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Car won't crank at times

I have a 2003 Honda CRV, 100,000 miles. Recently when I tried to start the car, maybe one out of every 10 times, the starter will “growl” and then stop. After a few attempts, eventually it will be to make a turn or two and the car will start. The other 9 times the starter will crank right away and the car starts, no problem. My wife took the car to the dealer, they tested the battery, the alternator and the starter and said can’t find anything wrong. Charged $60 and sent my wife home. I did a test myself for battery (parasitic) drain and can’t find anything there neither. During the time when it was hard to crank, the battery measures 12.5 volts. Two days ago the starter was silent when I tried to start the car. Did not even “growl”. After ten attempts or so, I finally got it to turn and the car started. During this event, the battery measured 12.5 V and the head light was bright. Works fine since then for these last two days. Is there anything I should try before replacing the starter motor? (remember the dealer said the starter was good during the last visit) The motor costs about $1350 (parts and labor) to replace and I don’t want to waste that money. Thanks.

Sounds like a classic starter saying good-by, but $1300 !!! I just Googled 2003 Honda CR-V starter and got prices from $110 for a rebuilt to $295 for a new one.
You don’t need to go to a Honda dealer to get a starter put in.

Starter motor problems often occur when the starter and engine are cold making it impossible for the customer to drive into a shop and demonstrate the problem. It may be necessary to leave the vehicle overnight to verify the problem.

Your description of the problem suggest the solenoid contacts in the starter motor are worn but the price you were quoted is exessive. A new Honda starter is $800. and the labor is 2.1 hours, this doesn’t add up to $1350. A remanufactured starter is less than $300, inquirer at independent shops for a more reasonable price quote.

Ditto the above on the cost, that’s outrageous. It’s a fairly easy do it yourself job if you can turn a wrench.

I agree with all the above. DO NOT USE THE DEALER! There are many good mechanics that will not rip you a new one for a simple repair job. Especially on an 8 year old car with 100,000 miles. This is not a job only the dealer can handle.

Sounds like a classic “starter going out” scenario to me, and it also sounds like a “dealership wants this CR-V on their used car lot” scenario at the same time. The more stories I hear and read, the more I’m convinced that the service departments are on the lookout for good used car material and shoot a ridiculous estimate for simple repairs to try to get people to trade their cars in. I hope this is not so, but for them to quote you over $1300 to replace a starter sure makes it seem so. My quick parts look-up is showing a couple hundred bucks for a premium reman unit at the discount auto parts store, so list should be around $300 or so. At 2.1 hours labor as cited by Nevada_545, this should be a $500 job. For the record, my last reman starter lasted a little over seven years, or a little less than what you got out of your OEM unit, which is not bad.

Yeah, starter would be the first thing to check. I thought a solenoid would be cheap, but it’s more than a rebuilt starter at rockauto!