Q: Car won't start on first attempt, takes several tries the vehicle will turn over 2003 Toyota Sequoia

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The vehicle will turn over but will not start until after two or three attempts. When the key is in the ignition and turned all the way to the right and I let go of it it still stays there and attempts to keep starting without me holding the key. Once it does start after the third or fourth attempt it stays running and seems to be okay after that. Doesn't die at stop signs or stop lights stays running. Could this possibly be ignition switch or fuel pump?

My car has 203000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello - most likely, your hard starting is caused by a malfunctioning fuel pressure check valve, or fuel pressure regulator. The fuel system is supposed to hold a small amount of residual pressure in the system for faster starts. A leaking check valve makes the fuel pump work harder, and run longer when cranking, before adequate fuel pressure is available for the injectors. I recommend a hard starting inspection performed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, confirm this diagnosis, and give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs. The " engine continues to crank after I release the key" is actually normal on most new cars now. Turning the ignition key to the "Start" position, even momentarily- then releasing it, initiates a "start sequence", which is computer-controlled, and runs the starter for a few seconds on its own. This is a precursor feature for the "auto stop/start" feature (at stoplights) more and more cars have now. Nothing to worry about.

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