2008 Toyota Corolla - Won't start in mornings below freezing

I have a 2008 Corolla (5 speed manual) that has an issue on mornings below freezing. It is parked outside. When I try to start the car, it won’t start. It turns over and everything comes up (radio, dashboard ,lights, etc), but it just won’t start. The battery measures fine. Jumping it won’t make it start. Once the weather warms up above freezing, the car will start.

I thought the fuel line might be freezing, but I have tried Heet and other items, but with no luck. This started in 2011. It only did this once in 2012, but I ended up pushing the clutch in harder (out of frustration mainly) and it started up, and I had no problems for the remainder of the winter. However, it has started to do the same thing this year and I can’t remedy the issue.

I took the car to the dealership a few times in 2011, and they couldn’t find the issue. On the mornings it did not start, I had a tow truck come out and take it to the dealership, The problem is that by the time the car gets to the dealership (I live 30 miles away) via tow truck, the temperature has increased and the car starts right up in the dealership.

I do have a one car garage, but we have two toddlers(1,2), but I park the family vehicle in there so that the kids can be loaded up without taking them outside in the cold.

I have become accustomed to having cars that, you know, start in the mornings, so if anyone has any thoughts/advice/help, etc, I would certainly appreciate. Thanks much!

I would leave the vehicle overnight with a good independent mechanic when the weather will be below freezing. They can try to start the Corolla first thing in the morning and go from there. It should be very easy to spot the problem. I have lived in Alaska at -40 and in Northern Maine at -50 and all my vehicles started just fine. I always made sure the right oil was in the crankcase and the battery and charging systems were in top condition. Stay away from dealerships.

Thanks! I think that may be the best bet. I will ask around for a good local person to check it. It should get plenty cold here tonight

My WAG, fuel shutoff switch, or bad fuel pump. Just out of curiosity if you do not have the clutch depressed will the engine crank and not start? I would not think so but if so then look at the clutch sensor switch. The pushing the clutch harder may be coincidence, maybe not.

I will try the clutch when I get out to the car later today. Probably is just coincidence on the clutch, but I need to look at all avenues of possibility. Thanks! :slight_smile:

to follow up, if I am in neutral, and do not have the clutch depressed, the battery turns, but the car does not crank or start.

Cranking and turning over mean the same thing, the starter and engine both turn and you get the
rrrr, rrrr noise. Firing up mean the engine starts. If the engine doesn’t crank you get either silence or a clicking noise, or if your engine is seized you may get a thud from the starter.
You are getting cranking but no firing, but it works when it warms up. So when it is cold you get no fuel or no spark. If you spray starting fluid in the air intake of the engine and it fires right up but quickly stall, you have a fuel problem. If not, you have an ignition problem that can be confirmed with a cheap spark checker from Harbor Freight.

Sounds like temperature/time switch, tells computer to enrich and energize cold start injector

Thanks oldtimer11 on the clarification and Marktx53 on the computer! I will also try the starter fluid and do the spark checker. Thankfully we have had a warm trend in the KC area, and it has been starting regularly. Thanks again!


Your 2008 Corolla doesn’t have a cold start injector. Those haven’t been used in a few years

I recall a couple of Corollas of that vintage with cold start issues that I was unable to diagnose and both were taken to the local dealer who replaced the computer resulting in a vastly improved situation as best I could tell. One of the cars began to occasionally throw a CEL indicating a lean exhaust when the temperature was below freezing but I never found any problems and neither could the dealer.

Did you found out what’s wrong with the car? I’m having the same issue with a Toyota Matrix 09.

Apparently not, because they haven’t posted back since November