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2000 Camry won't start went warm

My Daughter owns a 2000 Camry. It has a very annoying habit of not starting when it is warm (think driving to the gas station, turning the car off to fill it and then it doesn’t start again). We have tried new solenoids, a new starter and several other tweaks but nothing seems to fix the problem. Recently she discovered if she jiggles the gear shift lever (it’s an automatic) it will start. So, obviously she gear shift lever is not finding Park or Neutral so that it can be in position to start. She has experimented with this concept and it appears to be the only hting that consistently solves the starting issue. What would we have to fix in the gear shift lever, or elsewhere, to fix this problem?


The reason is because the transmission has a Neutral/Park sensor…and it will only allow the starter to work when it knows that it is in either Neutral or Park…

Next time try to do this… Upon no start… Put the parking brake on and turn the key all the way on…and place the shifter in NEUTRAL… then turn the key to engage the starter… If she starts like this…then it is definitely the issue I am outlining.

What is happening is that when you place the shifter in PARK…it is not tripping the Park sensor…this sensor is located on top of the transmission usually and is part of the lever that changes the gears on the auto trans…sometimes this sensor is internal to the tranny…but either way…when you are in park…the trans thinks you are still in reverse…AS reverse is the first gear you hit beyond park… it thinks it is still in reverse because the sensor is not being tripped when you are in park… THIS IS MOST LIKELY DUE to shift cable adjustment…you may be able to adjust the shift cable so that it pushes into park a little harder

If the vehicle was in front of me I could rapidly prove out my theory in a few easy steps…one of them would be to disconnect the shift cable and actuate the shift lever by hand…if it starts then…then I would know that the cable is not adjusted properly…and not allowing the shift lever to fully engage PARK.

Let us know what you find out…you can try my tests above and let us KNOW


The previous comment is certainly valid, but I found with a similar problem on an earlier model Camry, that I eventually wound up having to stay overnight somewhere because the car would not start at all, even after cooling off. A moderately expensive repair job replaced the neutral/park switch, which in that earlier model was a complete mechanical/electrical unit that simply had to be replaced. It is a fairly large switch unit with a long pigtail in a place that’s a nuisance to get at. Unless you cannot afford a reasonably expensive repair bill, I would recommend simply having it done by the dealer or a reputable repair shop.

I would add to my previous comment that if you have a manual for your car, and are a competent Shadetree mechanic, you could do that yourself, but the largest cost will be the replacement switch, which cannot be repaired. So if you have a favorite local mechanic you could take the job to him, and even possibly find the part online cheaper than the dealer.

I have a 92 Camry that was doing the same thing. went through an igniter, CPU, & it ended up being the coil and required the distributor to be replaced. I would definitely try the safety neutral switch first as outlined above, and another option (Chrysler mini van) was the pressure relief valve on the fuel injector system. both of mine were heat related and failed when the engine was hot.

From what you say, the trouble you are having is definitely due to a problem with the safety switch. My info shows a couple of types are used for your model. One is a normal switch but the other for your year shows the circuit passes though the ECM. Since you appear to be able to correct the trouble by moving the shift lever it seems to indicate you just have some dirty contacts in a switch causing the trouble. Usually the safety switch is located near the shift lever or on the transmission.