Power Dies when I turn the ignition switch


97 Toyota Camry 2.2l motor.

Sometimes, when I turn the ignition on I don’t hear a sound and all the power dies in the car (the radio ejects the CD and all the presets are erased when I turn it out of start). This can happen once or twice in a row then generally the car starts up normally.

The battery is brand new (1 month) and is fully charged. My hope is that it’s the starter drawing too much power when it tries to start? It’s entirely possible it has the factory starter still on the car.


Sounds like a bad connection. I’d check each connection between the battery and starter.

First thing to check: Take the battery terminals off the battery posts (negative first for safety) and clean them and the posts with a wire brush, then reattach and tighten down. (negative last) You can also buy felt washers that are treated with an anti-corrosion compound. These go under the terminals. Or put some Vaseline on the exposed parts of the terminals, which will also help.

I’d be willing to bet this fixes your problem. I’ve had this occur on numerous cars over the years.

I know there’s some buildup on the connectors, I knocked as much of it off as I could when I changed the battery (in an auto part store parking lot 150 miles from home) last month. Then proceeded to forget about it until the issue started up again now that I’m getting ready to head out of town again. To make matters worse I do a lot of stop and go

I’m going to clean it off today and play around with it, if worse comes to worse I can buy a starter from the local salvage yard for $30 and throw it in the trunk with me as insurance, I’d buy a new one but wow they’re not cheap.

Could be a bad ignition switch. It’s old enough to fail.

The trouble most likely isn’t with the starter. The problem is more than likely due to a bad connection of the wire that ties the battery to the power panel under the hood or the battery cable connections. This provides power to all the accessories of the car. Clean the inside of surface of the cable connectors using a battery post cleaning brush and also clean the smaller wire connection to the power distribution panel under the hood. It may also be a good idea to clean the battery to chassis ground connection.

I just got back inside from checking out the connectors.

It took three different applications of baking soda and water to remove the whiteish buildup on the positive terminal.

The motor was pulled about 5-6 months ago and rebuilt, and all the wiring was intact at that point so I’m willing to put my money on the connection being bad.

Baking Soda and water does not always restore the connection. It makes it look good though. Personally I like to take a pen knife and scrape the surface of the posts and the inside of the terminals. Scrape to bright metal, that will insure a good connection.

I like the anti corrosion discs sold to go at the base of the post, but I do not like vaseline on top of the post. It traps moisture under there and seems to promote corrosion, not prevent it.

I have a battery post cleaner that has two wire brushes, one that goes over the battery post to clean them, and a bottle brush-style one that cleans the inside of the battery clamps. Available at most all auto parts stores, Walmarts, and others. About $5, and it does a really good job. This last one I’ve had for 5 years.