'93 Camry four cylinder not cranking

When my mom turns the key to the on position in her car, all the dash lights turn on. INTERMITTENTLY, when she turns the key to start the car, I can hear a relay throw, and the dash lights that are supposed to turn off during cranking, turn off, but no cranking occurs. No starter solenoid clicking… nothing… as if I had turned the key to the off position instead of start.

Turn the key off, then turn it back on (sometimes we have to do this LOTS of times) and the car starts like there’s nothing wrong with it.

My first thought was ignition switch, but wouldn’t the dash lights stay on if the switch was faulty?

New starter?

New ignition switch?

Something else?

High mileage Toyotas have a problem with the high current contracts in the solenoid. Over time the disk and contacts get worn away. Intermittantly, the disk will not make a solid connection to the contacts. The problem usually starts as a missed crank in ten start cycles; progresses to multiple key turns to get a start; and finally no amount of key turns will make a connection.

The solution is to replace the starter. Also you can have rebuilt by an auto electrical shop. Alternately, the starter can be removed and the contacts replaced that will keep you going until the problem surfaces again or the entire starter is worn out.

First try cleaning the battery posts.