97 Avalon cranks but won't start intermittently

For the last two years we have been having this problem off and on. The car typically will not start in the morning but 8 hours later it will start right up with no hesitation. The engine always cranks but it will not start. Every time we have the vehicle towed to a mechanic’s shop either the car starts as soon as the towing company drops off the car or first thing in the morning when they go to start looking at it. When the vehicle does start there is absolutely no hesitation and no decrease in the performance. The vehicle has never stalled on me, and I have tried pumping the gas and putting the vehicle in neutral but have been unsuccessful in figuring out this problem. The check engine light does not come on and there aren’t any codes saved in the memory.

Does this car use a “chip” key? If yes, when it fails to start try a different key. If you have several cars separate the keys onto different key rings. Sometimes the reader in the car will detect the wrong key disabling the car, it cranks but won’t start in such cases. Since this is the exact issue you have, I suspect an issue with the key(s) if the car has a “chip” key.

Thanks for the reply. The keys don’t contain chips. Any other ideas?

Some fuel pumps fail “intermittently”. Next time it won’t start, whack the fuel tank with a rubber mallet a couple of times. If the car starts and runs, then the fuel pump needs to be replaced.