1999 Honda Civic Won't start

I have a 1999 Honda Civic and it won’t start. When I turn the key there is no engine sound, all is quiet. We tried the jumper cables but no results. It had been in the garage since my husband passed away, I usually started it on the weekends but have not done so for a month or so. What can be the cause?

Correct me if I’m wrong . . . the engine is not turning over at all, not even trying to

First of all, make sure the battery cables and terminals are clean and tight

Second, fully charge or replace the battery

If you’re only going to charge, make sure it tests good afterwards. A bad battery will appear to take the charge, but will fall flat on its face when you ask it to do anything

Third, get your voltmeter and measure available voltage at the starter solenoid when you’re attempting to start the engine

If you’ve got 12V there when attempting to start, the starter needs to be replaced

If the battery is over 5 years old, get it over with and replace it now. It’s best days are in the past

Because you say “all is quiet”, when you turn the key…I’d say a dead battery or the terminals at the battery are too corroded to make good contact. This would also keep the jumpers from making good contact.
You may have left the dome light on last time you had it running. A totaly dead battery should not be jumped. Once you remove the jumpers the power surge from the charging system can do damage.

I’d find someone to put a charger on it after they have cleaned the battery posts and clamps, and retightened the cable connections. Then give it a try after 12 hours of charging.


Please accept my sympathies for the loss of your husband. Since you have been starting it on weekends, and skipped the last month, I will assume the car is not driven on the road. The engine needs to run for a while to charge the battery. It will discharge even sitting. Likely the battery is no longer any good. Do you have lights or does the radio work? Sometimes a completely discharged battery will not take a quick charge from jumper cables. Try to get a charger that you plug into the wall and leave it hooked up to the battery for a day, disconnect it then try to start it. Ask a friend or neighbor to help if you are not familiar with hooking this up. If the car then tries to start, the battery is your culprit. If you want to keep the car, replace the battery. AAA has a service where they will come to your car and replace it if you are a member (for a price). Otherwise ask a neighbor or friend who is familiar with cars to help out.

Thank you Steve and Yosemite, db4690. I took the battery to an Advanced Auto Parts and the battery only had 3v so it was the battery. It must have drained during the inactivity. thank you for your quick responses

If you’re still following this thread I might just add the following. A no-start or random dying can also be caused by a failing ignition switch even though that is not the cause of this particular incident.

This model is under a recall for faulty switches so you might call the local Honda dealer, provide the VIN, and they will tell you quickly whether it’s covered or not based on the VIN.
These recalls are free of charge so take advantage of them.

thank you ok4450.


Can we assume you’ve installed a new battery, and the car now starts?

Yes, that is correct. Thank you all for all the help. You are awesome! I know where to find my car help from now on.

@NCGator You’re welcome