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My luck.. new car issues

i recently bought a 97 honda cr-v with 140k miles on it from a private party.
the test drive and the next two days it drove fine but i could not unlock the driver’s side door the next day after buying it. (i called the previous owner about this and she said i needed the key in the ignition to unlock it which i questioned how to unlock it from the outside when the key needs to be in the ignition since the key didn’t work on that door. she has yet to respond. )
after fiddling with it a bit i got it unlocked but the next evening when i locked it, i could not open it again that next morning.

that was over a week ago and i have only gotten it to unlock one other time, and this is where i stumble on another problem for after unlocking it and deciding to leave it unlocked until i had the time to open the panel and check out the insides, i went to bed that evening and in the morning it would not start now! i got a jump from a friend and it started up instantly with it hooked up. i go to work. i leave the door unlocked again and i come out a few hours later to start it up and it starts. i come back out many more hours later and its dead again. a coworker gives me a jump and it starts right up… on the way home that night my car turned off while i was driving it, i was able to start it a few moments later after quickly pulling over. i get home and decide to lock the door this time as i started to suspect the power locks may have been the problem. the next morning , my car starts up just fine. i have yet to try and unlock the door in fear of messing it up more as i need to keep driving this to work until my days off in a few days. i have not had power problems yet since leaving it alone locked. (i climb through the passenger side door)

now the other issue with the car stalling while driving… as it hasn’t happened again while driving since the last time. it died once idling in park after idling for about 5 mins, but tonight i have a new issue which i don’t know if related when my car suddenly stopped accelerating even though i was pressing on the petal , the rpms dropped straight down to zero and it DID NOT rev and i coasted for a little bit (was on the freeway) and then suddenly it went back up and i could accelerate. not even two minutes later i was making a sharp turn onto a one way and the car stalled out and i was forced to pull it over(with no power steering :scream:) and almost get hit by the car behind me. it started after putting it in park and turning the key almost immediately.

one other thing, ive started it a few times in the morning and it makes this strange noise for a split second after starting. it has only done this three times and always in the morning.

so i dunno… there are a few things i plan on doing on my days off work , i need to get my battery and alternator checked first off… if those are good than i’m going to move onto checking fuses for the locks and try and get it unlocked again and take off the panel and take a look inside .
i’m just clueless about what could be causing the stalling out and the car not accelerating suddenly and then catching on again after repressing the petal. i know i should take it to a mechanic but i wanted to get some knowledge first before going in there so im not looking like a sucker when i am talking to the mechanic. thanks!

From your post it is apparent you don’t know much about how cars work. My advice is; Take it to a trusted independent mechanic - ask your friends for references if you don’t have one - and tell them exactly what you posted. That gives the mechanic a starting point. They won’t think you are a sucker because you are not a mechanic and they know that. If you diagnose it FOR them and tell them to replace this or that, they will. And your problem won’t be fixed and you will be upset and with less money in your pocket.

You wouldn’t go to your doctor and tell him to remove your appendix because you have the symptoms you read on WebMD would you? Don’t do it to your mechanic either. Pay for his time to diagnose the problem and then fix it. You will be money ahead.

I’m going out on a limb here and guess you didn’t have a mechanic check the car over BEFORE you bought it. Right?


yawn. i dont need someone to tell me to go to a mechanic. that’s a given. that’s not what im asking. im trying to learn and reach out to others to see what they think. to have discussions and what not. i know enough about cars to be able to replace radiators, alternators and rebuild front ends from junk cars (past projects)

i wasnt able to have a mechanic check it out before i bought it. (which really i bought it for cheap so who cares)
you are assuming a whole bunch about me and gave me a crappy answer. im sorry. i didnt come on here to be told to go to a mechanic. i came on here to talk about my issues with others. you just dont get it. thanks for the answer but it was apparent you know nothing about cars since your only input is the obvious and you completely missed the point.

and really if you think about it… with your logic and your failed appendix analogy, you might as well copy and paste your answer to EVERYONE in this forum who has a problem… am i right? seriously… what is the point of this forum if really all everyone needs to do is go to the mechanic. you are completely missing the point here.

good day.

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Oh Boy, here we go again.


Drop the attitude as well as the profanity.

Your post alone told me just how much you know about cars since you didn’t give any technical data at all about the conditions you experienced. I won’t mention the inability to spell “pedal.” An mucking around with fuses won’t get you anywhere with these problems. Just because you can change parts doesn’t mean you know anything about cars.

You may want to add some info to your post that might help someone with your car problem like the type of transmission or the engine size. Do you own a DVM? Do you know how to use it? What’s the battery voltage? What’s the voltage at the alternator when running? Idle speed? Does it vary? And CEL’s? Any stored codes?

If you don’t know what these questions mean… take it to a mechanic, you are not qualified to do this work. And that’s from someone who is qualified.


This site is populated mostly with older guys who do not appreciate your casual use of obscenities.
Trust me…if you continue in that vein, you will wind up being blocked.



Hi @rotoffedge, it’s true that our discussion rules ask that users not curse in their posts. As to your other point, it’s fair that you’d like some other recommendations besides “go see a mechanic.” If you stick around a while and check back, someone may offer some other feedback. Thanks.

