'98 Honda Accord keeps dying on me

I have 1998 Honda Accord LX 4-door sedan with about 125k miles. Recently the engine has been dying on me when I am driving. I checked the battery, starter and alternator and they all appear to be fine. I also checked the three fuse boxes but don’t know if I have a blown fuse. I want to take it to the dealer to have a diagnostic but they charge $105 to just look at it and I’m unemployed and broke. Has anyone here had a similar problem and how was it resolved?

Has it been hot lately or very warm? These particular models have a main fuel relay that can have intermittent failure with temperature changes. It’s under the dash on the drivers side. It just plugs in. It can shut off the fuel supply without warning then suddenly start working again.

I live in Southern California. The problems started last month when it was raining. It has warmed up this week. I thought the problem might be electrical so I checked the fuses but didn’t really want to pull every one out and check to see if it was blown. I thought it might be the fuel pump or something like it. What does the fuel relay look like and is it something I can check for myself? Are you a Honda owner? Thanks for your reply. Much appreciated.

First, unless you have a recall or warranty issue there is no need to go to a dealer. You just need a good local mechanic (local = not a national chain place).

Second, is the check engine light on? If not, then there probably is no “diganostic” that will do anything other than make money for someone else. If the light IS on then you are somewhat unlucky to be in CA since I think it is the only state where you can’t get auto parts stores to pull error codes for free. But ask at a parts store - what is the easiest & cheapest way to just get your error codes? If you have them and get them do not listen to what anyone says - just write down the code and post it. (It will look like P0123)

Anyway - the engine dies and then what? You’re stuck and need a tow truck? Or you start right back up and go on your way? Or what? And if its anything but “starts right back up” please be as painfully descriptive as possible. No one here is there with you, and there is no one simple thing that could be going on. There is a long list and the more info the better.

I owned a Civic several years ago and had this problem with mine. You state that your problem started when it was raining. A common problem is bad spark plugs or coils when engines have a no start or run poorly. We need a little more info, as cigroller stated, to get to the real problem.

There are a number of things that could cause a problem like this. Some possibilities could be:

  1. Ignition switch. (common problem and may be under a Recall. Check with the dealer on this. Even if not covered under a Recall that could still be the problem as the same flaws affect many vehicles outside of the Recall VIN range)
  2. Main relay. (also a common problem)
  3. Failing fuel pump.
  4. Ignition module.

Numbers 1 through 3 are sort of intertwined in a way. Failing fuel pump (or clogged fuel filter) over time causes the pump to use more electrical current (heat) which means the main relay suffers more and since the ignition switch powers the main relay it also suffers.

For a free code scan drop by an AutoZone, Advance Auto, Checkers, or a similar outfit and have them check the car. It’s free and only takes a few minutes. This might at least weed out some things other than what I listed and give you a starting point.

Sometimes the check engine light comes on after the engine has died and sometimes I see the green car key light on. Everytime the engine has died, I am able to start the engine although sometimes it takes several attempts. It could be a bad spark plug since the problems started last month when we were having heavy rain. I don’t see any error code. Where would I see the error code? I’ll check with AutoZone. Thanks again everyone for your feedback. You guys are great.