2005 Toyota Camry starting problem

My 2005 Toyota Camry has starting problem. Sometimes, it can’t be started and a very soft sound can be heard when that happens. It’s not the click sound like battery is not working. Jumping the car will usually start the car, however, without jumping the car, it will start after some time. I had the battery changed twice. The dealer checked the car briefly and didn’t find any problems and told us to wait until it’s getting worse. That is too inconvenient! What is wrong with the car and what shall I do?

Try to describe that soft sound a bit better. Where does it appear to be coming from? What kind of a sound is it? Click, hum, whir? Try and imagine something aruond the office or house that makes a similar sound so we can relate it to something.

Approximately How Many Miles On This 2005 Car ?

The trouble may be with neutral safety switch. Try placing the shifter in the neutral position the next time this happens.

Check the connections on the battery and also the ground connection from the negative on the battery. Make sure they are rust/corrosion free and tight.

The sound is more like bee buzz or hum. I tried to put shift in neutral switch. It worked once. But the second time, I still couldn’t start the car and have to jump the car again.
I took the car to the dealer. They said battery is fine. Also, all lights working fine when car can’t be started.

The car has about 67k miles.

Buzzing Says Poor Connection To Me.
I’d Carefully Check All The Connections. Battery Cables Have Two Ends. After Cleaning And Checking The Battery Ends, I’d Clean And Check The Connection At The Starter And Ground Cable Where It Attaches. Check And Clean Engine And Trsnsmission - To - Body Ground Straps/Cables.

Next time it won’t start, try attaching one end of a jumper cable (one cable) to the negative (-) battery terminal and the other end to a good clean place on the engine (you’ll temporily have two battery ground cables) and then try it.

Always wear eye protection when working near a battery.


Possible it’s the starter solenoid contacts (google ‘Toyota starter solenoid’ for more info), they wear out and do this, but it seems a bit early. Worth checking, though.

Both my husband and I are not handy. Where can we have starter solenoid checked? Last time, toyota dealer told us it would cost about $400 of labor to check that. Also, any recommedation of where I can get ALL the Connection checked and cleaned?
I am in Austin, Texas.

You don’t need to take the car to a dealer. What you want to find is a trustworthy, locally owned, independent auto shop. The kind of place where the head mechanic’s name is on the sign out front (or something like that).

Some people will suggest using the mechanix files on this website to find someone. Its here somewhere. I don’t trust it. Its very haphazard. I’ve been to the one for my local area and I don’t trust half the places up there despite the fact that you can find positive comments about them. Its worth a look as one PART of your search.

The best thing is just to start asking around among people that you know in your own area. Solicit as may opinions as you can to see what shakes out.

"try attaching one end of a jumper cable (one cable) to the negative (-) battery terminal and the other end to a good clean place on the engine (you’ll temporily have two battery ground cables)"
which means I use one cable to connect negative battery terminal and engine, I let both ends of the other cable loose?
Is it right?

Yes, that’s right, you’re checking to see if the normal ground connection isn’t good.

As for the starter, $400 should pay for replacement, parts and labor. You need to find a good independent mechanic, the starter is relatively easy to remove and check for them.

Be careful with the loose, floppy ends of the positive side of the cable. Maybe wrap something around the clamp of the loose ends just to make sure that while you do this the positive doesn’t come into contact with any part of the positive side of the battery or cable.

sent to the local mechanic. they came back saying that both starter and relay was shorten, and starter has been “sticked” – not disengaged after engine starts in the past, that has caused the “shorten”. and cost $530.00 to replace both starter and relay, they claim that they use Toyota OEM parts (~$300 for starter and ~$70 for relay).

(1) I didn’t get a good answer on if it is shorten, shouldn’t the starter dead still? how come it was able to start in most of days, and jump start always worked in the past? Did the answer they give sound reasonable?

(2) Is the amount charged reasonable? for the parts


If the starter and relay was “shorted”, it would cause the battery to die very quickly.
They must mean “open”, which would make me question their electrical prowess…

As far as price, a starter at the dealer will likely go for that much.
You can probably find a remanufactured one at any of the FLAPS (autozone, etc) for at least 1/2 that price. It will work just as good, imo.
It shouldn’t take long to change out so any more than one hour labor would be a ripoff.

I told them to move ahead with the fix/replacement, $530 :-(, it is new denso parts.

here is the update, technician said he was able to reproduce the problem after many tries, when problem happens, the starter has power, but rotor is stuck and not running at all (they said typically when electrical wire in motor shorted and not generating enough force to turn, or simply mechnical failure caused rotor to stuck??) they said apparently it only shorts/stucks at one special point, so it happens sometimes not all the time, another symptom is when this happens, the starter getting really hot with current flows without turning rotor. It’s starting to make sense, right?

he also mentioned that they have dealt three similiar issues in the last year with toyota. Shouldn’t toyota recall these defective parts running out at 67,000 miles? If anyone try to turn the key to start position for long time in this situation, wouldn’t it cause fire and becomes a safety issues? I thought there is suppose to be a fuse to starter?

thanks all for the help and happy holiday to all.

This is actually surprisingly more common on alternators/motors than you might think. One portion or the armature will wear more than others around it, and it won’t fire correctly. With alternators, you’ll almost never see it, since they’re forced to turn from the outside. With motors (like starters), it happens when that one spot is perfectly in line with a brush.

I dont think Denso is Toyota “OEM”, while the price might have been right for a Toyota part, i think its high for a Denso.

For whatever reason I know quite a few of that generation Camry’s that the started went out between 60-70K miles. Mine has 75K miles now and I am waiting, granted my miles have been mostly hwy, so only use the started twice a day. It is probably a design flaw, but it is not something they would do a recall on