/wasn’t really isn’t important. The dealer refused to touch the car until they could run a $130 diagnostic. Begrudgingly I greenlit this and they found some problems like a leaky gasket, a serpentine belt about to pop and a bad starter. I opted to get the starter replaced (aftermarket) and drive the car home and let my buddy fix the rest of the stuff.

It drove off the dealer lot. Started this morning and then died at Starbucks 10 minutes later. Wouldn’t start until my buddy jumped it from his car (it started even easier than it usually does on a good day without a jump) at that! Went to leave work, it wouldn’t start. So it’s spending the night in the museum lot.

I went to an autoparts store after work and they said it likely couldn’t be the battery because all my lights come on and the radio comes on. What they don’t know is that I’ve been told a couple times that the battery charge was low (one guy in 2021 said it’d be a miracle if I made it thru the winter) and my beams are so dim that my girlfriend refuses to drive my car at night. So I kinda think it might be the battery–and if it is, why wouldn’t the dealer pick up on it?

Please help. I’m on fixed income and short of yelling at the dealer (which I already did) I don’t know where to go.

Does the Check Engine light turn on if you turn the ignition switch to on without starting the engine?

If it doesn’t, then there’s a problem with the ECM.

So, before you can figure anything else out with the car, you have to find a replacement ECM.

I suggest you call local auto recyclers (junkyards) to find out if any have a replacement ECM.


1 Like

Unfortunately I won’t be able to answer that till tomorrow when I get back to work and can test the car, I seem to remember the CEL is still on. It’s been on non-stop since just before the car failed. She told me on the phone explicitly they didn’t even pull the ECM to look at it, despite getting the same code reading that autozone did about the bank 1 being lean in the ECM.

You don’t look inside the computer for a fuel system lean fault or a no start. A fuel system lean fault possibly caused by an air leak or a dirty mass air flow sensor.

1 Like

Bank one being lean means the O2 sensor is telling the ECM too much air or not enough fuel is entering the cylinders.

It doesn’t mean the ECM is bad.


Check engine light comes on along with battery light when i turn my key to on.

Then there’s nothing wrong with the ECU.


Dealer called back (about a week before they’ll get to it if I do bring it back) and said something to the fact that they think it might be because I have an “aftermarket key…something something immobilizer…ecu.”

She couldn’t explain why it started right up when we jumped it from a buddy’s car. Nor why it started up slightly after that but then 6 hours later wouldn’t start. Is that not a dead battery?

What happens when you turn the key to try to start it?


Nothing. No clicking. Nothing.

Last week before they replaced the starter it would at least “click click click click” (and not start) now it’s nothing.

Have the battery tested.


1 Like

and take a peek at the battery connections while you’re getting the battery tested. If it jumped super quick, it’s a good possibility that the battery connections are just loose or dirty and you hooking up jumper cables wiggled it enough to make good contact.


Went ahead and dropped a new battery in it. Immediately started up. CEL went out too.

Buddy also noticed there were no obvious defects/cracks in the drive belt as the dealer claimed.

He went ahead and also changed out the manifold gasket. Probably ended up saving a thousand dollars in labor and i got my car back before next week.

Thanks all. Gave me confidence in the growing feeling of my friends that it was the battery.

Seething at the dealer now.

ECM faults are rare by reports here. The more usual problems affecting starting are sensors, actuators, starter motor, battery, and alternators. If this problem happens again

  • verify CEL turns on with key in “on” , engine not started
  • determine whether or not CEL then turns off after cranking & engine starts
  • If CEL remains on after engine starts, determine the corresponding diagnostic code(s), and post here
  • Ask shop do the basic battery/alternator quick-check: Before first start of day battery should measure about 12.6 volts; then immediately after starting engine, 13.5 to 15.5 volts. If different from that, post the number here.

Best of luck, hoping you have the problem solved now.

Huh, belt not cut? Let me take a look again. It’s cut now, fixed it for ya.

I was at the dealer for a recall maybe 50k miles ago. The kid warned me that I had bad oil leaks from both the front and rear seals. Thanked him, went to another shop and no leaks when the put it on the lift. It was a miracle. They wouldn’t charge me for the inspection so I scheduled plug changes with them. I guess I don’t blame the dealer since that was the kids job to find problems. Still I like to reward honest mechanics.