I found many answers regarding intermittent starting, but answers basically cover the entire starter system and I'd like to find a more specific answer to my problem.

1999 Toyota Tacoma 4x

Intermittent starting trouble with new battery
This answer seemed closest to answer the specific issue I'm having and suggests that the intermittent starting could be the starter itself.

This problem started for me as occasional and only when the air temperature was very, very cold. I turn the key, hear a click, starter doesn't engage. Everything else works fine.

I thought it might be the clutch bypass switch because when I pressed it, the engine started next time. This turned out to be a coincidence because as the frequency of failed starts has increased, and now happens every time regardless of temp, that trick no longer worked.

I got a new battery and replaced the terminals. No effect.

Now it fails about 90% of the time and sometimes the starter engages briefly and then stops.

So I'm thinking starter based on the explanation in the referenced answer, and not solenoid or switches. Thoughts?

  • So possibilities include cables between battery & starter, engine and body / battery, starter problems or control circuit problems. You have to test each part to find out where exactly your issue is.
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 23, 2020 at 18:57
  • Sounds like I should take it to my mechanic. I trust him and don't mind supporting the local economy. I was just hoping to have a clearer idea of what I'm dealing with. I thought the same things as you've said, that there could be a fault anywhere between the battery and solenoid. Simply replacing a solenoid or starter is easier of course.
    – Ytnok
    Jul 23, 2020 at 19:06
  • It is only money when you replace the wrong thing...
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 23, 2020 at 19:17
  • Right, so I'll let my mechanic bear that responsibility. I trust him, he won't charge me for his mistakes or fix the wrong thing.
    – Ytnok
    Jul 23, 2020 at 19:25
  • Next time it doesn't start - have someone you trust try starting it while you slide underneath and hit the starter (using a long bar). If it starts while you hit it - it's the starter (or the solenoid, which is the same package anyway).
    – EᑎOT
    Jul 23, 2020 at 19:53


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