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1998 HONDA CIVIC LX starts but cuts out quickly

1998 HONDA CIVIC LX starts but cuts out quickly (1 or 2 seconds). Will start after about 10-15 tries. Once started it will not idle until warmed up a bit. Mechanic took a quick look and said it was an electronic problem

Did this mechanic give you any indication of which “electronic” component he suspected?

This could be as simple as a bad coolant temp sender. Does the car run well once it warms up?

I think it’s time for a new mechanic.

To his defense this was just a favor. He didn’t have any electronic diagnostic widgets to help so he didn’t mention what electronic it could be. He just tested the fuel and mechanical stuff. When the car is warm it drives just fine. Is there a way to easily test a “coolant test sender”?

I should also add that once I turn off the car and even though its warm it will behave the same bad way.

If it is hard to start when warm I’m going to back away from the coolant temperature sender idea, although it’s worth testing it anyway.

How many miles on the car, is it an automatic or manual, and is all maintenance (spark plugs, fuel and air filter, etc) up to date?

Is the Check Engine Light on, by any chance?

Its manual 5 gear with about 98000 miles. The engine light does not come on. I was talking to an other mechanic over the phone and he said it might be the ignition switch. He said these honda’s ignition switchs were prone to going bad. He suggested that I hold the switch to the start position to see if it will start. I tried it and what do you know! It did start!

Note: There is a recall for the ignition switch

Recall ID # 02V120000 - ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:IGNITION:SWITCH Recall Date: MAY 16, 2002
Component: ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:IGNITION:SWITCH
Model Affected: CIVIC
Units Affected: 1000000 Recall Details

That does seem like a bad ignition switch. Time-wise (number of years and months) you may still be able to take advantage of the recall. Check with Honda America, or the Honda dealer. Have your VIN number when you call.

When I talked to honda they looked up the vin number and said that the car had not yet taken advantage of the recall and therefore was elegible.