1999 Camary + low idle + stalling

We’ve brought our 1999 Camry to our mechanic twice for a starting problem to no avail because it never happens while it’s there. So cliche right?

About half the time it has trouble starting and the rest of the time it starts and operates fine.

These troublesome starts:

  • typically idle very low then stall completely if you try to put it in gear
  • sometimes, but very rarely, stall immediately
  • sometimes giving it a tiny bit of gas seems to prevent stalling
  • eventually, after 1-2 minutes, the engine begins running normally (usually i just sit there and wait and can feel the obvious/sudden change from idling low to a normal idle

It just passed the CA smog test and the mechanic couldn’t find any problem.

What should I do?

Thanks so much in advance!

Peace + love,

Get a new mechanic.
This sounds like a classic malfunctioning IAC.
It’s also possible that the fuel line is losing pressure when the engine is off and taking a minute to pressurize again. Try putting the key in ON for 4 or 5 seconds before starting it. If that works, depressurization is the problem. That points straight to the check valve in the fuel system.

What he said. ^

(IAC = idle air control valve)

Cool, that mechanic is toast from here on out. Will hit up my connections for a competent replacement and hopefully get this IAC thang patched up. Thanks! -Mike

Have the throttle body cleaned and retest before replacing any parts.