Need Help Figuring Out Likely Culprit Of 2008 Camry Breakdown

I was driving my 2008 Toyota Camry when all of a sudden the accelerator stopped working
It was acting like the car was in neutral. When I would push on the accelerator, the engine would rev, but it wouldn’t actually speed up

A moment later, I noticed the power steering stopped working, and the various hazard lights went on the dashboard. i don’t recall which, but likely oil, battery, check-engine, etc.
I coasted to a safe shoulder, stopped, turned the car off

When I tried to turn it on again, it won’t turn over. It does the usual starting noise, but it won’t catch.

There’s plenty of battery life left; the lights are all on, the electric systems seem like they are working fine

What is the likely culprit of something like this? Alternator? Carburetor? Engine? Battery? Spark plug?

I’ve had similar happen before when the timing belt snapped, but the timing belt seems intact…

How can you tell that the timing belt “seems intact”?

No matter whether your 2008 Camry has the 4 cylinder engine or the V-6, it has a timing chain which should last for the life of the vehicle–if the engine has been properly maintained. And, the engine is fuel-injected, which means that there is no carburetor.

You need a competent mechanic (not a chain-run joint like Midas, Meineke, Monro, Pep Boys, or–God forbid–AAMCO) to examine the car in person, but at least I eliminated two possibilities for you.


Are there any error codes stored?

Likely not going to have an engine analyzer to get trouble codes. The symptoms don’t add up though. The lights coming on and power steering failing suggest the engine stopped running. The fact that it won’t start again is consistent with an engine (electrical, fuel, sensor) problem. Stepping on the gas though before that but hearing the engine rev, but the car not responding, is something else again. Two incompatible symptoms. So a shop is going to have to sort it out.


I suspect that you felt the engine misfiring, not revving up, before it died. And I suspect that the problem is something simple, like a fuel pump or crankshaft position sensor.

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The loss of steering and dash warning lights on is entirely normal for a non-running engine.
Since it cranks but won’t start I would suggest checking all of the underhood fuses first.

The plenty of battery life left, lights on, and electric systems seem fine are subjective opinions and may not mean much.

That sounds like the transmission is slipping. Suggest to have your shop check for diagnostic codes and if you like you can post what they tell you here for more ideas. You may need a routine transmission service. It’s often possible to verify the timing belt is ok by peeking (eye protection of course) into the hole where you pour the engine oil. There should be movement visible in that area whenever the engine is turning. Doesn’t seem consistent w/timing belt problem.