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Starter motor?/alternator?

"95 toy camry–almost always started on first turn of key–lately is starting on 3rd-5th key turn and until it starts there is dead silence when key is switched to start position—no grind/growl ,etc from attempt to turn over/ start—

battery is ok as i have turned on lights/ac/ radio,eytc and all operating and once car running all’s well—

so far mechanic #1 wants to do the alternator and #2 prefers starter—

me,so far want to keep running car until a definitive diagnosis is made or at least one i buy into—part of problem is once running and at station it starts on first key turn–

any ideas/suggestions?

I find the alternator issue lame. However why guess. Have it tested at one of the auto parts stores that will test it for free. You can do a basic test yourself with nothing more than a cheap voltage meter. It should be about 13.6 volts with the engine running and a little over 12 at rest.

However I have a third possibility. The ignition switch could be going.

You say that you hear nothing when the key is turned to start and the starter doesn’t crank? Listen more closely and see if you hear a ‘click’ with each turn of the key until you get a start. Toyota starters wear out the solenoid contacts and contactor until you get the point where the solenoid engages the pinion but the battery is not connected to the starter. Eventually, one missed crank will degenerate to two or more until finally no number of key turns will start the engine.

Usually, the starter is replaced to solve this problem. However, if you find an automotive electrical shop that has the parts, the solenoid contacts can be replaced and the starter will soldier on for a number of years.

Hope that is what it is.

I suspect poor battery connections. If they ard corroded remove the cables and clean them. Also I had an experience like yours one time, finally it quit working altogether. I replaced the starter and fixed the problem