Car starts and dies immediately and starts in second try

Hi, I have a 2010 Toyota Corolla with 115k miles. For the last 2 months my car starts and dies and starts in second try. This is not happening every time. Usually it starts in first try. I use my car everyday and this happens once a week maybe. My car also rattles at cold start and they say it is something to do with vvti cam gear. Anyways my question is: What is wrong with my car and does it damage my car? Thank you…

Try NOT starting the car… Turn the key to ON but don’t crank the engine, turn it OFF, turn is back ON and couple more times then start the car. If it keeps running, the check valve in the fuel pump that holds pressure is leaking OR an injector is leaking. The valve is annoying but won’t hurt anything but the fuel pump. A leaking injector car hydro-lock the engine and destroy it.

Rattles on cold start is never a good thing. Possibly the oil passages to the VVT are partially clogged with sludge or the VVT valve is failing. This will hurt performance. Some Seafoam or similar in the oil may help. Read the instructions and follow them!

And you never mentioned whether you see a check engine light or not.


I don’t have check engine light. I think rattling noise in Toyota Corolla is a common problem. I have seen bunch of people with this issue and they have been using their cars for years like that.

If you’ve seen a bunch run for years with the rattle, why’d you ask here?

Bro the problem is my car not starting sometimes at first try. Idc about rattling noise. I have this issue for a year. I asked if it is related with my issue or not and how can I fix that starting problem. Thanks though.

That sort of symptom is most likely caused by a spark or fuel system problem. Is the ignition system in good tune, spark plugs in good shape? If so, the next step is to ask your shop do a fuel-rail pressure hold test. When you turn the engine off the fuel is supposed to stay in the fuel rail and hold pressure. If the fuel-pump check valve mentioned above is faulty, the pressure will drop when the engine is off, and this will make the engine difficult to re-start, and difficult to keep it running after starting. Eventually after running a few minutes the fuel rail reaches full pressure, then it runs normally.

If your engine is configured with a fuel rail pressure regulator at the end of the fuel rail, if that part fails it can cause a similar symptom.

As far as the rattling, can you tell what part of the car the sound is coming from? Exhaust system components are common sources of rattles. I have a 92 Corolla and it has a distinct valve train noise. I wouldn’t call it a rattle though. Sort of sounds like a quiet version of somebody hand-mixing a batch of pancake batter in a bowl using a spoon.

Since your car uses the vvt function, suggest to error on the side of changing the engine oil & filter too often rather than not often enough. That function if particularly sensitive to the engine oil level & cleanliness.

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Then it was pointless to include this.

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First of all thank you for your time and reply. The rattle is coming from the engine not from the exhaust. It’s the vvti cam gear my mechanic says.

And actually my car starts in second try without a rattle and without a problem. It accelerates good, It runs good after it start and never dies again. And if the engine is still hot it will never fail to start and it won’t make rattling noise. I’m not good at cars but do you think this is something to do with bad fuel pump or oil pump?

The starting problem is likely due to a weak fuel pump, do you live at a high altitude?

The knock during start-up is caused by oil draining from the camshaft actuator (gear), your mechanic is correct.

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A problematic fuel pump seems a pretty likely explanation. A fuel rail pressure test would confirm/disprove. Or you could just replace the fuel pump on a flyer. A faulty oil pump seems unlikely unless engine was run with a very low oil level. Oil pumps are constantly bathed in engine oil and pretty robust, not common failure items by reports here.

When it doesn’t start, did the rattle seem worse??
My theory is, if the rattling is worse (louder/longer) than normal, that is when it dies, then the next time (right afterwards) you try to start the car the rattle is less and it starts right up, if that is the case, the louder/longer rattling is basically the cam timing is jumping around due to no oil in the cam actuator (NOT jumped timing) causing the no start, but with the engine rotating it is pumping oil at the same time and the next start up the cam actuator has more oil, is quieter/shorter rattle time and the timing is more normal so the car starts right up…

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