1999 honda civic shut off issue

I have a 1999 honda civic that has had an issue with randomly shutting off lately. It always happens within a minute of me turning the car on and I usually have to wait several minutes before the car will crank again. When it does the engine shuts off and all lights immediately go off. Once I finally do get the car to crank its hit or miss if it will stay running, but if it makes it through the first minute or so its usually golden. Its like it has to have a perfect connection or something or it wont stay on. Trying to troubleshoot it but I’ve got no ideas. The only suggestion ive had from someone is possibly the ignition being bad. Any help would be appreciated!

I’d start by checking the battery connections. Make sure they are secure. It might help to clean the battery terminals.

Battery connections and terminals seem to be fine. Any other possibilities not related to the battery?

By “all lights immediately go off” do you mean the various indicator lights on the dashboard? Do the headlights and brake lights still work brightly? If yes to both, it sounds like an ignition switch failure.

Offhand, it sounds like the ignition switch is failing. Your model car is under a Recall for the ignition switch so you might consider calling the local Honda dealer and verifying your car is covered by providing the VIN to them.
The symptoms are no-starts, intermittent stalling, etc.

If the Recall has never been performed in the past you can get a new switch installed free of charge. I would also recommend that any outstanding Recalls related to other areas be done at the same time.

I concur with the ignition switch being the most likely cause. One thing the OP could try is remove the key and use it alone, with nothing dangling on the key ring. Sometimes the add’l weight on the key chain will trigger this. & if it fixes the problem you know you need a new ignition switch installed.

Yeah I took all weight off my keychain last week and just leave the key in the ignition now.

Assuming it is the ignition, what kinda of price range would a replacement be and how in depth is the installation of the new one? Im all about saving money on labor so I usually get a family member to help with repairs. He recently changed the head gasket which I know is not an easy repair, so could he more than likely deal with this with pretty standard tools and stuff?

Thanks for everyones help

If you refer back to my post you may note that your car is under a Recall for the ignition switch and if that Recall has never been done then it’s a total freebie at any Honda dealer.
If any Honda dealer service departments in your area are open tomorrow just give them a call with the VIN and they will let you know in a minute.

There are no number of owner, time, or mileage limits on Recalls.

I’ll do that tomorrow. Thanks a lot for the advice.

Let us know how it goes. Hopefully the ignition switch recall will fix your problem for free.

Assuming you have a conventional ignition switch (not an electronic FOB type), replacing means you need something that looks like this. Around $80 from what the Rock Auto catalog says.


I’d guess it would take around 2-3 hours of labor to install, so add another $200 to $300. If you are quoted above $500, that’s probably too much so shop around some more, unless they are doing something else besides replacing the ignition switch.

As posted above, if the dealership will do it as part of a recall, that’s probably the best way to go.

btw, there’s no way to determine the ignition switch is the actual problem without add’l shop diagnostics. Without those, it’s possible you may replace the ignition switch and continue to have the problem.

i’ve had the same issue on my honda civic 1999 and the answer is a faulty ignition switch…part + labor was ruffly $180 dollars…i believe the part cost little over hundred dollars…no more shutting down issues ever since…the dealership that looked up my vin number denied any recalls were issued by they are not truthful.

You can quickly and easily determine if it is indeed the ignition switch…Sure it could be…However my money is on the PGM/FI Main Relay. Do some fiddling with the ignititon switch to see if you can get it to screw up…of course its possible…However MUCH MUCH MORE LIKELY IS THE MAIN RELAY…

ITS THE PGM/Fi MAIN RELAY LOCATED UP UNDER THE DRIVERS SIDE KICK PANEL…Should be brown in color. SUPER EXTREMELY COMMON ISSUE…That for some reason all these years later people still somehow DO NOT KNOW ABOUT. Since they dont know about it…they go about fixing it in the sillyest manner possible…By looking at the coil…the distributor…and all other electrical components.

The main clue you gave was that all lights went out.

Its the “PGF/FI MAIN RELAY” Remove the plastic guard at the drivers Knees…The relay is up and to the left…usually Brown or Grey in color…about 3x3 in Rectangular…Held in place with one 10mm bolt.

I sound pretty confident huh? Why? I’ve diagnosed and repaired over 50 of these…same thing everytime. Its either the main relay…or the distributor… and in this case it is NOT your Distributor…the Distributor wont cause your lights to go out…That Relay…WILL. Honestly its about the ONLY TWO Issues Civics really have in life. This repair has become so commonplace for me I can do it with my eyes closed…and have the vehicle running in under 5 minutes.

In fact it is SO common I keep one KNOWN GOOD Relay on me at all times for Roadside diagnosis and or repair…and Several Known Goods on hand in my shop…

Honda’s are a bit more than just a passing hobby with me. Please replace the relay, smile and go driving again. You can look up the EXACT details on where this relay is located and how to basically plug n play the thing and keep on motoring. Details are ALL OVER the internet by now…Its just too common of an issue with these ROCK SOLID Vehicles.

Let us know how you make out