Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Doesn't start..sometimes

While off on vacation, dtr left car with me: 2001 Civic, 130K, manual. Tried to start after week; total silence. After 3 tries, called AAA, expecting to replace battery. AAA arrives; car starts as I sit red-faced behind the wheel. AAA checks battery & all electical - all fine.

AAA leaves. Tried again the next day. 3 attempts met with silence, but on 4th try it started. Dtr returns, starts it on 1st try, and confesses this intermittent inability to start has been going on for some time. Can’t convince her to find out what the problem is and fear there will come a day when it won’t start at all. What is likely the problem?

If it has an automatic transmission, the problem might be in the park/neutral safety switch.

The next time it doesn’t start, try wiggling the shift lever and then try starting the engine. If this doean’t work, turn the ignition on so the dash lights come on, step on the brake pedal and shift the transmission into neutral. Now try starting the engine. If the engine starts with either wiggling the shifter or putting it in neutral, The problem is with the park/neutral safety switch.

If it has a manual transmission, the problem might be with the clutch pedal inter-lock switch.