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Toyota Avalon Starting Difficulties

mcefmcef Member Posts: 1
edited February 2017 in Toyota
1999 Avalon would not start this morning. Did notice windows were slow the day before. Replaced the battery and still would not start. Husband started looking @ it(was his own VW mechanic) and found if he banged on the starter it would start. Besides having 3 sets of tires this is the first problem. Dealer wants $500+ and independent wants $380. Husband found starter for under $200 and thinks he can do it. Any other starting problems out there? What happens if he replaces that and it still doesn't start?


  • nomad56nomad56 Member Posts: 134
    Sure sounds like the starter, if the car does not respond to turning the ignition key. If it cranks, even slowly, it is NOT. If you get stuck prior to changing it: 1)The car may respond to a "jump", because their is more current going to the starter and completes the circuit from the motor brush, over a small gap, to the motor pick-up. 2) Also, try repeatedly turning the key to the "start" position. ie) turn against the spring in the will notice if the car is cranking...if NOT release and immediately turn again(you should be doing this 2-3 times per second). These repeated "jolts" of current often get the starter "cranking" in the early stages of its decline.

    Replacement, in my 96, requires removing the battery, battery tray and cruise control actuator...should be the same, or real similar...nomad
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    causes it to start, it is a real good bet that replacement of the starter is exactly what is needed. With a starter, definitely use the aftermarket and save a few bucks - starters from Toyota are expensive.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • shawn4818shawn4818 Member Posts: 6
    I have a 2000 Aavalon XLS with pretty much all of the upgrades (6-CD changer, leather, homelink...etc.) The car also has a low mileage (18,600 miles so far). We have been very happy with this car.

    But, in the past few weeks, in three occasions, we had problem starting the Avalon. When we tried to start, the engine at first did not crank at all, there were some fast clicking sounds, then the audio system made repeated noises as if trying to change the tape and CD, all the meters on the dash board also went up and down once. After few more tries, and about 15 to 25 minutes, the engine finally would crank slowly and finally got started. At that time, everything seem normal again, except that all the settings for the LCD display (time, date, ...etc.) and the audio system all went to the original default and need to be setup again. I did check the battery and found the indicator to be "green" indicating the battery appeared to be normal and charged.

    Please let me know what may cause this problem? What do I need to do to fix and prevent this from happening again?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Definitely sounds like the battery. Perhaps it is not being charged properly or perhaps there is a small drain on it. The green indicator light really doesn't tell you what the battery will do "under load", only its static and unstressed condition.
  • finfin Member Posts: 594
    You probably have a bad battery as the car is four years old and the original battery is near the end of a useful life. You probably also have corrosion on the terminals. This will prevent proper charging and discharge of current. Most likely post #355 above from our HOST is right. The green light is no help. Fix it now before you end up with no power on the nearest x-way at 60 mph. Avalons, and most other new cars, do *not* run without a good charged battery and good connections.
  • shawn4818shawn4818 Member Posts: 6
    I posted the #354 last weekend. I changed the battery on Tuesday. Everything seems to be back to normal since then. I did not know that even with a "green light" the battery still may not have enough power to start the engine. Thanks!
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    The green light only tells that one of the six cells in the battery is okay, but nothing about the other five. My Avalon's OE battery failed after six years, but the green light was still there.
  • abfischabfisch Member Posts: 591

    Good post on the battery. Never knew the light was just for one cell. Will change the battery after 5 years then. What type of battery did you purchase???

    "Feed the forum"

  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668

    Ended up with an Exide 84 month battery. Went out to get a Sears DH, but the Exide cost was much less at the time. Have also had very good service from Delco batteries in my old 1984 Toyota Van. The battery was under the floor on these and having an add no water battery made sense. Only put in two in 18 years. OE lasted about 5 years. The first Delco lasted about 8. The second Delco was still doing fine when I sold the van at 18.5 years.

