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Honda push button start problem

I have a 2013 Honda Accord with push button start. About a year ago began having problems starting. I put my foot on the brake, push the button, and get a noise like static. Lately it seems to matter where on the button I push. Sometimes in the middle, sometimes on different edges. I keep at it until it starts, sometimes 5-6 times. Two independent mechanics have looked at it and say they can find nothing wrong. It does start for me on the first push very intermittently. I’ve replaced the fob battery but this didn’t matter. I called the dealer and the manager said she had never heard of this problem. I discussed with shop where I get my oil changed and the tech told me that on the last occasion he had issues such as I describe above.


Each time you push the button…does the vehicle respond with a sound? Im trying to verify if the button knows you pushed it…if it does…you move down the line. The brake light switch and the key fob/ Alarm system… tell the start button to function…the button tells the starter relay to engage…the starter relay then energizes the starter solenoid…the solenoid then energizes the armature of the starter motor proper and turns the engine over to start or run.

If the button seems not to know you pushed it…you move back up the suspect line to the brake light switch and or Fob or Security System…Do your brake lights light up every time you push the brake?

Use the flow chart I provided to think through the issue.


If this happens almost every time you try to start the car, I don’t see how your “Two independent mechanics” could say there is nothing wrong.

Or, do you mean they saw the issue but could not diagnose the problem? In that case, you need a better mechanic. The dealer may be your best bet.

I really think this would be a problem that Honda would need to look at. We have never had any push button problems though. One thing to try would be to put the key fob in the slot first to see if that helps at all. If it does, then the problem is between the fob and the receiver. If it doesn’t help, the problem is likely with the button itself or the brake pedal switch. Like Honda says though if you can be very very specific on when the problem happens, it will help the dealer get the right guy on it. You have to get past the know nothing service manager though for a mechanic to look at it and go through the trouble-shooting chart.

I suspect the “static noise” is the result of an intermittent connection rapidly cycling the starter relay. Probably just a bad start switch.

If it reacts differently when you press different segments of the button, it’s definitely the button.
Is it still under warranty? If so, look at the paperwork that came with the manual for the path to pursue the problem beyond the dealer. Be sure to keep detailed records of all of your attempts to resolve the issue.

Whether it’s under warranty or not, I’d want to get the button replaced. If you don’t you may find yourself with an intermittent button… and an engine that dies occasionally. That could become a safety issue.

I think Shadow is right about the static noise.

Is this a “Proper” Button? Or some kind of touch sensitive type of thingy? Thats an interesting point that @“the same mountainbike” presented… I was thinking it was a proper push button device…but if its some kind of temperature sensitive Pseudo-Button… The issue could be dirt or hand cream on the button…or a cold finger pushing it…or some other obstacle between the touch of that button and its recognition that it was actually “touched”.

Excellent point there… I dunno what the “button” looks like here…if its a sensor type button…it could simply be some kind of contaminant preventing the button from knowing it was touched…

Kind of like a wet touch screen on your cell phone…when it doesnt know you are trying to manipulate the thing and you notice the screen has a tiny amount of water on it… Seen that plenty…


It’s a real button.

A quick search of the internet disclosed that this has apparently been a trouble spot for the '13 Accords.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I tried another mechanic. This one said need new starter, same as a couple of previous mechanics. It could be but I’ll feel like a fool if I pay for the starter and still have the problem. I saw on a site for Hyundai push button start problems that the brake pedal sensor was the problem, car not recognizing that driver had depressed the brake. What is the difference, if any, between sensor and brake pedal switch?

The brake pedal sensor requires that you depress the brake pedal before the starter circuitry can be enabled (the engine started). It’s a safety device. You should never start the car unless the brakes are applied, and this feature makes sure you don’t. My car has that too, even though it uses a key to start.

You spoke to the dealer on the phone, but apparently never brought the car in. he can’t diagnose it over the phone. Nor can a car be diagnosed by looking at what others had as starting problems. Starting problems can be caused by a variety of things.

“I tried another mechanic. This one said need new starter, same as a couple of previous mechanics.” - you’ve already apparently had a number of different mechanics diagnose it and they all told you the same thing, you need a starter. It sounds to me like your next step should be to let one of them put a new starter in. Sorry, but a diagnosis alone, without a repair after won’t fix a car.

The starter failing to engage consistently is covered in honda service bulletin 16-002, dated February 5, 2016. It affects V6 Accords and Crosstours for 2013, 2014 and 2015. From reading the bulletin it appears to be defective starter and defective installation. While the new starter appears identical and has the same part number and manufacturer, my service department tells me it there is an electrical defect inside the starter. It drove me nuts with my 2013 Accord for the past 10 months, and I finally shamed my dealer into doing the job near cost versus the quotes I had of $950 and $780. Have my fingers crossed… but will look at the redesigns of both Honda and Toyota for 2018. Had never had a day-to-day reliability issue with Honda in 38 years prior to this.

I’ve also been dealing with this issue since February of this year and so far my dealer has replaced the battery, then with continued issues, the starter, and just two weeks ago the alternator and the relay. I just saw the bulletin mentioned, but the dealer did not mention it to me. I will be calling to follow-up as I had the problem again today. I’m beyond frustrated and am not able to get a new car right now. Luckily, I have an extended warranty on my 2014 Crosstour.

