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2010 Honda Civic LX Intermittent starting issues

Ok so let me just start by saying im at the end of my tether on this one. I have a 2010 Honda Civic LX 176,xxx miles on it. I go out to car, starts right up. I take a drive somewhere, like the dentist today, im in there for about an hour. I come out to go home, and my car doesn’t start. All lights come on, dash lights on, fan works, all electronics. Turn the key, no crank, no click, no noise at all. So far ive changed the battery because my other one was tested and it was crappy, and i took it to the dealer to get a new key programmed because i thought it was a security system issue because i didn’t have a key fob for a long time. So I call for roadside assistance, I walk to meet someone to take me home, i come back about 10-20 minutes later, turn the key, car starts right up. Starter cranks fine, doesnt have a weak start, no issues at all after i waited. This is NOT the first time this has happened as well, this has happened to me and my girlfriend on at least 6 different occasions now. Everytime we try something and we think the car is fixed, it does it again and leaves us looking like idiots. I have no idea what it could be at this point. I dont think its the starter because it cranks very well when it starts, i read that if it were an ignition switch the car would stall (which it doesnt, once it starts, it runs perfectly fine, no bogging, power is there), and it cant be the key fob missing because i just got a new one programmed. Has anyone else ever experienced this problem? What did you do to fix it? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

If the vehicle has an automatic transmission, and the next time it won’t start, with the dash lights on, step on the brake pedal and shift the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts, it points to a problem with the park/neutral- transmission range switch.


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Ive tried this. This happened to me once when i had it on a car lift. When we brought the car down, it was in neutral and didn’t start. I placed it in park, also didnt start. And on this particular occasion. same deal, we just waited and kept trying and eventually it started.

I will say however, what the car is doing is definitely consistent with what would happen if you tried to start the car while it was in something besides neutral or park. So maybe that is the issue?

Do the dash lights come on when you try to start the vehicle?


Yes they do, all electronics work when trying to start the car.

The switch is made of plastic and sits on top of the transaxle where it’s exposed to under hood heat.,2010,civic,1.8l+l4,1444952,electrical-switch+&+relay,neutral+safety+switch+/+range+sensor,4584

What I would try is, locate the wires in the switch that allows the starter to operate. And install a jumper wire back probed into the connector to the switch. But leave one end unconnected.

Then when the starter doesn’t operate, get out and connect the jumper wire to see if the starter operates. if it does, you know it’s the switch.

Ask a shop to set this up for you, and where to plug the jumper wire in.


If the standard test for the neutral safety switch doesn’t provide a clue, and the battery is known good and the connections clean, a voltage test made while trying to crank the engine is the best way to get to the bottom of this. There’s two electrical terminals on the starter motor. Both should measure 10.5 volts or more during attempted cranking. If both do, and it doesn’t crank, replace the starter. If one or the other doesn’t, work backwards towards the battery to find out why. Starter motors can fail in a way that’s heat sensitive, so that’s one theory why it might crank robustly cold, but not crank when hot. Ignition switch and security system problems are another common reason for this, which the voltage test above will show up.

The voltage test above is sort of hard to do for a driveway diy’er , especially without a helper; easiest done by hiring a shop to do it for you. Then post the results here.

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Update guys. I changed the P/N switch (Range Sensor). Still same problem. I started the car and left it run awhile. Turned it off, left it alone for 5 minutes. Turned the key. No start no Crank. However, with the hood open, I CAN hear the relays clicking. So I would think that is a good sign the relays are good. Now I’m guessing it’s the starter, but I don’t understand why the starting problems would be so intermittent. And this has been going on for literally 4 months now.

What else could be left besides starter, Main relay, ignition switch?

On the side of the starter motor is the starter solenoid. When you turn the key to Start a plunger slides toward a pair of copper contacts. A metal disc on the end of the plunger should then bridge the contacts, completing the circuit to the starter motor so it spins. The contacts and the disc get burned away or the plunger can’t move quite far enough any more, so the circuit doesn’t get completed. It’s not an uncommon problem.

Depending on how DIY you are, you could remove the starter and dig into the solenoid, or take it to an auto electric shop. They’ll know what to do and can probably fix it and test it and make sure it’s working…

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The starter is internally configured sort of like a slot machine. Each time you use it, it rotates, and then leaves itself in another configuration. Some configurations – due to high resistance connections – prevent it from cranking the next time. Temperature can also play a role, as the parts contract with lower temperatures and that can result in higher resistances. Same goes with the battery. Presuming you don’t want to do a proper diagnosis, if you replace both the battery and starter motor good chance you’ll have it fixed.

