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1998 Toyota Corolla Question: car won't start randomly

 

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niniss, 1.8L 4 Cylinder, Cordova, TN, August 20, 2009, 00:51
 Rookie

It started in January of this year - sometimes the car wouldn't crank when i turned the key to start. I could hear a click sound only. But then when i tried again (turn the key twice or 3 times)it started. I took it to Autozone and they told me my battery was close to die and they also told me to use the Windex spray to clean off some corrosion on the positive battery connector. After i cleaned the corrosion, my car seemed to start very normal for about 2 months or so. Then the click sound started again (meaning randomly every now and then i needed to turn the key 2 or 3 times to start the car), so i have the battery replaced in April. The car was all good until July. The click sound returned every now and then, and one time it couldn't start even after i tried for 15 minutes or so. My neighbor came over and tried a few times and eventually it started. I took the car to walmart that same day and they tested the battery and alternator and told me both were fine. I started to research online about the starters but still feel foggy (sorry, i don't know much about cars). The funny thing is that after that day i was able to start the car perfectly in every first try. So i became lazy in finding a repair shop. Well, today, two weeks later, the click sound came back, and this time it strained me in front of UPS store. I couldn't start the car no matter how many times i tried to turn the key. I even tried to use jump cable (someone thought might be battery problem even though it wasn't) but nothing happened. This time it's hopless. I may have to call the towing company tomorrow.
If any of you have any knowledge or experience with this please let me know. Your help is deeply appreciated!
By the way, my car only has about 80k miles even though i have had it for over 11yrs.

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  • Answer #1

    dandd August 21, 2009, 20:49
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     Master

    Toyota's are notorious for failing starters. they will only click at first and then may still start, but eventually this warning leads to a new starter being needed. Sometimes, if you know a really good tech, you can only replace the starter solenoid, but it tales a sharp tech to do this, though it is much cheaper. Good Luck

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    niniss, August 21, 2009, 22:49
     Rookie

    Thanks for your comment, dandd. The next day i called a near by repair shop and asked about towing availibility. Since they happen to have someone passing the area where my car was, they helped me start my car by tapping on the starter (I heard of the tapping before but did not try because some guy claimed to be an car expert told me tapping only works on manual shift cars). Anyway, long story short, i ended up having that shop to repair my car since they helped me save the hassle of calling a towing company. It cost me about 350 to replace the starter. I did ask them about the solenoid, but they told me that the solenoid and the starter are together, so have to replace the whole thing. I asked to see my starter - it looked pretty much like brand new other than being a bit dusty. I asked the tech which part had gone bad. He said, "I don't know, must be inside of it." Not a very good answer to me but oh well... My car starts like a brand new car now - very powerful! I'm so relieved.

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