Toyota Camry Starting Problems – Troubleshooting Guide


Toyota Camry’s are not known for having problems starting. Starting problems aren’t on a list of common complaints with the car and most issues with starting are the same, common issues that could happen with any car.

Seven issues could be causing your Toyota Camry starting problems. Those are no gas in the car, a dead battery, corrosion on the battery terminals, a failed alternator, a bad starter, a dead battery in the remote, and a clogged fuel filter.

You can rule out most of those issues yourself before you take it to a dealer. Many things that can cause a starting issue can be fixed with a trip to the auto store and a few simple tools. 

No Gas

While this isn’t the most common problem for a non-starting car, it is the easiest one to check. Was the car in the empty gas zone when you parked it? Sometimes, cars that are running low will register as empty if you park on an incline where the gas doesn’t reach the fuel sensor. 

You may be out of gas if the car tries to crank but doesn’t seem to be turning over. It isn’t choking but just won’t completely crank.If you are unsure of how much gas is in the car, try putting some gas in it and try cranking it again.

Dead Battery

A dead battery is the most common reason a car won’t start. It could be that something was left on all night or that the battery is a dude. You find out by first checking all the switches in the car to make sure everything was turned off. 

Then, find some jumper cables and a second car and jump the car off. If the car starts, it was likely a fluke and something was left on so check the interior again. However, failing to start would mean your battery is likely dead. 

You can use a battery testing tool to see what kind of voltage you are getting from your battery. This is a good way to see if it needs to be replaced or can be recharged. You can also take it to a local automotive parts dealer and have them test it. They will recharge it too for free if it can be recharged. 

Many times, the retail auto dealer will try to recharge it that shows if it has a dead cell or two. Take the battery back to where you bought it if it’s under warranty. 


Corrosion on the terminals is a common problem if you’ve had the car for a while. Look at the terminals to see if there is a build-up of nastiness on there. If so, make a baking soda paste with a little water. Take an old toothbrush with the baking soda paste on it and scrub around the terminals. 

It is best to take the terminals off to get all the corrosion off from the inside where it connects to the battery.

Failed Alternator

There are combination battery-alternator testers that are a good thing to keep in your garage or car. These are terrific for testing the power of an alternator. 

Generally, a bad alternator isn’t something that happens to suddenly cause your car to not start.  Some signs lead up to that including the battery warning light on your dash.

A failing alternator has more symptoms than a car simply not starting. Your lights will dim or suddenly get brighter. Your interior lights may dim or your radio may not work.

Your car may have frequent stalling or trouble starting overtime. 

A key symptom of an alternator problem is a clicking sound when you try to start the car. You may also hear that sound if the battery isn’t properly connected or if you have a dead battery.

Bad Starter

A bad starter could happen suddenly, causing a car to not turn over without any prior warning signs. However, a bad starter will act differently than a failed alternator or a dead battery. 

Bad starters make a sound when you try to start the car. Typically, it’s a grinding sound that is almost like a growl. That is a sure sign of a bad starter. 

Dead Remote Battery

A dead battery in the remote is one of the simple fixes for a non-started Camry. Cars are so dependent on remotes today that a dead remote battery could be causing your starting problems, especially if that is how usually start the car. A Toyota dealer or a parts store can get you a new battery. 

Clogged Fuel Filter

Sometimes, the fuel filter can get clogged with junk in the gas. That is particularly true if you use the cheapest gas. You will know it is probably a clogged fuel filter if the car sounds like it’s trying to get gas but is choking up. It almost cranks but then it doesn’t.

Like some of the other problems noted, a clogged fuel filter doesn’t just happen and cause your car to not start. There are warning signs. 

There could be a computer code so you first need to see if there are any trouble codes listed. It may have a POO87 code, which indicates the fuel pressure is low. A key sign that you may have a clogged fuel filter is if your car sputtered while you were driving it.

It has trouble making it up hills or feels like it’s running out of gas at high speeds. You car will also be difficult to start before it fails to start at all.

Try some easy fixes first. Put some gas cleaner in the engine with new premium gas. That typically will do the trick to get it to start. Run a higher octane gas in it for a while to clean out the engine. 

The fuel filter can be unclogged if you know your way around a car but take it to a mechanic if you don’t. It is usually one of the cheapest fixes a mechanic can do. 

The Toyota Camry

The Camry is noted for its reliability and fuel efficiency. The majority of the Camry models have a 2.5-liter engine with 202 and 206 in horsepower. The 2.5-liter V6 has 301 horsepower with 267 pound-feet of torque. Those are available in XLE, TRD, and XSE models.

The V-6 powered models run between 22 mpg and 33 mpg from city to highway. The Camry SE on four cylinders has 45 mpg on the highway. There is also a Camry XLE hybrid that gets about the same gas mileage. 

New Toyotas also have warranty and maintenance cover that includes complimentary maintenance covered for 25,000 miles or two years so if you do have a serious problem causing your Camry to fail in starting, you are covered.


Toyota Camry continues to have a solid reputation for their engines so you shouldn’t have ongoing engine starting problems. Most of these problems listed will cost less than $500 to fix, except for perhaps the alternator or the starter. 

Doing some preventive measures like using a gas additive sometimes and keeping your battery terminals clean will go a long way to keeping your car in great shape.

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