    BTW, The Exide now in my Avalon has no green eye. Not a clear case either. I have to remove the caps on top to check the water. So far in about two years only two cells have needed water, and then only a tiny amount.
  • buckeyedonbuckeyedon Member Posts: 46
    Over 8 years as OE. I replaced it simply because of time, not performance. Amazing endurance IMHO. I'm sure it could have gone on for ???? period of time. Replaced OE battery with a 24F type battery from local Walmart...installed myself with no problems.
  • gotchaagotchaa Member Posts: 2
    my wife has a 98 avalon. she is now having problems starting. manual says step on brake to get car to start. now she must put her full body weight on brake pedal to allow her to start. does anyone know whether this problem can be cleaned up at dealer or elsewhere or is it a part or parts problem? don't want to leave her stranded somewhere. i don't trust dealer to give me honest answer.
  • debbie2debbie2 Member Posts: 1
    My friend borrowed the car and swears that she parked it in the driveway, turned car off, walked to the mailbox with the keys in her hand, and the car started on its own! It took her three tries putting the key back in the ignition to turn it off. Other than a ghost, what could be causing this? Only happened one time as far as I know!

  • buyer777buyer777 Member Posts: 70
    This happened to my 1997 Intrepid....needed a new starter. Quite weird when it happens!
  • ubiq22ubiq22 Member Posts: 1
    Hoping to draw on the expertise here.
    Have driven my amazingly trouble free 98 Avy for
    150K miles. Just recently have been experiencing a difficulty on re-starts. Never have any problem if car has been sitting for an hour or more.
    Engine will turn over but stutter wanting to die.
    Sometimes I can catch it before it dies by hitting accelerator. I was thinking fuel filter since it has been awhile since last changed.
    Any thoughts? Thank you!
  • max1234max1234 Member Posts: 1
    I am having issues with the starter on my 98 Avalon as well. Somewhere on the internet, I read that the actually problem may just be the starter connects & there is a Starter Repair Kit in the market that can solve the problem - does anyone have any experience doing this?
    How hard is it to replace a starter?

    I would appreciate all your help. :confuse: :sick:
  • mikes.mikes. Member Posts: 337
    "I am having issues with the starter on my 98 Avalon as well. Somewhere on the internet, I read that the actually problem may just be the starter connects & there is a Starter Repair Kit in the market that can solve the problem - does anyone have any experience doing this?
    How hard is it to replace a starter? "

    I replaced the brushes and contacts on a 68 Ford station wagon sevreal times, back in the 70's. It wasn't hard to do and a whole lot cheaper then a rebuilt starter. As for doing it on FWD car with the engine shoe-horned into the compartment I haven't a clue. If you can get to the starter and get it out and back in decently easy then I'd say go-4-it!

  • txtoyotatxtoyota Member Posts: 3
    Any help with this problem would be greatly appreciated. Last year, my 2000 Avalon had a spell of not wanting to start. I would turn the key (not pressing on the gas pedal), the car would turn over, but would not stay started. I found that if I pressed really good on the gas pedal while turning the key, I could nurse it into staying running. Once on the road, it ran well. We took it to the dealer and had the fuel pump replaced. Problem solved, until this week (a year later).

    Three times this week, the car has done the same thing--refusing to stay started, not wanting to stay running at idle unless you give it a lot of gas and nurse it along. We took it to our local Toyota dealer yesterday. Their solution--"cleaned throttle body." Talk about feel insulted when I heard their solution--in other words, they had no idea what the problem was, just wastefully threw some of my money at it. We got it back home today, and guess what? Right off the bat, it would not hold a start. We delivered it back to the local dealer's shop.

    Any ideas on what could be causing this problem? The car has 95,000 miles on it, and I have loved this car the past five years. It is my first Toyota (my first non-Detroit auto), and it has been wonderful until this starting thing flared up. Thank y'all for y'all's help!
  • mikes.mikes. Member Posts: 337
    It is possible that the fuel pump is going out, again. Also it could be the fuel filter. Toyota likes to call it a "lifetime" filter but they don't specify whose lifetime. I change mine at ~100K miles.

    The throttle body and MAF sensor do need cleaned about every 60K miles but usually you'll notice a loss of power rather then a hard start.

