Won't start without starting fluid

2005 Corolla LE, 168k miles, auto, well taken care of vehicle.
I've had this vehicle since new and have never had any issues.
About a week ago, it refused to start when cold but would still crank no problem.
I eventually stopped by a parts store and picked up some starting fluid and the car will start and run/drive perfect with it.
If I drove the vehicle and it was up to temp, it would start back up without fluid as well.
After 3-4 times going back and forth to work, it got to where it wouldn't start with starting fluid.
I then replaced the fuel pump with a Denso one and had to spray starting fluid in it to start but could've been due to the lack of pressure and new pump having to fill.
I turned the car off immediate and it would start again so I thought it was finally fixed, it took less cranks than normal to start as well.
Today, I'm back to the same cold start issue and not sure what to try next.
The car is picking up the immobilizer signal from key since when I put it in the ignition, the flashing security light turns off.
It sounds like something is keeping the car from spraying fuel during cranks but once started, it feeds fuel.
Has anyone else had this issue or have any ideas what could be causing it?
My 2-Cents:

It can’t be a bad spark plug or fail ignition coil. If one of those fail, you would know.

Try these -
Get your battery and alternator tested.
Clean your battery terminal.
Clean your MAF senor.
Replace your PCV valve.
Take the time to check your fuses (check fuel’s fuses).

Get a code reader and scan your Corolla for Codes.

This gen corolla is very picky, if you unhook the battery. You will need to give time for the ECU to relearn it’s setting.


New Member
There is a relay that will prevent the car from starting, is very simple fix and I would try to replace it first to see if that's the problem, a relay is a simple electronic switch that turns on the pump, and other electronics, it happen to me while messing around with the car, that may be the cause, no sure which relay but there is a box of fuses and relays by the engine in the driver side.