1996 Honda Accord with 170K miles. Replaced starter, distributor, plugs, battery about a year ago. Started having problems starting after the car was warmed up a few months ago. Usually it started up perfectly first thing in the morning. If I drove for 15-20 minutes, parked, came back 10 minutes later, when I first turned the key the dash lights up properly, I heard the fuel pump engage, and when I turned the key heard just one click – I believe from the starter solenoid. If I then turned the key once more (maybe twice more) the car would start right up. It sounded like an electrical short of some kind to me. So, after some online sleuthing, I decided the ignition switch was the most likely culprit. Bought a new ignition switch, installed it no problems, and two days later it did it again. It has been back at it for the last couple of months since installing the new ignition switch, but is now getting worse. It still generally starts up perfectly first thing in the morning after sitting all night, but now when I got to start again (even after it’s been sitting for 3 hours), it is taking multiple tries to get to start, and sometimes has a hesistant/rough start to it.
I have had 3 starters put on this car in the past 4 years - literally once a year a new starter. Now I’m starting to wonder if it ever really was those starters. Occassionally up until now I’d have a similar problem - I’d turn the key, just one click, but as soon as I turned the key again it would start up fine. On a couple of occassions (before replacing the ignition switch), it did a really rough start, idled very low/rough, and the shifter was stuck in park - I had to use the shift release to get out of park. But the shifter only ever stuck in park when I had the rough start/rough idle issues, which is what lead me to believe the problem was somewhere in the electrical system.
I’ve done more looking online, and some things point to maybe a bad main relay, however most folks who describe a problem with the main relay have starting issues involving cranking that won’t start. Not the case here - I get nothing, no crank at all. Some people are telling me its the starter, but seriously, no one has to have a new starter put on their car every single year. My logic is telling me it’s something else entirely that I’m missing, something somewhere in the electrical system that is not making connection.
Any ideas? Thanks a bunch.