Jim Grant's Tech Tips |
‘98 Toyota 4-Runner, Morning Sickness
Q: I am having starting trouble with my ‘98 Toyota 4-Runner. I just had the battery replaced, timing belt done and ignition switch changed and I still cannot figure out why it is having trouble starting. There are times that it will start right away and times that I will get just clicking. I can put it on a battery booster set on start and it will start right up. Once started that day it will continue to start but by the next morning, it happens again. I'm in the dark. Thanks for any help!!
A: The next time you park your vehicle for the night, be sure to walk around the back of the vehicle for a quick look. Why is that? Iím convinced that something is staying on and draining your battery. When a customer has a tired battery, it is not uncommon for it to cause a hard start, (slow cranking speed or cause the starter solenoid to click or buzz). If battery booster cables or a booster pack bring that starter to life then the battery is a concern. But, in your case you have a new battery in the vehicle and yet the problem still occurs after setting overnight. Unless you got a defective battery, believe me it happens, then itís likely that there is something draining the battery down. So why walk around to the rear of the vehicle when you park it at night? Itís just an easy check to see if the brake lights are on. A sticking or out of adjustment stop light switch can cause the brake lights to stay on when they shouldnít. Now itís up to you. I have a hard time suggesting to anyone investigating this problem themselves. If you want to do your on investigation be sure you wear the correct safety equipment and understand how to safely handle a battery and the related electrical connections and components. You wonít be saving yourself any money if you get a wrench across the wrong connection and send sparks flying. Theyíll just be sending a wrecker or worse yet an ambulance for you or your vehicle. A repair facility, if theyíre worth their wrench set will have a meter that can be connected into the electrical system that will monitor electrical current draw. If there is some accessory or relay that is sticking on after the vehicle is turned off, causing the battery to go nearly dead over night, this meter will nail it down to the milliamp. They can also tell you if a defective battery was bolted into your vehicle. Information is all youíll need to get out of the dark on this one.