Toyota Corolla 2008 engine start issues

Hi all, need some help to figure out what I need to check to determine why this start issue has appeared. Since I have never had any start issues before.

So the full history is this; Car hadn’t been driven much during this past 2 years due to Covid/lockdowns. Took it out for a spine and the engine light came on and there was engine wobble. Turns out one of the spark plugs were broken. Got all 4 replaced, also replaced the coils since they had some wear on them. Got it serviced, so engine oil and filter and air filter changed. No issues so far, car still started fine.
Then I got the fuel injectors cleaned since I never had them cleaned (car is almost 200Km). I could see some carbon build up on the pistons area so put some fuel additive (liqui moly, Fuel System Cleaner/Conditioner). After that I started having starting issues. I turn the key and the engine cranks but doesn’t start, so I now I have to crank it a few times before it catches and tend to hit the gas petal to get it to catch before I can drive.

I looked to see if there was any fuel leak or disconnections around the fuel rail/injectors but nothing. checked all the other areas that was recently changed but nothing.
Not sure if this is due to the fuel additive so been driving a lot to use up the fuel, got it down to 1/4 and filled it up again but still having starting issues.

Please let me know if anything comes to mind regarding this start issue, not sure what to look at next to figure this out. Thanks.

How do you see carbon buildup on pistons area?
Broken spark plug?
Worn coils?
You are telling mechanic to replace parts?
Or is it his idea?

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I agree with Cavell, how do you determine if your coils are worn??

Gasoline already contains fuel additives to keep everything in tip top shape.

I’m not a mechanic but my gut is telling me the fuel additive and your current problems are related. My offhand guess is that it fouled the plugs.

How fresh is the gasoline in the engine? You mentioned a lack of driving recently due to Covid. Is the gas in the tank new or older?

My first thought was you may be running old gas.


Yeh going for long drives to use up the fuel in there, however like i said I have refilled and still hard to start, i guess there is still 1/4 i need to use up before it becomes all new gas.

was not aware of that, wont be using additives again.

My suggestion is to go get yourself a tank of new, fresh gas.

Somehow I suspect most of your issues will go away rather quickly.

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Solution: turned out I had a dirty mass air flow sensor, get the right cleaner, let it dry and popped it back in. Starts right up now, very happy, I see on the cleaner that it says every time you change the air filter to give the sensor a clean. I have never cleaned it in the 10 years I had the car. Leant something new today. Thanks all for the helpful replies.