Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2007 Camry - Plz help diagnose!

Please help me diagnose this situation:

2007 Toyota Camry, 4 cyl, automatic transmission, 147k miles. Was driving ab 60mph and slowing down as I approached a red light. Light turned green but car suddenly would not accelerate above about 20mph or 2000 rpm - ran fine as long as I stayed under 20, but when I tried to accelerate beyond that it started lurching like crazy and wouldn’t accelerate. Pulled into a gas station and let it idle for a few mins while I checked the transmission fluid (has had a slow leak but I have been staying pretty on top of the fluid levels). Color and smell of the fluid was fine, but level was just a little low so I added some more fluid and let it cycle thru for a few minutes. Managed to get it home by staying under 20mph. Turned it off and basically ignored it for about 10 days due to being swamped at work. Went to start it up last night and the engine cranks but won’t turn over and start. Lights, etc. all work. What gives? Praying this is not a transmission issue.

Your vehicle has a drive-by-wire throttle system.

Instead of a throttle cable linking the throttle pedal to the throttle body, the throttle pedal has a position sensor that informs the computer the position of the pedal, and from that information the computer operates the electronic throttle body.

The most common failure in these drive-by-wire throttle systems is the throttle pedal position sensor.



Perhaps your fuel pump died.


Did your check engine light come on while it was running in the limp home condition?

I am assuming that it was in limp home because if it was running 2000 rpm and only doing 20 mph, the transmission was not shifting up. This does not mean that it is a transmission problem. Anytime it goes into the limp home mode, the transmission is blocked from upshifting by the computer. There should be DTC codes stored in the computer.

The check engine light did come on. I know next to nothing about cars - what’s a DTC code and what needs to be done to fix this if it is indeed the problem?

It sounds to me like the car went into Limp Home mode, which can happen if the OBD system detects a major fault.
The OP didn’t mention anything about the Check Engine light being lit-up, but I would find it very surprising if it wasn’t lit up, or–perhaps–even flashing.

Unless the OP is a very good diagnostician, I don’t think that there is any alternative at this point to having the car towed to a competent mechanic so that the problem can be diagnosed and fixed.
Since the engine is cranking (which is the same thing as “turning over”), but will not start, the one thing that you can rule-out is something related to the transmission.
What can the OP tell us about the Check Engine light?

Hi VDCdriver - yes, the check engine light came on, but was not flashing.

Okay, since the light came on, but didn’t flash, that is a good thing.

DTC=Diagnostic Trouble Code
These codes are stored by the car’s OBD system, and they give a mechanic a good starting point when trying to diagnose a problem.
Without knowing the codes, I would hesitate to attempt a diagnosis.

DTC stands for diagnostic test code. The PCM (powertrain control module) constantly monitors the performance of many of the components related to the emission systems in the vehicle per federal requirements. It also monitors anything else the manufacturer wants it to monitor.

When the computer detects a non-compliance, it stores a DTC and turns on the MIL (malfunction indicator lamp aka check engine light). Many autoparts stores will read this code for free, but you have to be able to get the vehicle to them.

If you ask around, you may find a friend or coworker that owns a code reader. They can be obtained for as little as $35, but a good one will cost a couple hundred bucks. They maybe able to come out to your house and retrieve the code that you could post here.

Just reading the code does not mean that the troubleshooting is over, it just gives a place to start. Some codes will pinpoint the defective part, but more often, they just give the starting point. A full diagnostics still needs to be done by a professional mechanic and that usually runs around $90-100.

BTW, from your description, I’d bet Tester is right, but it is possible that it could be something else.