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Engine Start button intermittent fault

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Hi, can anyone offer any suggestions for what might be causing the engine start button to occasionally do nothing! 

My parents have a Corolla Verso 1.8 VVT, and have this issue where sometime they press the start button and nothing happens - sometimes pressing again immediately is fine, but other times takes much longer and they can be stranded for up to an hour.  It can happens using either key fob, both of which have had their batteries changed.  They called an auto-electrician who said he could only diagnose it if it actually failed while he was there, but the likelihood of getting that to happen is almost impossible.

Any advice gratefully received!

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Check out what colour the start button is when the fault is present (assumng it changes colour according to status). If the button colour says the car is ready to start then I'd suspect the button, but if the button is another colour I'd start looking for what other components complete the criteria... like "clutch is pressed" sensors etc.

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Thanks, that's very useful - the button does have a light, so now just need to wait for the problem to happen again so they can see if its any different. 

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I don't have a push button start Toyota at the moment but I'm pretty sure the button goes green if it's ready to start, amber if it's in accessory mode, and red if it's in 'ignition on but not ready to start for some reason' mode.

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Apparently when key goes in slot and clutch is depressed, a green light comes on - when clutch not depressed and button is pushed a red light comes on.  So I guess that is what is supposed to do normally and we just need to see what colour it is next time it won't start even when clutch is depressed.

Thanks.

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So the problem happened again, and when it didn't start, the light was amber - sounds like that means the button itself is OK, so must be something else.  I guess I need to find out what's next in line - do you think a code reader would pick up an error code from the ECU?

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Isn't it supposed to be green to start? 

Edit... I doubt a code reader would help.

Another edit (a while later)... The other criteria is the clutch being pressed.  Have you tried pressing it multiple times or pressing it hard into the floor etc when the fault is present?  Maybe the switch is temperamental?  On a Ssangyong I once owned you could cheat the clutch switch, but I can't remember whether it needed an open or closed circuit.  It was a simple two-wire setup - if yours is similar could you unplug it and check with a multimeter?

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Hi, under normal circumstances, it is red without clutch pressed, and green when it is depressed - but when this non-starting problem occurs, it changes to an amber light.

Unfortunately I can't do anything to check things myself - it's my parents car and they are 400 miles away!! I got them to call an auto electrician who said he could only check it if it actually failed while he was there, which would be virtually impossible to make happen as it usually clears shortly afterwards.

I'll ask them to try doing the clutch multiple times though - thanks for your help😀

 

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just a thought but my Avensis (with push to start) won't start with the steering lock on - it will however flash a message saying "steering lock engaged" or something of that nature. It couldn't be that could it?

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There's different settings on the auto start, think of it like using a key. The following is without pressing the clutch:

1st press - puts on 'accessory mode' and the light should go amber (the radio will come on).

2nd press - puts on 'ignition mode' and the light should go red ( the dash warning lights etc will come on).

3rd press - switches everything back off but I can't remember what the button colour does (maybe others could confirm?).

 

But if you do press the clutch: the button goes green and skips the amber and red stage, and allows you to start it straight away.

 

Therefore, if yours is changing to amber (as you say), it's suggesting that the ignition isn't switched on.  If it's going red then the ignition is on but another criteria isn't being met, ie maybe the clutch sensor.

 

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