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Honda CRV wont "always" start

2004 Honda CRV-Manual. Just had rebuild trany installed–all good. Lately will turn key and nothing happens–try a few more times and then it starts fine. Battery is in good shape (not tested but only 2 yrs old), no corrosion, cables tight. Dash lights seem fine. Would like to diagnose this and possibly repair myself as the rebuilt trany set me back $2200.

The problem might be with the clutch pedal interlock switch. This switch prevents the starter from operating unless the clutch pedal is fully depressed. The switch may be out of adjustment or defective. The switch is located above the clutch pedal.


Thanks Tester-I will check that out. The clutch plate (kit) was replaced at the same time that I had the rebuild trany installed–is there a potential connection to the interlock switch? Just curious.

Tester’s comment is spot on. That’s the right place to start. I have no experience with your make/model, but on my manual Toyota several things have to be working for the car to crank

  • The battery
  • The ignition keyswitch
  • The starter relay
  • The clutch pedal switch
  • The starter selenoid
  • The starter motor

One of these on your car probably isn’t working. One time I had a problem where the ignition switch, the clutch pedal switch, and the starter selenoid were bad at the same time! But usually it is just one of these that’s the problem.

Me, I’d start with the battery. Is it properly charged? (Use a hydrometer on each cell.) Are the connections recently cleaned and tightened? Is the unloaded voltage around 12.6 volts (car not running, which I assume is easy to achieve … lol)? Under cranking conditions (key in “start”), is the battery voltage around 10 volts or more?

If that isn’t the problem, then you can try replacing the starter relay and the pedal switch. Mechanics with experience would instead get out the schematic and probe their way through the circuit until they find out what the problem is.

The problem by the way you describe it is the starter motor itself, or more likely, the starter selenoid. That’s my guess. But I wouldn’t start there. But your car is the right age for a replacement starter.

The starter circuit by the way involves some very high current paths. And replacing the starter motor can be difficult in imported econoboxes. If you don’t have experience with electrical repair, and the problem turns out to be the starter motor or starter selenoid, unless you have some experience, probably best to find somebody who does to help you, or take it to a good mechanic.

Either way, this is a common problem and I think you’ll be back on the road soon.