  • oilslickoilslick Member Posts: 14
    This happened yesterday. I started it up after stopping to pick up something at a store.. When I started the engine and put it in drive and pulled out into traffic, it stopped running. I coasted out of traffic and tried to start it. It would start but cut off immediately after it started. I restarted it about 5 times. I then raced the engine for a while and it started running fine. It has run fine since. Is it a computer problem or bad gasoline or what? Thanks.
  • finfin Member Posts: 594
    With no other information here is a guess: fuel system failure. Contaminated fuel or failing filter (stoppage) or pump. Just a guess, other contributors may see something different. :)
  • oilslickoilslick Member Posts: 14
  • alfonsoralfonsor Member Posts: 1
    i have a 2000 Avalon with the same problem...i have about 130k miles on it and this is alos the second time this has happened....the first was back when the car only had around 60k miles on it and when i took it to the dealer they replaced the starter solenoid. Now im having the same problem...I'm going to take it back see what they tell me this time
  • mywifesavalonmywifesavalon Member Posts: 5
    I have a 2000 Avalon.
    I decided to fix the problem, after not getting much help from my Toyota Dealer.
    It started out as a slow idle problem. the engine would run very slowly around 400 rpm, but eventually would run fine. After several episodes of the slow idle over a period of 2 years, it began to start and not idle at all, so I removed the battery cables to reset the engine management and that worked for a couple of days.
    To make a long story short I removed the idle control valve from underneath the throttle body and cleaned the carbon crud off of the shaft inside of it let it rotate freely. I used an old toothbrush and carb cleaner. Problem Solved!!
  • abfischabfisch Member Posts: 591

    Can you please describe in detail how this is done so I know when it happens to me.


  • mywifesavalonmywifesavalon Member Posts: 5
    The IAC or Intake Air Control Valve controls the engine speed at idle. It is controlled by the ECM.
    Remove the rubber air intake (2) hoses at the throttle body and look inside the body. the tube on the right side has the IAC valve opening for air flow to bypass the throttle blades at idle.

    It took me about an hour and half to disconnect and clean the IAC.

    I disconnected the negative battery cable
    removed the air filter
    removed the connectors from the IAC and the throttle position sensor
    I had to remove some black hoses from underneath the throttle body and on top of the air cleaner box get clearance that I would need later when I unbolted the throttle body from the intake manifold.
    Remove the (3) bolts (2) on top and (1) on the bottom .
    Also remove a screw from the firewall side of the throttle body to release it from the engine.

    Turn the throttle body to remove the (4) phillips head screws.
    There is a rubber gasket underneath, Because engine coolant does circulate through the valve, you only loose about a tablespoon of coolant. I did reuse the rubber gasket.
    After you inspect it remove the electrical connector (2) screws carefully pull it away from the IAC.
    Look for signs of carbon or scoring on the shaft that rotates also check the operation of the little door openning under the shaft, it opens and closes.
    Mine didn't rotate freely and was dirty.(NOTE: the shaft only rotates enough to open and close the door beneath it.
    I used a toothbrush and carb cleaner to free it up , the spray will empty out of the opening on the bottom.

    It not difficult but there is never enough room to work under the hood.
    Before you remove stuff , you have to check if there is a wire attached to it.
    If you have a problem with your idle you might try spraying some carb cleaner through the opening in the throttle down to the IAC.

  • boblaxboblax Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2001 Toyota Highlander V6 AWD LTD.
    Thank you for you help. You just save my car. I just clean the "Thlottle Body Idle Speed Control Valve" yesterday. Problem Solved
    Thank you very much
  • mywifesavalonmywifesavalon Member Posts: 5

    You're welcome, I'm glad your Highlander is back to normal.
    My Avalon has been idling and running good, since I cleaned the IAC valve.

    I'm reading posts on the 6 Disc CD system in my Avalon.
    Mine quit and will not eject the discs.

  • vifferviffer Member Posts: 21
    Many Thanks to this idle/starting solution. My wife's 00 Avalon with 108K miles has had this intermittent problem for years. Had taken it to the dealer and because they couldn't replicate the problem they could not fix it even though they were given a detailed description of the issues.

    Took me about two hours with a manual(I am slow and thorough). Found the Idle control valve was sticking with carbon build up.
  • mywifesavalonmywifesavalon Member Posts: 5
    Thank you for your reply. I'm glad you repaired your Avalon.
    It took me about the same amount of time. I didn't want to mess up anything taking the throttle body apart and putting it back together.

