1989 toyota camry 4 cyl won't start in cold weather

My 1989 Toyota camry is now hard to start in 40 degree and below weather and almost impossible to start below 20 degrees. I crank and crank sounds like no spark then I pump accelerator and after a while it hisses and backfire noise in engine and finally starts, but just barely. New battery, alternator tested fine, new spark plugs and wires, battery terminals clean. Help!!! Below 10 degrees it won’t start. Plenty of antifreeze. Anybody know what the problem is. Please let me know here in Springfield,Mo.

Try replacing the distributor cap and rotor

The next time you go to start the engine cold, turn the ignition switch to the run position so the dash lights come on for two seconds, and then turn the ignition switch off. Repeat this a half dozen times and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts right up there’s a problem with the fuel pump anti-drain back valve.


Tester’s thought that the gas in the line is finding its way back to the gas tank overnight I’d expect to be a problem in all temperatures. He may ne right, but I’m going to guess that it’s the temp sensor.

Wait! Hold the phone! My '89 Toyota pickup was carburated. Is this engine carburated? If so, that will change the whole nature of this thread.

no my 1989 toyota camry is not carburated. It is fuel injection. Hey, guys, thanks for the tips so far. It’s 9.7 degrees here in Springfield, Mo right now. I" have also been taking my battery inside my house each night.

It also seems that even in warm weather when I first got the car a year ago, I just turned the kay and it would crank right up. But as time has passed even in warm weather I have to press down the accelerator to get it started. Perhaps pressing the accelerator is putting air in there or something? I don’t know.

In addition to replacing cap, and rotor you could try cleaning the idle air control valve. If the IAC is bad it will set you back $200.00 for a aftermarket replacement one.

Why do you take the battery into the house? We’ll be down to -8? tonight. And tomorrow night it’ll be down to -21?. I don’t remove my batteries. The only time you remove a battery at these conditions is if it’s old, or if it has a lousy Cold Cranking Amp capacity.


You may want to pick a service manual on this car. I believe you can get diagnostics codes by jumping specific terminal on a plug socket, and watching dashboard lights blink. Maybe someone else can be more specific, and confirm this. This should be a OBD1 car I think obd1 started in 1988

Try this for short time fix.
A can of name brand starting fluid with straw. Follow black round tube from air cleaner to the motor and loosen at motor and spray, then try to start. If it starts trouble is fuel related.