So I’m having a really frustrating problem with my wife’s civic. Frequently when I go to start it I get no power as if the battery is dead. I have the battery tested twice and it’s still good. A lot of times I’m able to get it started by scrubbing the terminals even though they aren’t dirty at all. Once it’s started I don’t lose any power while I’m driving. I don’t hear the starter clicking when try to start it either. Does anyone have any ideas what the problem could be? I was thinking a loose wire somewhere but if that was the case wouldn’t I lose power sometimes while driving too? I also don’t understand why scrubbing the terminals and cables has an effect. If someone has some kind of advice I’d really appreciate it.
Three thoughts 1. battery cable has break inside 2. Check your warranty as this might be covered 3. Starter has a problem
Not 100% sure but I think Honda’s use a starter relay. They can get weak just like the ones on VW’s years ago. Not expensive and easy to change.
As in…no headlights, radio, dash lights, nothing?
If you are mot actually removing the terminal from the battery post and just scrubbing the top of the terminal you are doing little.
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 Advance Auto Parts - Down for Maintenance.
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 negayive 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.
I presume your problem is an intermittant no-crank. You don’t hear that rrrr rrrr rrr sound when you turn the key to start.
Could be a neutral safety switch. If automatic trans, try starting in N rather than P. Or jiggle the trans selection lever a little. If a manual, try jiggling the clutch pedal back and forth a little.
Make sure you have clean tight battery connections.
A battery load or conduction test will verify that the battery is good. Good idea to check the charging system too at the same time.
If all that doesn’t fix the problem, it’s probably the starter motor. Voltage testing at the two starter motor electrical terminals during attempted cranking would confirm or disprove.
Ignition switch problems are another possibility, if the starter motor has already been eliminated. That would show up during the voltage testing at the starter motor. Problems with the safety switch or a starter relay would also show up during the voltage testing at the starter motor.
If you don’t want to do testing, replacing both the battery and the starter motor will fix no-cranks probably 90% of the time. Worse case you’ll have a new battery and starter motor at least.
Might be just a coincidence. If the problem is the starter motor, the improved conduction might be just enough to get it turning. Starter motors are like a roulette wheel inside. How difficult it will be to get it turning again depends on where the roulette wheel stopped the last time you cranked the engine.