Q: Car starts, shakes, and stalls.

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Car starts, shakes, and then stalls within a few seconds of starting.

It sounds like your Camry is giving you a bit of a scare! There are generally three different issues that may cause your car to shake and stall after starting up. The most common issue I have experienced with your car is the failure of the Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF). The job of the MAF sensor is to measure the air flowing into the engine, thus allowing the computer to know how much fuel to release to the engine. Failure would cause the symptoms your car is experiencing. Another culprit is the fuel pump failing. When the fuel pump fails, it does not provide adequate fuel pressure and while it may do enough to start the car for couple of seconds, the pump cannot maintain fuel pressure, and eventually the car will die. Another suspect is the fuel pressure regulator. Its job is to assist the fuel pump in maintaining proper fuel pressure, therefore failure would cause the issues you are experiencing. Finally, another common issue leading to shaking and stalling after start up is worn out spark plugs. Spark plugs are commonly overlooked and if there is a gap in the spark plug, over time this will continue to wear and create a low spark, preventing the car from running properly. From my experience however, another thing you may want to check for is the gas level in the car. This one may sound silly, but sometimes the fuel gauge on a car may say you have gas, but in fact you may actually be low or out. Try adding a gallon of gas to the car and try restarting. If it runs smooth, then your fuel gauge may need repair.

The above are the most common reasons for shaking and stalling after start up in a 1997 Toyota Camry. Despite knowing these common problems, it is still best to have a certified mechanic diagnose your stalling problem properly.

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