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Yaris Starter (and maybe electrical) problems?

Alright, so after spending the last 20 minutes scouring the forums, nothing I’ve read sounds quite like my situation. Basically I want to know what I should suggest to the mechanic. General advice I’ve gotten doesn’t seem to fit, and I’d rather avoid spending more money than I need to fixing something that isn’t broken!

I have a 2008 Toyota Yaris, I just had it in for a diagnostic checkup and oil change less than a month ago. I’ve owned the car 4 years and never had a problem. I get home last night to pick up my roommate to go to the store. Since she’d be right out I stayed in my car with the radio on, engine off, for about 10 minutes (okay she wasn’t RIGHT out…). When she got to my car, and opened the door, the dome light came on, and the radio died. It came back on after a second, which I thought was strange. Then I tried to start the car and got nothing but clicks. I tried jiggling the keys, turning the car completely off and waiting, same thing. I decided to let it sit for the night, and this morning when I tried to jump it, I got nothing. Same clicking noise.

This is most unfortunate considering I’ll need to do some driving for the holidays. Is there anything I can do on my own to try and fix this? Or does anyone have any advice on what to tell the mechanic?

I should mention, that I tested the battery which is keeping a charge. The lights and electronics in the car all work and are strong. When we pushed it into the back yard, the radio was going again, and out of habit I hit the windshield wipers because it was sprinkling. The wipers moved a few inches then stopped, and the radio died again. This time the radio didn’t come back on on it’s own, but the lights all stayed on elsewhere in the car.

Thank you in advance for your help and advice!

  • Amanda Dalton

PS - Wouldn’t you know the warranty on my car just ran out a few months ago…

If you know how to loosen the battery terminals (10 mm wrench), take them off and clean both sides with a wire brush.
You may just have a bad contact. It could be that simple.

If you’re not comfortable doing that, In lieu of that, smack the battery contacts with the bottom of your shoe (not too crazy hard but just shock them) to see if that helps them make contact again. If you can then start the car again, those contact very likely just need cleaning.

Sooooooooo… how many watts is that new sound system again?

Most parts stores will test the battery and charging system for free. Your battery is 4 years old, and it may not be all that it can be. Especially of you’re in the habit of listening to the soundn system with the motor off. Have the tests done. Post the results.

From what you say your battery may be nearing its’ end of life and has little storage capacity left. Have it tested along with the charging system to make sure things are ok there. As far as the warranty goes I don’t think it matters for the battery. They are a normal replacement item. You can get a new warranty with a new battery. Sears has a very good warranty on their top of the line platinum battery though they are expensive to purchase, but you get what you pay for.

Auto Zone and the other McParts stores will test your battery and charging system and if a battery is needed they will install it free at most stores. Their battery is among the top rated. The red top Duralast is usually a good value. And it sounds like the battery is the weak link in your system.