Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Camry Starting Issue

My 1999 Camry has a starting issue. Sometimes, but not always, when I turn the key to start the car, nothing happens - no clicking, nothing. When I try again, immediately, the car starts up. This has been going on for about a week. Battery? Starter? Or?

Do the dash lights come on?


Could be the ignition switch. Next time, try wiggling the key, see if that helps.

A common problem with these is worn contacts in the starter solenoid. If you’ve eliminated a loose or dirty battery connection or a bad battery cable, this would be my next guess. How old is the starter?

Another thing might be the park/neutral interlock - try starting it in neutral, with the brake on. If it starts, it’s the interlock that requires you to be in park or neutral to start.

All of the above are good starts. If those don’t lead you to a cure, ask a mechanic to put a volt meter on the starter motor. If you’re getting at least 10.5 volts during attempted cranking (on both terminals, to starter motor case), and it doesn’t crank, replace the starter motor. If you’re getting less than 10.5 volts, work backwards and find out why.

Depending on how DIY you are, you could remove the starter and take it to an auto electric shop. They can test it. They will probably find the copper contacts in the solenoid are worn/pitted/oxidized. Easy to replace and, if the rest of the motor and its bearings are OK, you have your starter motor repaired locally, rather than one of unknown history and workmanship.

I’ve done it three ways - fixed contacts myself, had one repaired locally, and bought a rebuilt starter at a parts place - with good results each time. But if time and weather allow, I prefer to fix it myself.