Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Is it time for me to lay my 1990 Integra to rest? :-(

Thanks to all advice I received earlier this year with my car. About 2 months ago, I had my ignition switch replaced and the car has been running pretty well, although it seems to run a bit sluggish at times. The best description of sluggish is that on the highway when cruising at 65-70, it SOMETIMES seems to hesitate ever so slightly, as if it’s not happy going that fast. Never dies though.

Today, when pulling into my parking spot, I was going to back up and park it more in the lines ( I HATE when people park on the line), and the car kind of chugged and died. I went to start it and it would not turn over. Not the same as last time when it would stay started until releasing the key. This proved to be the work of the bad ignition switch.

Anyone have any ideas? The car has about 214,000 miles and was tuned up about 14 months ago.



When you say it would not turn over, what, exactly, do you mean. Does the starter spin the engine when you turn the key, or does nothing happen? Do you hear any unusual noises when you try to start the engine?

Poor performance might just be a worn engine, which has lost compression.

im assuming not turn over means no sound at all when trying to start. check battery and connections first. then starter. work on the sluggish part after its running again. maybe the catalitic converter is plugging up?

There are no unusual noises. It’s just as if it “wants” to start, but won’t. The engine does not “turn over”, if that is the proper way to say that. Sorry, I’m not much of a car expert. The car is out in the lot ( but not close to my building), so maybe I’ll go out in a while and try to start it again, in order to describe a bit better what’s happening.

Could it be the battery? I don’t hear the typical clicking sound you’d get with a dead battery, although the battery is almost 7 years old! Maybe it’s time to replace that as well.

The next post mentioned loss of compression with a worn engine…could this be something to consider? I was wondering about this earlier this month.

Hi David. You were one of the helpful individuals on my last car problem!

No there is definite sound. Like it wants to start. See my reply to the first post on this latest problem.

“turn over” means the engine turns when the starter runs, based on your updates it does this, but does not start. Could be fuel pump or ignition (not the switch). Hard to diagnose. Not the battery since the starter is working. I suspect fuel pump

I’m interpreting your posts as meaning that the starter turns the engine but the engine never starts.

There are a lot of possible causes, but they fall into one of two categories. Either you have no fuel going to the cylinders or you have no spark. Spark can be easily checked for by connecting one of the plug wires to a spare plug, grounding it against the engine, and trying to start the car. You’ll see whether you have spark or not. Wear a leather glove for safety. If you have no spark post back. There are a lot of possible causes.

Based on your other low-power on the highway symptoms I’d consider a bad fuel pump as a good possibility also. Or perhaps a fuel pressure regulator. Either way, it’s easy to check but you’ll need a kit from the parts store. There’s no other way without chancing spraying fuel all over yourself.

Thanks for all the great info. I went and tried to start the car again, and it just makes the cranking sound, like in a scary movie, when a person is trying to get way in a car, the engine never starts, but the audience hears the starting sound! No Clicking sounds are there. Since my ignition switch was just replaced back in April, could it be faulty? Also, I called the shop where I have been taking it and they wonder if it could be the distributor . How long do those last?

I’ve been keeping track of things done to my car on a spread sheet, and had the distributor housing, ignitor, ignition coil, cap & rotor replaced back in 2004, and with the tune up I got in 2008, I noted that the dist. cap, rotor and induction kit were replaced. Does that make sense? Sorry for not being more mechanically savvy!

yes i remember the ignition switch problem. someone needs to check fuel pressure and spark. how long has it been since timing belt was replaced. hopefully has jumped or broken.

Agreed. A Haynes manual from the parts store will provide easy-to-follow instructions for checking both.

My timing belt and water pump were replaced at the end of 2006 at ~197K miles, so are not due for replacement for another ~40K. I’m religious about replacing the timing belt anyway.

I had it towed to the shop and they checked for sparks and there were none, so perhaps it’s the distributor. As I mentioned a couple of posts above, there has been distributor work done, but the housing was replaced about 5 years ago. That was a $300.00 part alone! Could it be this again? As “the same mountainbike” mentioned below, maybe I should invest in the Haynes manual, just for my own curiosity. In no way would I undertake trying to work on big things on my car or I’d really screw things up :wink:

they need to make sure when they test things make sure there is power from the ignition switch. if there is I would suspect something in the distributor has gone bad. have them get a complete rebuilt distributor. don’t have them replace just a couple of parts in it.