Well… we’ve been trying to do a proper diagnosis. The problem is that every time we attempt to run a test on the car. It starts. It’s been an ongoing problem. It’s literally like the car is playing games with me. It’s easily the most frustrating problem I’ve ever had with a car. And the battery has been replaced already and the battery wire. (The positive one, I forget if the negative one was, but I don’t think that’s the issue, I noticed you can hear the relays clicking under the hood when you hit the key so that leads me to believe it’s not the ignition).

Failure to start because of worn starter solenoid contacts is a rather common problem, much more common than a range sensor failure. Plan to replace the starter.

Here’s an update for you guys.

Car now has:

New Battery
New Starter
New P/N switch
New battery wires
New Key FOB

…and it STILL has this problem.
The problem seems to arise when I have the car running for a good period of time and it’s at full temperature for quite some time. Runs fine the entire time. Turn key off after it’s been hot. Try it again, no crank. BUT LET ME ADD, WE HAVE ALSO HAD THIS ISSUE WHILE IT HAS BEEN SITTING TOTALY COLD AS WELL. It just seems it happens more often when hot. I read something about running the car at 2500 rpm for 20 minutes to heat it up and then listening for the fuel pump. If you can’t hear the fuel pump, it’s a main relay. I have also read something about heat soak to the starter. But I doubt this is the issue, I never had this problem in the past and as I said, it’s done this from a cold start in the past as well.

Now I’m thinking it’s the main relay.

I also realized today that my GPS with starter Interruptor is still on this car. (It was a bhph). But I also doubt This is causing the issue, because I’ve never made a late payment. The car has been paid off since February, and this started happening in summer 2018 around June I believe.

What do you guys think? Any input is appreciated.

This is your first mention of that component and its possible role. I’d say it’s now the prime suspect.

The main relay, as I understand it, can keep the fuel pump from running, but has no role in a no-crank scenario.

Why not have the Buy here Pay here place remove that piece of equipment .

Im going to. It’s free so why not give it a try.

I’ve also come across this in further reading. That the main relay wouldn’t cause a no crank situation.

Is this still a problem? Testers Oct 24 jumper wire (aka remote starter switch) suggestion is worth trying - we did this with a son’s car with a similar intermittent problem, routed wires to the glove box for the occasional time it occurred until the problem became regular (it stopped happening). With these wires you also can use a meter or test light to determine whether the start command is getting this far. It’s possible for the ignition switch starting contacts to fail resulting in no cranking while its main electrical contacts still work.

hmm … new battery, starter, safety switch, battery wires, key fob and it won’t crank reliably? that’s a tough one. You may have an intermittent connection somewhere, either in the wiring going to the starter, or in the ground path between the battery and chassis or the engine and the chassis. take a look at the CV boots. do they look heat damaged at all? if so that’s an indication of a ground problem between the engine and the chassis. It’s also possible of course the new starter, battery etc are faulty. I’ve had two replacement starters fail right out of the box myself.

If it only occurred with a hot engine, I’d suspect the starter was overheating b/c of a missing heat shield somewhere, but you say this happens on a cold engine too somethings, so that’s not likely the cause.

hmm … I expect the only way you’ll get to the bottom of it at this point is to ask your shop to connect up some test leads and run them into the passenger compartment connected to an analog dial-type volt meter so you can read what the two voltages are (that I mentioned above) when this happens.

Edit: fyi, the way cranking system works on the 1.8L engine is roughly thus :

The thick wire from the battery to the starter goes through two fuses, a 50 amp and a 100 amp, and an ELD unit. The thin wire to the starter starts at the battery, through an under-dash fuse relay box, through the ignition switch, and finally through a starter cutout relay. The starter cutout relay is connected by c101 junction connector, the trans range switch, a thermal joint, and a ground point. If you have a remote starting system, electronic key switch, and that sort of stuff, that could all be involved also. It isn’t clear from the diagrams where the source of power to the starter cutout relay comes from. It may come via another relay, don’t know. … a futher looks see seems to show the main relay isn’t involved with the cranking function, except to the extent it might affect the electronic gizmos used w/ remote start, theft prevention systems etc.

That sounds like the source of the problem.