2002 Honda CRV starting problem

After the CRV has been idle overnight, when I turn the key to start the car, NO sound comes from the starter – not a pop, not a clunk, not a whir, not a wheeze. All the interior electricals work fine (radio, dashboard lights, etc.). If I repeat the process 3 or 4 (or 5 of 6) times with increasing panic, I sometimes hear a fizzing sound (sort of like frying bacon) for half a second before the starter engages and the engine turns over. Naturally, I can’t reproduce the problem at the dealer, who rightly doesn’t want to commit to any repairs (especially after the dealership dropped a screw into the engine at 35K miles and had to buy us a new motor!). Other CRV owners appear to have encountered this problem, but the on-line forums are sickeningly devoid of answers. Tracing the problem from ignition switch to starter, what is the likelihood that this is a defective relay in the ignition switch? A defective relay somewhere else? A defective starter solenoid? Or just a worn out starter? Any suggestions about how to make the diagnosis? We’d sort of like to fix this problem before driving from Northern California to Victoria, BC this winter.


How old is the battery?

Are the battery cable connections clean and tight? CLEAN and TIGHT!

There is no relay in the ignition switch. Any and all relays are downstream from the ignition switch.

Components in question can be tested. There’s no reason to guess about what might be faulty.

If you lack the knowledge and equipment to test components, which most of us do, I suggest you take your vehicle to an independent mechanic or a Honda dealer (your choice) for diagnosis and repair.

We, our here in cyberspace, have no way to do the testing required to determine what’s wrong with your CR-V.

Good luck.

Throwing ideas out there - how many keys do you have on your keychain? Just guessing (mcparadise is correct) my first suspect would be a the ignition itself. Wiggle the keys (gently) and see if that makes any difference on a consistent basis.

Heavy keychains can add extra wear on them, and I have had two cars (1991 Cavalier, 1993 Escort) both have them go out, and a 1976 Maverick where the ignition was so sloppy you could remove the key while the car was running…

Hondas are notorious for bad starter relays. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace.