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Random - (1 in 20 chance) - Car Won't Turn Over

Long time listener, first time poster.

I have a 1998 Honda Accord. Maybe every 20 times I go to start it, it won’t turn over. Starter is newish, got plugs and wires about a year ago.

Someone suggested it’s a missing tooth on the starter or flywheel, thus the “randomness” of the problem. Can that be the problem?

Please Define " Won’t Turn Over" In Case Your Definition Is Different From Mine.

Can you here the engine cranking over, but failing to keep going when you let go of the key?

Can you here the sarter spin (whirring sound), but engine won’t crank over?

Does starter just click or make no sound at all?

Describe what happens when it doesn’t “turn over”. What do you hear?


If it’s an automatic and nothing happens when you turn the key there may be a problem with the starter interlock switch. Try starting the Accord in neutral. I had this problem with a 95 Dodge Dakota. Either jiggling the handle in park or shifting into neutral got the truck to start.

Ed B.

I can hear it (and feel it) spinning but not actually starting.

What Do You Think Is “Spinning”, Just The Starter Or The Car’s Engine?

If you can feel it, then the engine must be turning. That doesn’t sound like a missing tooth on a starter or flywheel, to me.


Do you mean you hear the starter spinning or the engine turning over and not starting?

If you hear the starter spinning but not engaging the flywheel to turn the engine over then the starter solenoid is going bad. My 2000 Blazer started doing this last winter when the temp was 30 degrees or less. Usually the starter engaged the flywheel on the second try. I’m going to have to replace the starter before next winter.

Ed B.