CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Honda Cranks But won’t Start

I have a 2000 Honda Civic ex coupe. Last night my car was working perfectly fine. I tried turning it on this morning but it wouldnt start. Car does crank. And I know it is not my fuel pump nor my starter. All I know is that my alternator was making weird whining noises. Can it be possible that my alternator isn’t getting its recharge and that’s causing it to not start??

If the starter is cranking the battery has enough juice and that comes from the alternator. So short term the alternator is not the cause of the non start. The weird noise may be a separate problem. How comfortable are you with working on cars? Can you spray a few squirts of starting fluid into the air cleaner? If the engine starts for a few seconds then dies that indicates a fuel delivery problem. How do you know it is not the fuel pump? Are you able to check to see if the plugs are firing? If there is no spark no amount of cranking will get it started.

3 Likes

I am pretty comfortable working on my car. I don’t think it is my fuel pump because it was working just fine. But I didn’t really check it this morning since I was in a rush. I know I can check the fuel pump by switching the key as well and checking for the noise. ?
And what fluid would I use?
I appreciate the help

How are you equipped for tools?

spark tester?

code reader and/or scanner?

fuel pressure test kit?

It’s a spray can, about the size of a paint rattle can, usually labeled “starting fluid”. Contains ether. Any number of vendors make it. Walmart & Home Depot sell it, common item, about $4 per can. As you might expect, very flammable, so use caution. Should be done outdoors and with a good-sized fire extinguisher on hand.

As far as your basic problem, cranks but won’t start is usually either no spark or no fuel. Are you sure you haven’t run out of gas?

1 Like

Many Hondas of this era are under a Recall for faulty ignition switches which can prevent starting or may cause intermittent stalling. I do not think you car is covered by this.

However, many of the non-covered cars also suffer from the same problem. A fautly main relay is also a possibility. The fuel pump and engine controls receive power through the main relay and the ignition switch. Over time the high current draw (mostly the fuel pump) will overheat the main relay and the electrical part of the ignition switch.

1 Like

Try the “key dance:” Turn key to Run (not all the way to Start) and listen for the fuel pump to run for a few seconds then shut off. Turn to Off, back to Run, and wait again. Do this a few times, then turn the key all the way to Start.

My 1999 Civic has needed this a few times, especially when the fuel level in the tank is low and the temperature has dropped. Knowing the key dance, I have done no repairs for this sporadic problem. Good luck and let us know. please.

1 Like