Honda Civic 2019 has trouble starting - even after getting a new starter and fuel pump

I took my 2019 Honda Civic to the dealership in May to get a new fuel pump for a factory recall. The mechanic accidentally broke the fuel pump that was in there and then installed a new one a few days later. A week later, I started having difficulty starting the car – i.e. once a week when I turned the key, the dashboard and A/C would come on, but the engine wouldn’t start or even click. Just nothing. When I turned the key a second time, however, it would start up. At first, this was just once a week. Then it started to happen every other day.

A month later, they diagnosed the problem as a faulty fuel pump. Yes, that’s right – the new fuel pump they put in was apparently “also” faulty. So they install another new one. 4 days later, after driving 30 some odd miles and parking for about an hour in the sun, the car wouldn’t start at all no matter how many times I turned the key. I got it towed to Honda and they installed a new starter.

A week later, same initial problem as above – every other day, it would take 2 turns of the key to start the engine. A month later, it started fine early in the morning, and then every other time that day I tried to start the car, it took 7-10 turns of the key before the engine would engage and go on.

I took the car to a local mechanic who said that it’s either a bad key (since my back-up key seemed to start the car without any problem) or that it’s the ECM (engine control module) and that’s something that only can be fixed at Honda. I just went to a new Honda dealership today for repairs. They couldn’t find anything wrong at all. The car had no trouble starting today and so they could not emulate the issue. I showed them a video I took of it and they said that doesn’t help them because they need to hook up their instruments to the engine to diagnose what error code comes up.

To be clear, I should add that it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s hot or cold out, or if I’ve been driving that day or not, or if the engine is hot or cold when I turn the key. It both starts and doesn’t start under any condition. Most of the time it does start up without a problem. But then there’s the rare day when it just won’t go at all.

So what can I do here? Is this fixable or is this a lemon and I need to buy a new car?

do you only have these problems with the 1 key? If so then the chip in the original key is the problem.

It happened in both since I got it back from the mechanic, even when they were side by side.

Honda did charge both keys today (or something like that).

A bad fuel pump won’t cause that.

The next time you turn the key to start the engine and nothing happens, step on the brake pedal, shift the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts, the problem is with the park/neutral safety switch.



I’ll give it a shot. I should say that when I got the car towed, I did shift it into neutral and tried starting and it still wouldn’t start, but that was before they put the new starter in.

Is there a chance that it’s a bad spark plug, battery, alternator, timing belt, ignition, or wires?

Hold Honda’s feet to the fire and keep taking to them to get it fixed. Call their home office… the number is in your owners manual or online. Research your state’s lemon laws. If the dealer can’t fix it within X times (depends on the state) they must buy it back. You may want to talk to a lawyer that specializes in this type of case in your state.

Honda OWES you a proper functioning car. Either they fix your or they buy it back.


None of those things would prevent the engine from cranking over .


Yeah, agreed 100%. The car should still be under factory warranty, and it sounds like the issues started after a factory recall.

I’d park this thing in front of the dealership and demand a loaner car until they fix the problem to your satisfaction.

Unfortunately it’s no longer under warranty – I drive a lot for work and have 50,750 miles on it after only 30 months, so I’m past the 36,000 mile warranty.

Does anyone know why the car doesn’t start only sometimes, and most of the time it still starts? I figure if something is broken, wouldn’t it always not start instead of just some of the time?

maybe it has to do with the ignition switch itself. honda had a lot of problems with there push button start switches. it could be a defective key ignition switch. do you have remote start in your car? or a after market alarm?

There’s no push button or remote start in this model – it’s a regular key you turn in the ignition. I did ask the dealership and the mechanic if it’s a bad ignition and both said it was pretty unlikely. Doesn’t mean it’s not the problem, of course.

The alarm that’s in there came with the car when I bought it, and I bought it new.

You have to be careful describing a no start. If the car cranks but does not start that “could be” fuel pump related. But if it clicks or does not crank, that is a problem with key, ignition switch, battery, starter, or wiring, etc. Totally different issue. Long shot but the one time I had an issue like that, the actual ignition switch down on the column was misadjusted. So when you turn the key, the rod that activates the switch, did not slide enough to activate the switch. Found it myself when starting to replace the switch.

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When it doesn’t start, it’s that it’s not cranking (I think). As in, I turn the key and I hear nothing at all – the engine isn’t even trying to start.

How exactly can you test to see if the ignition column is misadjusted?

You probably can’t but a mechanic can, unless you remove the covers on the column and try moving the rod some (if that’s the way it is set up).

If by “doesn’t start” you mean the engine fails to crank — that rrr rrr rrr sound with the key in “start”— I’ve had starts-one-day and not-another w/my Corolla. It can be caused by quite a few seemingly unrelated problems. The starter motor for example has a rotating part and a stationary part, and the connections between the two can be temperature sensitive. The battery and battery connections, the same.

In my case it was a combination of an iffy starter motor, iffy ignition switch, iffy clutch safety switch, and iffy battery connections. . Replacing or cleaning those parts did the trick. (Actually I did a work-a-round for the ignition switch, but same idea.) If you have an automatic transmission, the neutral safety switch (which corresponds my car’s clutch safety switch) is also a common problematic part for no-cranks.

Rather than just replacing stuff and hoping for the best, which can be expensive and might make the problem worse if it isn’t done correctly, the better strategy is to do a proper diagnostic work-up. Begin by measuring the voltage at the “s” terminal on the starter with the key in “start”. It should measure at least 10.5 volts. What to do next depends on what measurement you get. Suggest to ask your shop to do that test for you.

If you think this has something to do w/the fuel pump work, the cause for that would probably be an electrical connector got knocked loose, or a ground connection was removed to make room for the work wasn’t properly replaced.

btw, a caller on a recent Car Talk podcast with a Corolla no-crank had this same intermittent start problem. Ray thought it was the starter motor. You might want to look through the show descriptions and listen to that one.

All these problems on a 2 year old car?!?!?
I guess the downfall of buying a newer car.
How many miles?

50,750 miles

Happened again today. I had driven to 6 different places. When I was leaving the 6th, the car wouldn’t turn on until the 3rd turn of the key. I went home, turned off the car, then tried to turn it on again. Wouldn’t do it. Tried 10 more times. Wouldn’t go on. I also tried putting it in neutral before turning the key a few times. Made no difference. Wouldn’t go on.

I went upstairs to my apartment, dropped off groceries I had picked up from the 6th location, then went back down to the car and tried again. It turned on fine two times in a row.

Could this be something as simple as a finnicky cable connected to the starter, or a faulty wire? I have to understand why it is that it starts sometimes and not others.

Any thoughts?

36k bumper to bumper warranty. 5yr/60k powertrain warranty. Not starting is powertrain. It’s not running, right? Nah, nothing wrong with powertrain, crept it’s not running. So that means there is a problem.

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