Q: Check engine light was on and then the car won't turn on at all, it's a 97 camry le with 186k miles

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So I bought the car in Octoberr. It was working great excpet the air hose was torn so we changed it. The check engine came on around November and one day it just turned off while I was driving and it wouldn't turn back on. My dad thought it was the gas pump but it was not. He checked all the connections and he said they were good.

My car has 186000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

If you request a no start diagnostic the responding certified mechanic will get the problem diagnosed and repaired for you promptly. The fact that the check engine light has come on may mean that key clues are available to speed the diagnostic and thus the mechanic would first download those codes and see if any are relevant to your no start condition. If you want to evaluate the situation on your own without codes, basically first be sure that you have a fully, 100% charged battery that passes a load test. Be sure the gas is fresh (if gas has sat in the fuel tank for more than 3 months, it should be drained; old gas will not start an engine). Confirm that the engine immobilizer system (security system) is not activated thus preventing the car from starting. If the immobilizer system is on, you may see a security warning light. If the warning light is on, to temporarily override the immobilizer system, see these instructions. If there is no starter motor operation at all, that is if there is no starter operation with the key held in the "start" position, the procedure is to test for power and voltage drops to the starter motor/solenoid. If there is no power, or a large voltage drop is measured, then the electrical circuit supplying the motor has a fault. That circuit begins at the battery and includes grounds, wiring (some of which is very heavy cabling), fuses, relays, the ignition switch, neutral start switch, and terminations. Basically, with a fully charged battery, and with the key held in the "start" position, the starter is either getting power or it isn’t. With the key in the "start" position, if the starter motor is getting power but the starter doesn’t work, then the starter is condemned and replaced. Note that starters can and sometimes do develop intermittent faults due to bad spots on the armature. The bottom line is if there is battery voltage to the starter (and no excessive voltage drop) and yet the starter doesn’t work, it’s dead.


On the other hand, if the starter motor does work and the engine cranks at adequate RPM, be sure there is adequate fuel in the fuel tank and that the fuel is not old. Check for adequate fuel pressure, injector operation, and a spark at the spark plugs. Basically, if the starter motor is turning the engine over rapidly, at sufficient RPM, but the engine does not catch and run, that means that there is an ignition, fuel, air induction, or mechanical fault in the engine that will have to be repaired. Strictly speaking, if there is fresh fuel being delivered by the injectors (not just "to" the injectors) and the ignition system is working, that means that the air fuel ratio of the mixture delivered to the cylinders is so far off that the mixture just won’t ignite. Such could be due to a big vacuum leak, an air induction fault like a stuck idle air control valve or, considering fuel, could be due to a failed temperature sensor that must be working properly to signal the PCM to enrich the mixture on cold start. Other common faults are defective spark plugs or a defective coil. Regardless of the underlying cause, if you request a no start diagnostic the responding certified mechanic will get the problem diagnosed and repaired for you promptly. Please let us know if you have further concerns or questions as we are always here to help you.

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