Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Hi Tech Solution for Stubborn Tacoma Starters?

Could not believe it when my dealer’s electrical tech told me to use a stick or small hammer to discipline my starter. Is this a common problem for 05 Tacomas?

'05 is pretty new, but Toyota starters are known for wearing out the contacts in the starter solenoid. How many miles?

It’s not hard to replace the contacts, google ‘toyota starter solenoid’, but don’t just replace the side contacts, replace the round center contact with the rod attached, too.

Sounds like a worn out starter to me and the hammer trick, which has been around forever, can only work up to a certain point.

Catch up on routine, easy stuff first. Firewall. Toyota used to put the paint on really thick there and it prevented good contact for the ground wire. Find the engine to firewall ground wire. Disconnect and wire brush the end of it that is on the firewall and be sure there is no paint between it and bare metal, scrape paint if necessary.

This has worked to fix a reluctant starter in the past and would be great if it fixed yours before going round and round. We had three old Toyotas and every one had the same problem and it was solved the same way. Forever. One of them did need a starter too at 130,000 miles.

I can’t believe the technician’s answer but it definitely keeps him from getting the money and showing his worth to the owner of the “car sales only place”.

Thanks, he says he checked all the connections, but not sure he looked at ground to firewall. yes, I was surprised, given they usually like to “find something”.

Checking the starter current draw is usually the first step. An abnormally high draw means the starter is worn. This can also lead to badly burned solenoid contacts.

Off the top of my head I don’t know what the normal draw on this Tacoma is but a general rule of thumb is about 125ish amps when cranking on a warm engine. When the starter motor is first engaged the current draw may shoot up to 300 or so amps during the intital surge.

If you have a starter motor drawing 175 amps or whatever during constant cranking on a warm engine then the starter has some wear in it; usually bushings which may be causing the armature to drag.

Thanks, know more now than I did before!