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Moody Honda

My 1996 Honda Civic with ca. 151,000 miles has developed a new and annoying habit. Sometimes it has a tough time starting. It will start, but it takes a lot of cranking the engine. When it acts up like this and I do get it started and then stop at a stoplight, it dies. It does restart, but it takes a lot of cranking again. This occurs more often than not on rainy/damp days. I thought it might be a cracked distributor cap that is allowing the spark plugs to get wet. I took it to the shop. They checked it out, but couldn’t find anything wrong. I drove it home, it was raining and it died!!! What’s going on?

There are any number of possibilities, most of them having to do with the ifnition system. Generally it’ll be old ignition wires arcing to ground.

When was the last complete tuneup.

Um, the distributor cap doesn’t cover the spark plugs.

But Mountainbike is right. Your symptoms indicate a problem with the secondary ignition circuit: spark plug wires, distributor cap (and rotor), spark plugs, and/or coil.

My 1995 civic had similar issues but I noticed it was only when it got below about an 1/8 of a tank. Sounds simple but I just keep it above an 18th now and no more issues.