Maybe Consumer Reports was right after all


For the last three months my car (50K miles) has had difficulty starting after it has set for several hours. Will try to crank it and the car turns over but won’t fire up. Will take three or four tries before it finally catches and starts. Once it finallly starts it runs fine. If I cut it off and try to start it up shortly after it has started, it starts up fine every time.

For some reason this hard start problem only appears when the car has been sitting for several hours.

Took it to the dealership (twice) - nothing came up on the diagnostic, problem didn’t occur for them. They replaced my battery and battery cables. Then took it to a mechanic - no error codes appeared for him. He cleaned the injectors just in case. Problem still there.

On my own I: (a) cleaned the throttle plate; and (b) replaced the spark plugs. Worked fine for three days after spark plugs replaced then problem returned.

Not sure what to do at this point. Purchased car brand new w/ 3 miles back in 2004 specifically because I believed that Camrys were reliable.

At this point, I am thinking about replacing the ECT sensor.

Any insight would be GREATLY appreciated.



So tell, us what DID Consumers have to say about 2004 Camrys? That they were unreliable? Chronic starting problems? Did they urge you not to buy a Camry for some reason or another? We’d like to know.

Well, I don’t think you’re really here to gripe about Consumer Reports. Let’s keep them out of this. My guess is that you have a problem with the fuel system, probably a bad fuel pressure regulator. I don’t know how Camrys do it, whether this is a separate component or if they incorporate it into the fuel pump module itself. I urge you not to replace the ECT sensor until you check out fuel pressure after the car has been sitting for a while.


It sounds to me too like the fuel pressure is draining off. Try putting the key in the “on” position for a few seconds to pressurize the line before putting it in the “start” position. Post back if this works.

Camrys continue to be one of the most reliable cars on the market in every reference database existing. But no make or model is perfect. Stuff happens. But you still have a great car there.


Yes, could be a fuel pressure fault.

Worked good after you replaced the spark plugs then after a few days the problem returned.

This sounds more like an ignition fault (perhaps bad coil packs?).


My guess would be that you’re losing fuel pressure past the check ball in the fuel pump. This check valve is designed to maintain fuel pressure in the system while the car is at rest.

Worn ball or seat, weak spring, corrosion, sediment, etc. can prevent the ball from sealing the seat tightly.

The delay in starting is the air being purged out of the fuel lines.

Try cycling the key on and off half a dozen times and then attempt to start it. If it fires right up you know that’s the problem.

CR stinks and is not to be trusted anyway, but the Camry is still a good car. If the problem is corrosion from minute amounts of water in the gas or dirt, etc. then this is a fuel problem, not a car problem.