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1989 Honda

I have a 1989 Honda Accord that I bought new and is the love of my life. In 2004, after waiting for years for Honda to make a 4 passenger convertible, I bought a new Toyota Solara convertible. I continued to drive the Accord until it became unreliable. The problem is that at times, for no apparent reason, it won’t start. I can drive it all day, stop for gas, and it won’t start. Or drive it for a week then decide to move it to clean the garage and it won’t start. There is no pattern to this. I’ve spend a fortune on it and don’t know what else to do. The Honda dealership charges $200 per diagnostic and they won’t guarantee how many diagnostics it will take to locate the problem. The car has 285,000 miles on it so it’s not worth much but I’m not ready to part with it. When it’s running, it still runs like a top. It has a 5 speed manual transmission that I love. I couldn’t get that in the Toyota so I need to drive the Accord occasionally to feel the thrill of “real” driving. I’ve taken it to 3 different mechanics and have had several “shade tree” guys look at it. The last one just tried to talk me into selling it to him (which makes me think it can be fixed) but I’m not ready to part with it. I want to get 300,000 out of it!

Any suggestions? I’d be eternally grateful.

Marilyn, Little Rock CPA

Has anyone replaced the main fuel pump relay? This is a common cause of starting issues on older Accords. The relay is under the dashboard, and on older cars cracks develop in the relay and sometimes the fuel pump gets no power.

Fuel pump no run, engine no start.

Sometimes the starting issues are temperature related, such as when you park the car outdoors on a sunny day and the interior gets hot, but the trouble can also be completely random.

Keep driving and let us know when you reach 300,000 miles!

I would agree that it may be the fuel pump relay. My brother has a 1987 Accord with some 300,000+ miles on it and it is still totally reliable, although showing some body rust.

Your Accored is the ideal winter beater, and the covertible a great summmer car.

So “won’t start” means what? Does the engine turn over? Does it just crank and crank or will it sputter? Can you hear the fuel pump running when you turn the key? When was your last tune up (plugs, rotor. wires)? Is this a DX (carb) or LX/EX fuel injected? I can probably help you here . . . my '89 Accord I also bought new and I currently have over 475,000 miles on it. I love this car also, won’t part with it. Is CPA Central Pennsylvania? I’m in the Poconos in PA and might be able to suggest another mechanic. Rocketmaan

Have you tried cleaning the battery lugs?