I had the problem with the 2013 Honda Accord push button start. Here’s the follow up. I got an email from here about a technical service bulletin from Honda concerning the problem. As you probably know, Honda was telling its dealers how to fix the problem but Honda was not responsible unless the car was in warranty. I called and made an apt with a service shop which only deals with certain makes, including Hondas. I took the car by, waited a bit and the owner told me his guy replicated the start problem. He had already looked over my info on the TSB. He quoted me a price. While waiting for my apt at the independent I called the local dealer from whom I bought the car. Got an apt for next day and took it by. Gave the service tech the info on the TSB and left the car. When I came back I paid $99 for the diagnosis and received a report detailing all the many service items they would fix. And oh yeah they would replace the starter. (From my conversation I don’t think the tech ever looked into the TSB info.) I dropped my car off at the independent shop, picked it up a few days later and so far it has started on first push every time. From the invoice it appears this shop followed the recommendations from the Honda TSB. My bill was $743.

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Forgot to mention Honda dealer was to charge me about $800.00 for starter, no mention of rotation of torque converter suggested by TSB.

If you are describing a static noise when starting, do the gauge lights flicker? If so, it’s very common for these newer hondas to go through car batteries quickly. Have they checked the condition of the battery? Sometimes they can read good, but not push enough juice.

I have the problem intermittently - I press the start button while holding down the brake and nothing happens. My problem seems to be associated with whether the tires were turned to be straight forward when I turned off the car. It’s happened at least a dozen times over the last few years and each time I turn the wheels to the forward position and then I can get the start button to start the car.

Dear Car Talk Community,

push button start problem I own a 2014 Honda Accord with the same problem as the reader that was published in our daily paper. Unfortunately my car did not start at all when I pushed the start button. The brake pedal did not engage at all. The AAA club gave me a jump start and said I must have left the lights on or door open {not so }. This happened 3 more times. The final time I bought a new battery at my own expense {dealer was closed on Sunday}.

The next day the car would not start and my Honda dealer sent a tow truck to pick up the car after waiting 4 hours. The Honda service dept kept it for 5 days and gave me a Honda Accord 2015 loaner car. The service department said every morning they started the car and it worked correctly and no problems were happening at the car dealer. I asked the service dept if they put my car on lift to check underneath the car and they said no they did not also the mechanics told me my problem was rare and they had no record of other customers having this problem. The car dealer NEVER mentioned that there was a official HONDA SERVICE bulletin about this subject. I returned my loaner car and picked up my 2014 Honda Accord and so far it has started every day for the last 2 weeks. However, it still makes a growling sound when I start it up and turn it off. The 2015 Honda Accord I had from car dealer did not make this sound. I am requesting that you provide me with the exact number of the HONDA SERVICE bulletin so I can show it to my mechanic at the Honda dealer for the work that is required to fix my car at NO charge because it is covered under my Honda warranty. Thank you for this wonderful community of car lovers and the best place on the world wide web to get your car problem questions answered. In addition is there a website that is open to the public that I can look at and download a copy of the HONDA SERVICE bulletin on this subject. THANK YOU and HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone in the CAR TALK website discussion of all general topics

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Hello. I have a 2013 Honda Accord with push button start. I sent the email to car talk originally. The Honda Technical Service Bulletin is 16-002. Honda has known about this for many months now. I never actually was able to locate the actual TSB online but found several places where it was discussed. (Just google this TSB.) I took my car to the dealership where I bought the car and gave a copy of the info on the TSB to the service rep. From his response when he called me back I don’t think the dealership had even researched the TSB. Just told me I needed a new starter and about 30 more things that they could fix for me. I then took my car to an independent shop which only services Hondas and 3 other makes. There the mechanic read my material and discussed the issues with me. When he called he said his tech replicated the problem starting and said they would follow the suggested repair given by the TSB. When I picked up my car it started first push in the parking lot and every time since. I’m hopeful it’s now fixed. Paul G

I have a 2014 Honda Accord EX-L 4 cylinder. I’m having the same problems as mentioned above. When I get in the car and attempt to crank it by placing my foot on the brake and pushing the button, I’m met with a single clicking sound. After numerous attempts, I’m usually able to get it to crank.

On a few occasions, I’ve run the battery down by trying to start it too many times. Anytime this happened, I was always able to jump it off from another vehicle and always successfully crank it. I tried replacing the battery with a new battery and the problem was still present.

Please note that I don’t know a lot about cars, so please for forgive my ignorance!

One thing that is interesting to me is the fact that I’m always able to get it to crank, very easily and quickly by hooking it up to another vehicle to jump it off. In searching the web for similar problems, I’ve noticed that there seems to be a group of people who believe that Honda Accords of this same model year are outfitted with batteries which simply aren’t powerful enough for the electronics built into the car. To me, the car’s ability to crank instantly by jumping it off from another vehicle adds to the possibility that the car is simply not getting enough juice from the battery and needs a “boost” of sorts in order to crank. In other words, maybe the factory battery doesn’t have enough cold cranking amps in order to crank by itself.

Has anyone on this thread had any experience with improving this situation by replacing the battery with a larger battery (possibly the battery that might normally be used on the V6 Accord)? Is there any chance that this could be the problem rather than replacing a starter?

Thanks for any help that you all might be able to offer! JL

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No matter how undersized the battery is, it should be able to crank the engine, perhaps not at full speed. But you said it doesn’t crank at all. To me that indicates either a dead battery or a problem with cabling.

Given your description, I’d suspect the ignition switch. If you fiddle with it and get to crank at a good speed, then it’s either the switch or a wire attached to it.

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