Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car starts, shakes, and stalls.

asked by on

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

A: It sounds like your Camry is giving you a b...

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.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: the car will not go past 30 mph without missing.

Hi there. Sounds like the engine has either a major vacuum leak or a burned valve. Check all the vacuum lines and ports for any signs of leaks. Check the brake booster and see if it has a leaking check...

Q: Car burns gas excessively

Hello. It sounds like there may be a leak in your gas tank. That may explain why, when applying the brakes, the gas levels drop down. I would suggest having a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the fuel...

Q: Back tire wobbly

This could be a variety of things ranging from an out-of-balance wheel and tire, to a loose lug nut, a bad wheel bearing, or even a tire that is warped slightly. Driving with this symptom is a safety hazard and...

Related articles

How to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...