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07 Corolla didn’t start, starts next day

Hi, I’ve been having issues with my car. The latest issue is I went to drive it on Sunday and it wouldn’t start. The dashboard lights came on and everything but no noise, no turn over, nothing. I tried three times and gave up. My husband went out to jump the battery the next day and it started right up for him. Why would it do this? A few weeks ago it wouldn’t start and made a crunching noise when I turned the key. The battery was drained and the rpm was low and making the car shut off. When trying to jump it the battery wouldn’t stay charged enough to keep the car running that when it would idle it would turn off. After looking at some wires for the starter and some other things We got it working again (no clue how). At first the rpm jumped up to 1400-1500 rpm and then after some time it normalized.
The battery was replaced a year ago. Now this happened with the car not starting and then starting the next day. Any idea what’s going on? I think my husband thinks I’m crazy and just wants a new car.

If you don’t drive this very much and this is the problem you are having, there are a few possibilities.

  1. You aren’t driving the car enough to completely recharge the battery between uses.
  2. Your battery has gone bad… yeah it happens, likely still under warranty or
  3. You have something called a parasitic drain drawing too much out of the battery when the car is off… Yes, stuff draws from the battery even when the car is shut off.

All 3 are very easy to check by your local independent mechanic.

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This sounds like a pretty straightforward battery maintenance issue. Even after jump-starting the car, it could die if you disconnect the jumper cables too soon. and if the battery has been run down several times, this will only keep happening.

Test the battery to make sure it’s still good - if not, get another replacement, along with a battery tender/trickle charger to keep it juiced up.

I would like to add a fourth (but less likely) possibility, of a alternator that is “bad,” or has become “insufficient.” MustangMan hit all the likely suspects. If you drive frequently (more than 3-4 times per week) and you drive more than 15 minutes on those occasions, #1 probably isn’t your issue. Realize #3 (edit:parasitic drain) and my stated #4 (alternator), will cause #2 (dead/bad battery). A mechanic really needs to do an evaluation to make your vehicle reliable, because if you just throw a new battery in and call it a day, you may be back in the same boat in a short period of time.

Here’s my guess for a 10+ year old Toyota - I had this exact problem caused by worn solenoid contacts in the starter. A jump sometimes helped, because the added voltage must have given it an added push. If the battery tests good, and the battery connections are clean and tight, that would be my guess. It’s a common problem with Toyota starters once they get to about 100,000 miles.

How many miles?

I have roughly 140,000 miles. I haven’t been driving it much lately due to Covid. For the solenoid problem, was it an easy fix?
We’ve been thinking it’s the battery since that seems like the easy thing to do, but the battery has checked out. My father in law is a mechanic. He looked at it and can’t explain what’s going on. He thinks I should take it to Toyota if it happens again. My car isn’t under warranty any more since it’s going on 14 years old.

With or without jump starting?

You have to take out the starter, it’s not a difficult job if you’re able to work on cars. Once out, I’d either have it rebuilt at a local ‘auto electric’ shop, or replace it with a rebuilt starter. I didn’t find starter contact for your car on rockauto, so that may not be an option.