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Car cranks but wont start unless press gas pedal

I have a 2002 avalon XLS. In the morning the car cranks but wont start unless I press the gas pedal. After that everything was fine. But recently the problem is getting worse. The car became harder to start although it will start eventually. I have changed the Mass air flow sensor, but did not solve the problem. Any suggestion?

The throttle positioner isn’t working. There may be other problems too. The mass airflow sensor shouldn’t keep it from starting. Bring er in and we’ll check it out.

It is also possible that the problem is the result of a bad fuel pressure regulator.
Is the Check Engine Light illuminated?

no checking engine light at all. thanks

You could also have a vacume leak…especially in the flexible rubber hose that goes from the airbox/MAF sensor to the throttle body on the engine. Look at that rubber hose and look for cracks. Also look for other possible causes for a vacume leak around the engine bay.

The problem might be with a defective Idle Air Control valve. This valve allows the engine to idle under all conditions. If this valve fails to allow air into the engine the engine won’t idle. When you step on the accelerator while starting the engine, this opens the throttle plate which allows air into the engine. This then allows the engine to start.


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If you leave the key in the on position for 20 seconds before you try and start the car and it starts right away let us know.

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Yesterday I changed my spark plug and in-line fuel filter. It looks fine now (but only one day so far). It might be a clogged fuel filter.

Hi All,

I have Mitsubishi lancer 2002, 1.8l, auto, and having same problems since a year.
My car won’t start in the morning, just gives cranks but if I press gas pedal it starts and have to keep it until engine gets hot enough. then it works for almost all day. and repeat the problem in the morning when I have to go to work.
As usual when the engine is cold or cool, it won’t start. Visited 2 different mechanic shops and the problem still exist, I don’t know how and what they did it, it only worked for couple of months and the engine noise was bit high, I believe he just increased the idle,

Apart from that everything is fine, new air filter, changed fuel filter, changed spark plugs, regular service.

It sounds like I need to change the Idle air control valve.

any suggestions guys !

Often a thorough cleaning of the throttle body, including the idle air control valve passages will correct that problem. Such cleaning should be part of routine maintenance.

Hard to start when cold can be the mixture is too lean. Could be lean when hot too, but the engine is more forgiving of a lean mixture when hot. If your shop has the capability to measure real time fuel trim, that’s probably what I’d do if I had that problem. Replacing parts – and this could indeed be an IAC fault – can work for a problem like this, but you can also easily run out of money before running out of guesses should it not be the IAC. Suggest you visit a shop with the Mitsu-specific scan tool and have them set the idle speed correctly, then do a fuel trim measurement.

Very, in fact extremely curious why you asked about if there was any difference when the key is paused in the on position for 20 seconds before attempting to start the vehicle??? Because, YES, there was a vast difference!!! Vehicle started right away without having to put the gas pedal to the floor and crank it and crank it till it catches.

A less common cause is a worn starter that draws so many amps while cranking the engine that there’s not enough juice left to adequately power the ignition system and fuel injectors. … If there’s a spark when the engine is cranked, it has ignition. The problem is either fuel or compression.

This gives time for the fuel pump to pump fuel from the tank in the back to the engine in the front. Especially if the car is facing uphill.

Did this fix your car?