Toyota Corolla Won’t Start (Troubleshooting)

It’s frustrating when your Toyota Corolla will not turn on and begin to run, and it can be difficult to know where to start fixing it. Troubleshooting can help you quickly establish why the subcompact vehicle will not activate and begin to work.

Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving. It provides a logical, systematic approach to trace and correct faults within the vehicle’s electronic or mechanical system, and it’s the best way to diagnose the source of a starting problem.

This troubleshooting chart identifies the numerous characteristics and physical features a Toyota Corolla might exhibit when it won’t start. This will make it easier to find out what is causing the starting issue. Common symptoms include;

  • Engine will not rotate when attempting to start
  • Engine rotates but will not start

Engine will not rotate when attempting to start

An engine that will not rotate and fire up refers to when the crankshaft will not turn or revolve so as to start the motor. The car may not make an audible noise or you might hear a rapid clicking sound. This list identifies the most probable causes for a Toyota Corolla that will not crank and start up.

Engine Won’t Crank or Start 1. Battery terminals corroded or loose connection.

2. Battery is not fully charged or is faulty.

3. Automatic transmission lever is not fully engaged in park position or the clutch is not fully depressed when trying to start the motor.

4. Disconnected, loose or damaged wiring in the starting circuit; check battery cable connections, starter solenoid wiring connection, test battery, check ignition circuit, check for a burned fusible link near positive battery terminal. Check clutch start switch or transmission range sensor.

5. Starter pinion gets jammed in flywheel ring gear and won’t retract.

6. Faulty starter solenoid.

7. Starter motor malfunction.

8. Faulty ignition switch, broken or loose wiring.

9. Flywheel or pinion ring gear teeth broken or worn.

Engine rotates but will not turn on

Engine rotates but will not turn on refers to when you turn the key to the starting position, electricity is sent to the starter motor, the starter motor rotates the crankshaft, but the engine does not fire up and begin operating. This list identifies the most likely cause for a Toyota Corolla that will crank but not start.

Engine Cranks But Won’t Start 1. No fuel in the gas tank.

2. Weak battery charge (engine rotates slowly).

3. Fuel system issue; faulty fuel pressure regulator, clogged or leaking injector(s), bad fuel pump, etc.

4. Gasoline not reaching fuel rail; pinched fuel line, clogged, broken or leaking fuel line.

5. Faulty or wet ignition components.

6. Incorrect spark plug, worn or broken plug, or incorrectly gapped.

7. Faulty ignition coil, damage, lose or disconnected wires at the ignition coil.

8. Bad crankshaft position sensor (CKP) or camshaft position sensor (CMP).

The bottom line

If you hear a rapid clicking noise when attempting to start the engine it is most likely the result of a battery with low voltage and/or bad connections. If no clicking is heard, it could also be a discharged/dead battery. If the headlights do not come on or are dim, that’s a sign of a dead or weak battery. Take the battery to your local parts store and they can diagnose it for free.

This troubleshooting guide lists the most probable causes for why a Toyota Corolla won’t start, but there could be many other reasons it will not turn on. If your Corolla won’t start, and this troubleshooting guide didn’t help, post a detailed description of the issue in the comment box and we will offer some advice.

Be certain to include specific details; did the car shut off while driving before the starting problem occured? If so, did you hear any mechanical noise before the car turned off. Does the car make a sound when trying to start it? Do any interior lights come on? The more details you provide the better I can help you.

Applies to the following Toyota Corolla models

2003 Toyota Corolla CE, S, LE 1.8L I-4 Engine
2004 Toyota Corolla CE, S, LE 1.8L I-4 Engine
2005 Toyota Corolla CE, S, LE, XRS 1.8L I-4 Engine
2006 Toyota Corolla CE, S, LE, XRS 1.8L I-4 Engine
2007 Toyota Corolla CE, S, LE 1.8L I-4 Engine
2008 Toyota Corolla CE, S, LE 1.8-L I-4 Engine


“Engine Will Not Start – Troubleshooting” Factory Service Manual, Pg. 1,406

“Toyota Corolla Won’t Start (Troubleshooting).” Auto Parts Repairs, 13 Nov. 2020,

“Automotive Battery.” Wikipedia,  13 Nov. 2020

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One thought on “Toyota Corolla Won’t Start (Troubleshooting)

  • January 15, 2021 at 3:11 am

    Hi there I have a 2001 Toyota Camry with an alarm system that I must lock and then unlock in order to get the car to start. I have replaced batteries in remotes and mechanic said it was my alarm system?.. How do I correct this
    Thank you in advance


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