CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

'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?

When my '96 ES300 did that, it turned out to be the contacts in the starter solenoid. If you’re handy, and know how, remove the starter, disassemble the solenoid, and replace both contacts and the contact disk. Should cost $30-40 for the parts from the dealer.

Try jumping it and if it starts that will tell you its not the switch.Make sure you check clampes coming off the battery even under the coating.