Q: My 2003 Toyota Sequoia starts then dies and does this a couple of times until it stays running. It only does this when it's cold.

asked by on November 16, 2016

when its 40 deg or colder my Toyota will start then dies it does this several time then will stay running. I changed the fuel filter, mass air flow sensor. took it to the shop and they had it for about 3 days and said they couldn't find anything wrong.

My car has 213000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Coolant Temperature Switch (Sensor) Replacement $88.56 - $354.95 Get a Quote
Idle Control Valve Replacement $146.15 - $920.51 Get a Quote
Car starts and then dies Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

Although it is a little cumbersome, you could try to rule in or out a fault in the fuel delivery system by having an assistant quickly introduce "starter fluid" into the intake right at the point (very quickly, of course) that the engine starts to cut out. Of course, you will do this experiment on a cold day. If the introduction of starter fluid keeps the engine running, during these stumbles, that would point toward a fuel delivery issue although the delivery problem could itself be the result of a faulty engine temperature sensor.

A faulty temperature sensor will mis-report to the PCM and not enrich the mixture at cold start-up thus causing the engine to immediately stumble. It is also possible that the relay that drives the fuel pump is cutting out during initial start-up. There are other obvious possibilities include the idle air control valve.

A certified professional, like one from YourMechanic, could perform an appropriate engine management diagnostic and get this resolved for you. By the way, to make your life easier, and assist you toward resolving this, the shop should have given you a detailed list of each and every component, system, or possibility that they already tested, so that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

I’m sorry to say that if they simply told you "they couldn’t find anything," and at the same time did not give you a reasonable level of diagnostic detail, they probably did essentially nothing to help you. Put another way, the symptom you are reporting is not of space shuttle complexity and thus it should have been fully resolved during your first visit.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

Reverse doesn't work

Hello. You can visually observe the manual shift lever on the transmission as an assistant puts it into reverse. You should see the lever move into position. The positions are all within detents so there is a positive stop feel....

Bad clutch in my truck

Hello! Thank you for writing in with this question. This generation of Tacoma has an adjustable clutch pedal assembly. As outlined in the Tacoma service manual, if the assembly is out-of-adjustment, it could cause slipping. A local mechanic (like those...

Water temperature gauge fluctuates even after replacing the thermostat could it be the water pump

Hello, thank you for asking about your 2003 Honda Element. This can be many different things aside from the thermostat, such as a failing water pump, a failing coolant fan relay, a clogged radiator, or even potentially a blown head...

What does it mean if the message center shows a warning saying “Sensor blocked see manual?”

Your car has a significant number of sensors that play vital roles in a wide range of different systems. If you see the warning “Sensor blocked see manual” come across your message center, it’s natural to feel a little nervous....

How much we would tail light socket and wiring cost

Hi there. It's possible that the issue you're having with brake lights is caused by either the brake light switch under the pedal, an electrical relay or the brake lights themselves. To know for certain what's causing this problem, it's...

Front Passenger Lock sometimes does not lock with a remote control or by locking button located on either doors.

The solenoid is on the door latch and is most likely the cause of the problem for your 2005 Toyota Tacoma. If you want to have this inspected and repaired, a certified technician from YourMechanic can come to your home...

My car jerks when putting it into drive and sometimes has to be revved up high before going into gear

The issue you're describing is typically an indicator of an internal transmission component failure or loss of hydraulic pressure inside the transmission. The change of the motor and transmission mounts probably did not hurt the Honda's ability to accelerate correctly....

My car misfires when it's cold al so idling rough

Hello, thank you for writing in. The vehicle may be having one of several issues including clogged fuel injectors, poor compression (metal expands when hot), any of your air intake sensors, or a vacuum leak. The valves and lifters can...

Alternator/Battery issues

Inasmuch as you installed a new battery, this is probably a charging system related issue, but the charging system includes not just the alternator but all interconnecting wiring. So, you do have to consider the possibility of high resistance connections,...

Related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Speedometer Cable
Common signs include the speedometer needle wavering or not moving, squealing noises behind the dashboard, and the Check Engine Light coming on.
How to Replace an Evaporator Temperature Sensor (Switch)
The air conditioning system has an evaporator temperature sensor that fails when there is no cold air or the air conditioning is inconsistent.
2012 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2012 Toyota RAV4: Which One Should I Buy?
Mid-size crossover SUVs are an excellent option when you need to take several friends along with you, or bring your kids along and yet still need to keep a tight leash on your purchase cost as well as your ongoing...