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2000 Camry 4 CYL

Very sporatically, the car won’t start. The battery was replaced a year ago, so that’s not the problem. The lights on the dashboard turn on, but there is no sound and the car won’t turn on. After turning the key 10-12 times, the car finally starts. It happens in rain, no rain, mild or hot weather. There just does not seem to be a reason. We had the mechanic change the spark plugs, but that didn’t help. He doesn’t want to start replacing things willy-nilly until he can duplicate the problem in his shop. We just don’t want our daughter out late at night, and have THAT be the one time the car refuses to start. HELP.

I tried attaching video/Quick Time Player file that my daughter took with her iPhone but the format is unacceptable. Oh well… HELP!

When you say it doesn’t ‘turn on’, you mean the starter doesn’t make any noise, not even a click?
If no click, look to see if the car likes to start in neutral. It could be that ignition switch or one of the inhibitors that doesn’t let it start in gear. It may think it isn’t in park or neutral.
If there is a click under the hood, your starter is likely on its way out. You can often get it started by whacking it. Put a piece of 2x4 on the starter and whack the other side with a hammer. Note to not bang on the starter directly with said hammer as there are high currents involved. If you short that hammer across the starter contact, you’ll do some inadvertent welding and will do damage.

I’d replace the starter solenoid contacts, it’s a common problem with Toyotas. The contacts themselves are cheap ($20 or so from the dealer’s parts department), and a cooperative mechanic should be able to remove the starter and replace the contacts in an hour or so.

there is also a relay that might go bad but i think texases is on to something

Here’s the video of this problem. Thanks for all the suggestions.

That sounds like a battery or battery contact problem.
The starter draws a fair bit of current so, with a bad battery or contact to the battery, the starter draws as much as can be delivered. That’s why all the lights die.
It could be the starter in that it is somehow shorted but that’s less likely.
Check the battery contacts first. Also check the ground connections from the battery to the engine.

A good way to check the latter is to get a booster cable, one of those cables you might use to get an emergency battery boost.
Note to use the negative lead ONLY - leave the positive lead alone. Do NOT use the positive lead at all.
Hook the negative lead of the booster cable on to the negative post of the battery. Make sure you don’t hook that booster cable to the positive battery post - that would be dangerous.
Hook the other side of the negative lead of the booster cable onto a large bare metal convenient piece of the engine, preferably near the starter.
You’re basically enforcing a connection that should be present so it is perfectly safe.
Try to start it.
If it now starts, you have a bad ground connection somewhere.

Absolutely make sure the battery connections are clean and tight. But if they are, and the problem continues, I bet it’s the solenoid contacts. Replace all three, the two side ones and the round center disk (that may be harder to find at the dealer). I did just the two, and the problem returned in about 40k.

The car is clearly drawing current, enough for the dashboard to die. Either the starter is shorted somehow or the connections to/from the battery or engine are bad.
I don’t think bad relay contacts would cause this because they don’t fail shorted. With bad contacts, if would just look like your starter isn’t in the circuit. There would be very little current being drawn.