Not really sure what’s going on with my car, but it’s a long and pathetic story.
About a year and a half year ago, my car started having problems starting. No sounds, just put in key, nothing happens when I turn kind of thing. I thought it was a battery problem, so I had the battery replaced. It worked till around January of this year, and the problem came back with a vengeance.
So far, I’ve replaced 3 batteries; thank goodness for warranties and a completely drained battery each time. None of that “I’ll charge this for you while you wait 4 hours.” I’ve taken it to three mechanics in my area, but either due to incompetence or dishonesty, none of them were able to figure it out. I started by thinking it was an alternator problem; I was reassured that it wasn’t by 2 mechanics. Apparently the voltage was correct when they measured it. I thought it was a starter problem, but it’s never made any starter problem symptoms such as the sounds of grinding or whatever. Tapping on it while someone turned the key did nothing. It would randomly not start, and then two hours later, start again. I’ve carried a Black/Decker portable jumper, but it has never worked even when fully charged.
The lights turn on on my dash, and nothing dims when I turn the key other than my clock and one of the warning lights. That seemed to be a consistent question that I’ve been asked. At one point two weeks ago, the car just completely stopped turning on. I had apparently drained a battery by cranking the key too much, so I had it walked to the nearest shop to get my replacement. Once replaced, the car still wouldn’t start. I had it towed to another mechanic, and they were able to start it somehow by “disconnecting the alarm” by touching something near the starter. Not sure what they did, and they were unwilling to tell me. After about an hour, I was charged 100$, and had a working car that they said had a disabled alarm system. Yet, the alarm still worked, so I’m not exactly sure how they disconnected the alarm.
Then this week, while driving, my headlights went out. I’ve had this issue before a year ago, and it fixed itself if I pulled over and turned the car on/off. Not sure what was going on then. But this time, pulling over and turning the car off… resulted in the car not turning on. The headlights were off, the dashlights, radio and AC were all still working. Had to get it towed again.
When I got to the third mechanic, the car started working again. But on the way back home, headlights went out again, and I knew I had a problem. Drove it back to the mechanic… and the car wouldn’t start after I turned it off. Left it overnight.
Next morning, was called by the mechanic, who told me he couldn’t replicate the issue. Took public transportation and took it back, and now I’m scared of driving it and either having the lights go out in inopportune times, or have it not start when I need it to.
All the mechanics told me that without the problem in front of them, they can’t test what the issue is. I’m lost, and feel like it might be a better idea to just sell the piece of junk. 2000 Camry, 4 cylinder. Any advice as to what’s going on would be greatly appreciated.