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2012 Honda Odyssey - Starting issues

12 Odyssey will not start ONLY the first time when it is below 32. The second time starts right up.

Is a test worth it?
Will a plug test tell me what might need attention? 200 test at Honda dealership.

What is a “plug test”? And yes, you should expect to pay the shop for the diagnostic time required to find the problem. And yes, it is “worth it”

But, you don’t need the dealer for this. Find a good local independent shop. They should be cheaper.

You warranty period is over. Find a good independent shop. Not a chain shop like Pep Boys, Midas,
etc., Independent is the word.


This problem seems predictable.

Instead of trying to start the engine the first time when it’s below 32 degrees, turn the ignition on so the dash lights on for two seconds, and turn the ignition off. Repeat this a couple times and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts right up, the anti drain-back valve on the fuel pump assembly is being effected by the cold temperatures.



I agree with Tester. It’s called the “key dance.” You are turning on the fuel pump several times before you turn the key all the way to Start. With fuel and fuel pressure built up by the key dance, the engine may start right up. Has worked on my 1999 Honda for more than a decade.

It depends on what you mean by “not start”? Does it crank ok, that rrr rrr rrr sound, but won’t catch and run. Or is this a fails to crank problem? i.e. you don’t hear that rrr rrr rrr sound, you hear nothing, or maybe you just hear a click noise.

Good point above. If the starter is not running reliably the problem is not gonna be solved by the key dance - unless the problem is intermittent connectivity in the ignition switch, which is not unheard of. A weak battery or poor connections to it and the starter motor can also cause a sometimes no-crank. So can the solenoid on the starter.

Thank you very much for your help! It turns out not ALL starters are created equal. We should have

chosen a honda brand denso starter. We did not. The quality build of other is the issue.

Happy Holidays feom my entire family!!


My Honda and my Chrysler minivans have Denso starters. The Honda’s has worked since 1999; one on my first minivan was intermittent after maybe 7 years. The problem is probably the contacts inside the solenoid - they wear and burn. The contacts can be replaced fairly easily and cheaply (I’ve done it on an old Toyota or two), but it’s faster to put on a new or refurbished and tested starter and send the questionable one away. And aftermarket and refurbished starters can be unreliable, too. I would trust Honda to get it right but might have to get philosophical about the cost.

Good luck and please let us know if the new genuine starter has taken care of the issue.

About 8 months ago I had the same problem, the parts store gave me a non-Denso replacement starter for my Corolla, and it didn’t work at all. Right of the box, fail. I could hear it spinning, but it wasn’t engaging with the flywheel for some reason. I took it back and traded it for a Denso unit, which worked on the first try after installation, and still working fine. The Denso unit was only slightly more expensive than the first one, and I would have gotten it the first time but they didn’t have it in stock at the time. .

Glad you are back on the road with a odyssey that cranks right up each and every time. Best of luck.

8 months ago you stated that you had your starter repaired for $10 at an auto-electric shop, “fixed the problem straight away”. How many starters can you fit onto a 1992 Corolla?

I did, but that $10 repair didn’t happen 8 months ago. More like 4-6 years ago. My most recent starter problem required installation of a replacement starter. Pretty sure the armature contacts were the problem, not the solenoid contacts. I still have the old one, gonna take it apart one day to see. The starter has definitely been the most problematic part on this Corolla. Quite a few problems with the cranking function over the years. But it’s working well now, knock on wood … :wink: