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2002 Acura only starts in neutral

Sometimes my 2002 Acura RL will start right up. I go shopping, come out a half hour later and it won’t start. Has a new battery, no clicking noises. If I get it into neutral and push it the car will start. Would this be the starter motor, fuel lines, alternator? any guesses?

Manual or automatic transmission?


You push the car, get it rolling, and then put it in gear to complete the push start? Your problem may be as simple as loose or dirty battery connections. Start there. But prepare yourself for replacing the starter.

@Tester, automatic only for RL.

You have a bad neutral safety switch. When the neutral position fails you will not be able to start the vehicle. Common problem on both domestic and import model vehicles.

You could clarify the thing about pushing it since, with a car in neutral, that does nothing.

With an automatic transmission, if you turn the key and get nothing, and then put it in neutral and then the car starts normally, that typically means you need a new neutral safety switch (or equivalent).

Hi again, it is an automatic and one guy did tell me it was probably the RELAY FUSE, is that the same as a safety switch? Lisa

No. A relay fuse isn’t a neutral safety switch, and at the moment I’m having trouble figuring out what relay or fuse problem would go with these symptoms.