2001 honda accord - won't start, banging sound

my wife tried to start her honda accord this morning. she said it wouldn’t start, but sounded like it might be a dead battery. this would be fine except she added that when she tried to start it, there was a shaking in the engine and a banging sound almost like someone banging on the hood. Whats the problem? it started up just fine yesterday and we have never had engine problems with it!

How many miles on it? When was the last time you had the timing belt changed?


original timing belt was changed at ~79,000. I was going to change plugs, wires, timing belt and water pump at 150,000. could this be the belt already? it was the first thing i thought of when my wife said a banging sounds, but i’m not the most car knowledgeable person either…

OK, so the new belt has 62k miles on it. Usually they’re good for 100k+ miles, so it’s unlikely the belt wore out on its own. More likely would be something like a seized water pump or a broken/loose belt tensioner that caused the belt to break some teeth or slip.

If the belt has slipped or broken, the banging sound was the pistons hitting the valves, = serious damage.

will it hurt for me to try to start it in order to get a idea of what it is or should be just go ahead and have it towed? my wife wouldn’t know what to look for, but I would be able to look over the s-belt and all to see what the issue is. She was going to call roadside to jumpstart her car, but i should probably call and tell her to cancel it as it seems the battery might not be the issue. But from what you’ve said, is it probable that we’re going to need to replace the timing belt if something has seized or a tensioner has broken?

It sounds bad enough that it could be a broken/slipped timing belt, in which case, the more you crank the engine, the more internal damage you will do. It’s possible that it’s not the timing belt, but I wouldn’t risk cranking the engine any further until a mechanic has looked at it. Looking at the s-belt won’t help. Someone will have to remove the valve cover and the timing belt cover to inspect the timing belt. I’d have it towed to a trusted mechanic.

If the timing belt has slipped/broken, then the pistons have probably bent some valve(s), and the head will have to be rebuilt or replaced.

so what kind of damange on my wallet are we talking assuming worst case scenario? (ie. water pump, head, valves, belt and etc. - this is in wisconsin mind you) this car other than this incident has been a great car and we were planning on keeping it when we bought a new car sometime later this year…is it worth fixing it and keeping it? our other car is a 2003 malibu that always seems to have problems. I figure the honda would outlive the malibu 2:1…

Well, let’s not jump the gun. First find out what’s wrong. Reports of car noise from third parties are notoriously difficult to diagnose. I’m hoping for your sake that it’s not as bad as it sounds.

If it is, in fact, a broken/jumped timing belt, then the valve(s) have likely been bent, and you’re probably looking at a couple thousand $$ repair job. But get it diagnosed first, before you start worrying fruitlessly over what to do. You can’t solve a problem until you know what the problem is.

had the car checked out today…diagnosis: flooded engine. mechanic wasn’t totally sure what happened after looking it over, although he thought the PCV valve could be the problem since it looked like it needed replaced. He cleaned it up and dried it out and runs perfectly fine again. total cost = $75

So much for the “banging on the hood” noise…

Yeah,I believe she may have overblown that somewhat…

A bad PCV valve isn’t going to flood an engine. So there is still something to be sorted out. Maybe now would be a good time to at least check out those spark plugs. Perhaps the noise was detonation.