I told the doctor it wasn’t my appendix because it didn’t fit the symptoms in the book. He said they don’t always fit the book and sure enough it had burst. Saved my life. That’s why he’s the doctor and I’m not.

Same thing with car problems. A good mechanic can can sort through noises like at start up pretty fast but pretty hard over the internet. Before anyone can conclude why a car stalls, you have to at least determine if you lost spark or lost fuel pressure. Then you go from there. If neither then maybe just induction cleaning or IAC or even a sticking torque converter but its all in the description of the symptoms. For the locks, you really need access to the wiring schematic and go from there. But you never said if you were trying to unlock it with the key or with the key fob. Big difference. Wouldn’t be the first time the key fobs are just worn out. But really not much detail for anyone to go on.


Didn’t cost much to buy. Not like ur out a lot. Buying 20 yr old cars is usually a crap shoot. Having it stall in front of a speeding semi is no fun.


97 Hondas have a history with the master lock control located in the drivers side door. However you are not very clear as to what the problem is. Does this vehicle have a FOB? Power door locks?

When you stick the key into the lock, does it turn? Is it turning but just not unlocking the door?

If it is not turning, I’d suggest that you go to a Honda dealer and have a new key cut from the VIN, do not let anyone make a copy of the current key, you need a key cut exactly like a brand new key, not a copy of a worn out key. If this fixes your problem, you may still need that master control replaced ($200) as it is running down the battery.

If the key is turning but not unlocking, then you just need the master control box, or if you are lucky and kind to the mechanic, it may only need some adjustment.

BTW, if you weren’t so defensive, you would see that @Mustangman really did give you some good advice in his first post. When I was 16 years old and knew squat about cars but had friends who thought they were experts, I fixed my car so good that it had to be towed to a mechanic. As soon as I started telling him what was wrong, he gave me that same advice (lecture) and it has saved me a lot of money ever sense. I am thankful to him for that.


You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

That’s great that you want to learn and came here for help. There is a variety of car “experts” here who are regulars, ranging from Professional Mechanics to DIY’ers (some of whom may know a lot about your particular vehicle).

One thing you can count on is that we are all car enthusiasts and enjoy trying to help people who enjoy receiving help! We’re all in this together.

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I read the header and every thing here is about a 20 year old Honda. What are the issues with the new car the header refers to?

I think the OP meant new to him

OP’s idea to focus on the charging system and battery condition first is a good one. That could explain the stalling too, and is an easy test to do. Would make sense to clean the battery posts and connectors too, and make sure the battery fluid is topped off if that style of battery. A phantom current drain test makes sense too. Might show something – like the door lock circuit for example – is draining the battery when the engine is off. All of the problems OP described are part of the array of problems that would be expected in this vintage of car. But none of them – except perhaps the start up noise – seems very serious.

One other thing, from the reports we see here, older Hondas (esp the Civic model) seems to have a problem with one of the main engine relays going intermittent. Replacing that relay often solves poor performance and stalling problems. Try googling “Honda main relay” or “Honda fuel injection relay” , something like that.

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Sorry roto for your experience. Some forums have bullies that insult others, act like know-it-alls to feel superior then buddy together to make YOU appear in the wrong when you don’t take it like a sissy. Mustang & Volvo have ganged up prior on others and this forum moderator allows them to drive others away. Too bad, since we all love Car Talk so much.

As far as your problem, since the owner won’t tell all the history and gives only their “work around” solution, leaving you to search electrical mechanics for answers (quotes have begun at $300 for sleuthing electrical mazes), all I can guess, based upon past stories is … a previous owner hooked up something electrical (e.g. boom box, security alarm), then removed it, causing such a problem. Either this was a rewire different from specifications or causing a short/shorts that can tough during driving = yikes.

Hope that helps, perhaps someone else helpful will offer something better or an idea that “Clicks” with all the symptoms.

Why are you mentioning names . . . ?!

AND you’re outright saying that Carolyn allows bad behaviour

I don’t agree with your opinions, and I think you unjustly accused Mustangman, Volvo and Carolyn

I think Mustangman and Volvo make some of the best comments, and Carolyn is doing a fine job as a moderator :+1:


@Sunfish - If you compare Carolyn’s performance to moderators on other forums it makes you wonder why she has not been recruited by other sites.


@Sunfish Did not notice @VOLVO_V70 ganging up with @Mustangman mustang and bullying people, “then buddy together to make YOU appear in the wrong when you don’t take it like a sissy.”

Not saying I have gotten along perfectly with everybody, but the padded room does not exist, and Carolyn has jumped into the middle for me when I felt wronged, and she is not a part of what you see and I have failed to see in this forum. Yes posters and responses can be a little gruff, but…


Isn’t there a way on the Car Talk site to block a pre-defined list of user’s comments? In other words if you don’twant to see posts from certain users, you put them on that list. then you can’t see those posts, but everybody else can. I seem to recall somebody talking about that or a similar feature a while back.

Which is very misleading on this forum. If it is a new car the answer is always take it to the dealership.