2011 Honda Odyssey Intermittently Fails to STart

I have a problem with my 2011 Honda Odyssey intermittently failing to start. You turn the key and there are no sounds, but all dash lights come on, radio, etc. It started several years ago, but then it happened only a few times and then would start within 10 minutes. This winter it started happening more and more frequently and sometimes would take 2 hours to start. We took it to the dealer and they replaced the starter, but the problem continues to happen. We had maybe 2 weeks after the starter was replaced where it started every time, but now seems to be back to acting up frequently.

Some items of note:
It has never happened first thing in the morning. It seems to happen while running errands, or on a long trip and you stop for gas/coffee. Then it happened this weekend after the car had been parked for 1-2 hours.
The battery has been checked and is showing a full charge.
The car has 75k miles.
Shifting the car into neutral, reverse, etc. does not cause the car to start. Same with shaking steering wheel column, moving the steering wheel, or jiggling the key.
We have tried different keys (although, never the valet key)
It has happened in warm and cold weather
Dealer tried to blame remote start, but it happened before the remote start was installed, so don’t think this is the problem.
Calling the tow truck seems to get the car to start every time.

I took it to an independent shop after the dealer was unable to fix the problem. They weren’t able to diagnose the problem, because they couldn’t replicate the problem. I don’t want to replace the car, nor do I want to just start replacing things and hoping we hit on the problem.

Any thoughts? Ideas to request someone check?

Maybe a loose ground wire, the one from the negative battery post to the body.

Or,if you have an alarm system and immobilizes the car, I will look into it.

Maybe disable the remote start anyway, at least for now since it is just confounding the situation.

Neutral safety switch? Try to use jumper wires to bypass the switch. Just be aware that the car can start up in gear if you do that.

The first thing I would do, is to clean the battery terminals.

Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No Crank” situation. Even
if you have a new battery, if the connections are loose, dirty or corroded, you will not be
allowing the full flow of current to pass thru the connections. The connection may be
enough to turn on the lights, but not enough for the huge flow that is needed to operate the
starter. This is where many people say that they know the battery is good….”because the
lights come on”. This is no more a battery test than licking a 9volt battery. It only tells you that there is electricity…not how many volts or the amperage that flows from the battery.
Jump starting may have wiggled the terminal just enough to allow the current to pass and start the engine, but tomorrow you have the same problem.

First remove the cables from the battery and use a wire brush to remove any corrosion and dirt from the battery posts and the cable terminals. There is a tool with a round wire brush for this purpose, found at any auto parts store for less than $10 http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/kd-tools-terminal-battery-brush-kdt201/25980576-P?searchTerm=terminal+brush.
Before connecting the cables, apply a coating of di-electric grease to the battery posts this will keep oxygen away from the connection so that it will not corrode as fast.

It is just as important that the other end of the cables also have a clean connection. Remove the positive cable from the battery again so that you do not short anything out. Follow both cables to their far ends, remove this connection and wire brush the connection and the cable terminal clean and retighten these connections.

If there was work done recently, there may have been an “engine to body” ground that was not installed following the work. These grounds normally run from the rear of the engine to the firewall and are uninsulated and most are a braided wire. If any of these are found unattached…reattach them.
Remember….this is not a “Sherman Tank” don’t over tighten the connections.
Tight…tight………………too tight…broke!!!


Here is another nod to the neutral safety switch.

Thanks for the suggestions. Hoping to get the car to fail at the mechanic this week, if I can be so lucky. I’ll look to clean the battery connections too. The battery has been tested and comes back with a full charge, but connections could still be a problem. Seems this isn’t an uncommon problem with intermittent starting failure, but everyone has a different item that was the cause.

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I’m having this exact problem with my 2011. Did you ever figure out what it was?

My 2012 does it too. Acts like dead battery where solenoid clicks but no start. Jumps usually get it to start but not always. Battery is not unusually low. Just happened this week. Started, drove to end of driveway. Sat 5 minutes, go to start and nothing but clicks. Jumped and it started. Battery measured 12.75. Wouldn’t take charge either. No problems since. Something is marginal but haven’t had time to look further. Sounds like it might be common…

Van has 12k miles, always garaged and battery cables look showroom clean and tight.