    My wife sure is a happy camper.

    It's hard to believe the dealer had no clue to yours or my problem.
    I probably should have responded to the quality control letters they send out after you make a service call.
  • schatze00schatze00 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1996 Avalon XLS with 112,000K miles on it and have had it one year. No problems as of yet, but now my car won't start. My boyfriend replaced the old battery with a new one and he tried jumping it and it still won't start. He said there is a lot of corrosion on the terminal, but upon brushing it off and cleaning it with baking soda, I still can't get it to start....any ideas?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    When you say won't "start" you mean it cranks and cranks but won't fire the engine or do you mean you turn the key and nothing at all happens?
  • schatze00schatze00 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for replying. Nothing at all happens. The lights come on and that is all.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Do the headlights go dim or out when you turn the key to the "start" position? Try this and report back.
  • stanleymartinstanleymartin Member Posts: 1

    I have a similar issue with a 1998 Toyota Avalon XLS but it's intermittent. When it happens all the lights come on and looks fine but instead of hearing the starter turning I just hear a semi-loud click coming from the engine compartment if I have the window down. My lights do dim when this happens. I have tried turning off all the accessories, lights, etc but it does not seem to matter. I have also had the battery tested good. When the car fails to start I usually have to try another one to 5 times and then instead of a loud click the starter finally turns over the engine and it starts. It has happened for the last 10 days and is happening more and more each day.

    Any suggestions? I thought possible starter problem or some other relay/ignition control module type thing? I've brushed/cleaned the battery contacts and the battery store said the battery tests good.

  • finfin Member Posts: 594
    In years past we have discussed at length in this forum the problem of excessive corrosion around the *negative* battery post in Avalons. Most likely, it is a function of joining different types of metal and electricity. It may also be caused by the ground cable itself. You might try replacing the ground cable, and make sure you clean the negative post completely. Corrosion may occur at the other end of the cable also, but most should be at the battery. The white corrosive material blocks electrical current. A battery that tests "good" still may not have enough power to overcome the corrosion/connection problem and start the car. Try a new battery at the store and see if the car starts might be the battery. ( My '03 XL is now on the THIRD battery! ) Hope this helps... :)
  • dswingdswing Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1996 Avalon with 170,000 miles. Car would not start-just clicks when ignition turned on. I had the battery
    tested-one year old-ok. Replaced the original starter.Still
    hear just the click-all accesories and lights work so I have ruled ouy the alternator. I cleaned the battery clamps and checked and cleaned neg and pos wires for corrosion. i
    have checked fuses. Also I cannot jump start vehicle either.
    Any ideas? Thanks.
  • tlkoertlkoer Member Posts: 7
    I also have a 1996 Avalon with about the same amount of mileage (180,000) and with the same problem. It will go for days with no problems and then will only get a click when trying to start it. Someone who came to my yard sale thought it could be a loose wire but where to start! I love my car (except for the days I get the clicking sound). Somebody help us please!!!!!
  • finfin Member Posts: 594
    Remove and clean the battery cables where they attach to the battery. Clean the terminal posts also. Corrosion may be building up and causing a poor connection. This is a common problem in older Avalons... Clean the posts with fine sandpaper. Dip the ends of the battery cables in CocaCola...briefly, then dry completly, reattach. Hope this helps. Note: If you cannot jump start the car, a cable may be bad, not the connections.
  • tlkoertlkoer Member Posts: 7
    My hubby replaced the terninal posts thinking that was the problem. I guess next would be the cables. The only thing like the other message, everything works (lights, radio). I wouldn't think these would be working if I had a bad cable. I am I wrong on this?
  • dswingdswing Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the replies-I had all but given up and was going to have the vehicle towed to a shop. The wrecker driver
    removed 2 bolts to the positive clamp(where two wires come together to the clamp)Even though I had dilligently cleaned the external area-these two small metal plates had corrosion
    where they sandwiched between the two bolts)He cleaned them
    and the car starts beautifully.Even though I needlessly replaced the starter- I would have needed a starter eventually...It's always the small things I overlook----- Lessons learned............
  • abfischabfisch Member Posts: 591
    Probably emery cloth would be better than sandpaper. Take off the battery holder/stabilizing arm(cannot think of its name) and if it is corroded, take off the corrosion on a bench grinder using a wire brush too. Prime then paint.

