Toyota Camry Won’t Start – No CLick and No Lights

Reader Question: Dear Mr Davis,

I am having some sort of power problem with my 94’ Camry (LE). Essentially I cannot get it to turn over or start (no clicking, no sound, no nothing). It sat for about a year or so without any starting or anything being done to it (I know, shame on me). I’ve replaced the battery and the starter, the alternator is fine, and there are no blown fuses.

There is also half to three-quarters of a tank of gas in the car. I can get power to the headlights (including brights), the door-ajar light comes on the dash when the door is opened, as does the ring around the ignition keyhole. The car will also ding when I put the key in the ignition. The clock, cd player, and all other dash lights do not come on. When using a piece of electrical wire and jumping the starter directly from the battery itself, it did try to turn over once or twice but that was about it.

I was going to run the OBD but when I put the jumper wire in the appropriate terminals (E1 and TE1) nothing happens on the dash when I turn the key like it’s supposed to. I’m assuming since it’s a 94 that it is OBD1 and not 2. And of course since I can’t get it to run I can’t even get it to the auto store for them to run the scan tool either. The current theory is that there must be an interruption of power somewhere in the wiring, but I don’t know where to start looking. Might this be the problem or should I be looking at something else? Any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Bill

Howdy Bill,

I would be a little suspect of the starter motor, BUT triple check your batter cable connections and make sure they are good and tight and clean of corrosion. Turn on the headlights, then try to start the engine. if the headlights dim down, you most likely have a problem with the starter motor.

If the headlights go OUT when you try to start the engine, you have a battery cable connection problem or a ground wire that is not firmly connected at the battery, check all connections at the battery.

If the headlights remain bright, no dim or anything….you might have an alarm problem if you have an alarm, an ignition switch problem, a neutral safety switch problem – try starting the engine in neutral and move the shifter through all gears then back to park to make sure the transmission IS really in park.

Hooking up a computer or reading codes will tell you nothing about this kind of problem.

Blessings,
Austin Davis

Posted in: Toyota

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Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • loren

    May I ask if your have checked your neutral safety switch. This small device sometimes cause the starting problems for cars, specially for the automatic ones.