1997 Honda Accord LX not starting after filling up Gas


My Name is Vijay Rao from Jacksonville, FL and I have 1997 Honda Accord LX with 172000 miles on it. Recently (On Dec27th 2010) after I filled the car with tank of gas, when I tried to start the car, it just died not did not had any power. I thought the battery might be dead. So, I changed the battery with new one and it started and ran fine with no issues for two weeks until I needed to fill the gas again on Jan 6th 2011. after I filled the car with fulltank of gas, when I tried to start the car, it just died again not did not had any power. This time it had week old battery. I asked the tire change place to help me with jumping car, the guy who was helping me just connected the jumper cables and sparked them check if the battery is good? all of sudden, the car had power back, light’s are on and I was able to start the car without jumping it. Since then I am really concerned to get the gas to my car, worried it might die again at the pump.!!

Could you please help me to diagnose the problem? as what might be causing this problem> Is this going to cost too much? My wife is worried about me and she started shopping for new car!! I really like my car and want to keep it as long as possible. Any help??


You have a loose electrical connection somewhere. Both ends of both battery cables would be good places to check first. It is almost certainly not directly related to filling with gasoline.

I hope that the guy "sparking" the cable is ready to pay for repairs, as using that trick on a newer model car can cause damage.  I don't think it is much of a problem with a 1997 model however.

“Sparking the jumper cables” is not a legitimate battery test. It is, however, a good way to make a battery explode or cause damage to the car’s electrical system.

Don’t let that guy near your car anymore.

It sounds to me like a loose electrical connection somewhere. Battery cables, maybe. Who installed the new battery? Did they check the connections at the other end of the cables?

Sometimes a problem with the evaporative emissions control system can cause starting difficulties after a fill-up, but when that happens the engine cranks over just fine, it just won’t start. And usually it will also trigger the Check Engine Light. You didn’t say the light was on.

Your description sounds like the engine won’t crank over, which is electrical, not fuel related.

Please correct me if I got the wrong impression.

You are correct. There was no eletricity to entire car. No lights, no horn, no radio and no click or clack int eh ignition key. None. It seems like loose wire connections, but it never happens om normal day. It happnes only when I fill up the tank with gas. It happened twice at the pump after filling the gas. I will get the electrical connections checked.
Thanks for your response.

I did notice one end of the battery cable was loose. I tightned it for time. I think I need to replace the ends of the cable with new ones since it is 13 years old.
Thanks for your reply

I agree it was not a good idea to spark the battery cables. Luckily nothing happened to car electrical system. I guess it would be a problem in most recent models which have more computer controlled parts then 1997 model…!!