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For about a month now my RAV4 is having problems starting. At random times it will click once when I turn the key. Sometimes it starts on the 1st try, other times it takes 3, 4 or more times to engage the starter. I checked the battery myself and even took it to the local AutoZone to have the charging system checked out. The charging system checked fine. I'm thinking the starter is going bad. I checked on-line and they cost about $150. Does anybody have an idea before I plunk down the cash for a new starter?
 

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Sounds like your starter solenoid is sticking. You can pull it out and have it checked.

For some insurance bring a hammer or pipe with you in the RAV as tapping the starter with it when it's not engaging can trigger the solenoid to engage and get you on your way.
 
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Sounds exactly like a bad starter. Could be a sticking solenoid, but usually coils going bad. Each time you turn the key the inrush current "nudges" the motor a bit. It starts when it gets to a "good" spot. The number of tries usually depends on how far it last stopped from a "good" spot. If that's the case, replace it before you get stuck! It will only get worse, the part's not that expensive, and I don't think those multiple tries are good for the system.
BTW, is there a thread on this replacement? I had to do it for one of my cars last year (the Geo Prizm, I think), but couldn't access the starter without going way up from underneath. I didn't realize this until I set aside a day to do it! I had a Meineke do it since I don't have lifts, or a garage to work in. It wouldn't surprise me if I'll need this on my RAV at some point.
Wouldn't it be great if people posted whole DIY videos on this sort of thing (see the thread about the Google Video Beta)?!?! Actually, I'm a little surprised that say, Haynes, doesn't do this sort of thing on either DVD or as a subscription to a web-site. So, for example, you'd buy the Haynes manual, but if you wanted a more detailed "how-to," you could go to their web-site and buy a specific repair video, like trouble-shooting, replacing, testing a starter.
Todd
 

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Changing the starter on a Toyota is pretty simple. You just have to take out the air filter and box. Then you should be able to get to it pretty easily. I think its only held on by a couple of bolts. I changed it on my old camry and the setup is similar on the RAV. Not difficult at all. BTW, you'll be working in the engine bay, not underneath, unless it may be easier for you.(not sure why that would be) :wink:
 
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