    I just did mine. It looks like new. The battery is going on its 5th year.

  • finfin Member Posts: 594
    Yes, emery cloth is a better choice if you have some handy. This is the same discussion we had in this forum at least once before. Avalons seem to generate a lot of corrosion at the battery posts. And that battery holder you describe can almost dissolve after a few years. But, they are still great cars. :)
  • abfischabfisch Member Posts: 591
    Thanks man. Getting my axles, both sides, replaced now at 83K, as the car has started to wobble at the front end again. Painful but that is what it is. Getting to love front driving cars less every year, although the comfort of this vehicle is hard to beat.

    To my embarassment, I may have filled the battery with a little bit too much of distilled H20, and then sitting in the heat, expanded it, came out of the filler holes and onto that center metal holder, hench the corrosion. Since then I noticed on the side of the battery, which is slightly tranlucent, a mark that says min and max to keep up with the maitenance. I did not notice this before but anyone who just does simple battery maintenance once a year, this is what you should look for and go buy. I am going to see if I can get 8 years on this battery just by doing the simple maintenance on it.

    The rear PU(polyurethane bushings) needed regreasing as well, which at my age, is becoming a little painful. But smooth and quiet after getting under there, cleaning the inner diameter and outdiamter and then applying blue marine grease which is hydrophilic. The sway bar bushing seem to get the most work out as the bars are constantly pivoting in the inner core. Rubber after 70K has to be degraded especially in salt areas. I do think these PU bushings are an effective, and inexpensive upgrade to the handling of this vehicle, although they do require greasing once a year and transmit just a hint more vibration but nothing unacceptable to a 40-50 year old bad back.

  • nosretepnosretep Member Posts: 3
    It takes a lot more current to start the engine than to run the radio or lights. A bad cable or even a somewhat bad ground connection (where the negative battery cable connects to the car chassis) can limit the amount of current so that the starter won't turn over, lights, headlights, etc. work just fine. I have a 2000 Avalon, but encountered this on my Jeep.
  • alkricalkric Member Posts: 9
    Hi there,

    My Toyota Avalon 2001 has 95000 miles. Sometimes, when it stays idle for while, it gives me starting problems. I start the car and the pressure in the tachometer doesn’t go over 1. The car jumps a little and dies. To start the car, I have to start the ignition while pressing the accelerator. When I came to my mechanic, the car had no start up problems. He said that it could be anything, and all I can do is wait until my car dies. I can’t really do that because I travel a lot and would rather not be stranded in upstate New York on the road :-) I tried ignition clean up liquid but it didn’t help.

  • steve326asteve326a Member Posts: 58
    What may work even better is if you own a Dremel with the small wire wheel attachment. Still soak the wire ends in coke or solution of water mixed with arm and hammer baking soda.

  • kwcdieselkwcdiesel Member Posts: 1
    Yeah, I am having the same problem when starting the car. I have a Toyota Avalon XL 2000. When put the key in and crank the ignition, once in a while the engine doesn't start. I have to crank again and hit the gas a little to get the RPM's to go over 1,000. I am bringing it to Toyota Dealership San Diego. Possibly fuel injectors.
  • alkricalkric Member Posts: 9
    I put "Dry Gas" and then I changed gas filter. I don't really know if that helped, but since then the problem disappeared. Good luck to you. Please keep me informed. Thanks

  • bkgkbkgk Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 Toyota Avalon xl. I have not had any problems. Yesterday my car would not start. It makes a loud clicking sound and it can't be jumped off. I read in the previous messages that a cable may be bad, but what cable?
  • steve326asteve326a Member Posts: 58
    The cables that goes from your battery itself. The large red one goes to your starter, black one is the ground. Where each one connects may have corrosion in them which keeps the juice from your battery from reaching the starter. You may even have enough to run your acc like radio, int lights, maybe even headlights but, not enough to turn the starter. The accessories and headlights draw between roughly 1-10 amps. A starter draws 150-200 amps.

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