Can anyone tell me why my 1997 Toyota Camry is acting up?

I'll turn the key over and it just clicks. My vents, lights, etc all work. We even tried jumping it and nothing...it just clicks. Worked fine earlier today.

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    Try finding the starter motor, and have somebody tap (or bash) it with a piece of wood or rubber mallet. It sounds like your starter may be on the way out, and a swift kick to the keister might get it working long enough to start the car. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 22:19

5 Answers 5


The click likely means that there is voltage to the starter solenoid and that it does, something. There's a few possible candidates here.

  • Solenoid (device used to apply power to the starter motor when the key is turned) is bad and not getting power to the starter motor.
  • Wiring from the battery to the starter is bad so again power is not getting to the starter motor.
  • Starter motor itself is bad.
  • Power is being applied to the starter but your battery is dead enough that there isn't enough power to actually move the starter motor and engine.

Things it probably isn't:

  • The ignition key - The click is likely the solenoid doing something (might still be the wrong thing) it's likely that the ignition key is ok.

You can use a volt meter on the terminals of the starter to determine if there is voltage being applied when the key is turned and the click is heard. Just please be careful, the engine will shake on startup and if it's already hot, or you're near a belt you could get hurt.

I hope that helps!


If there is a series of clicks (rapidly, like a machine gun) it is probably a bad connection somewhere between the battery posts and the starter or ground. If it is one solid click, chances are it has a bad set of contacts inside the starter solenoid. This is a gear reduction type of starter. Contacts can be successfully installed without replacing the entire stater. One thing to try is to turn the key to the crank position, let off and turn it again as quickly as possible, in rapid succession many times to see if it will make a connection. If it starts, at least you can then drive it to a shop if you don't want to tackle the repair yourself. Contacts in a gear reduction starter are less than $10, a starter can be well over $100. Labor is nearly the same for either job. Once the starter is off the car there are three screws holding the cover. Remove these and the plate and plunger with spring will come out exposing the contacts. One will be worn down and the other will look nearly new. Replace both of them, reassemble and reinstall. Sometimes you can get to the plate and disassemble without removing the starter from the car. Good luck! Let us know what you find.


bad starter motor or bad lead to starter motor most likely.

It could also be that the jump was done from a car that did not produce enough amps or your battery was flat and did not wait long enough to get it charged a little. Could also have been a bad jumper cable or poor contact between the jumper cable and battery terminals or grounding points.

When you do get it started check the voltage accross your battery if it is 12.5 or less you have a bad alternator or cabling. If it is 12.5-13.5 you have a weak alternator or bad cabling. If it is above 13.5 but below 14.75 this is good. If it is above 14.75 you have a problem with the regulation circuit on the alternator and it is allowing the alternator to produce too much power.


I had a similar problem in my car.

I was able to get it out from parking, but when everyone sat down, it refused to start, and the click sound audible. Also ODO was not functioning as it would do normally.Had to push it back to the parking manually. Next morning it started fine in the morning and it refused to start when I stopped for a quick air pressure check. The click sound was very apparent and I contacted the servicing guys.

They came with spare battery and replaced the battery. The car started fine with spare battery. They took it to service centre and diagnosed that the alternator was damaged and needs to be replaced. Took 2 days and car is working fine since then.


Since this is an older car and no one has mentioned it I would check for voltage drop between the battery and the starter. You can find a good video on YouTube about this by a guy named Schrodinger's box.

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