Starter disengaging flywheel too soon

Got a 2000 Honda Accord, 4CLY, Automatic. 120K miles.

The starter turns over the engine and briefly engages the flywheel. The flywheel disengages shortly before the car can be started while the starter continues to run. Occasionally, the flywheel may quickly reengage and disengage

Is this a problem w/ the starter?

Here’s a youtube video

The key was in the crank position for the entire video. Yet, you only hear the crank sound between 0:02 to 0:04. It disengaged at 0:03 and tried to re-engage from 0:03 - 0:04

Is the starter bad?


Possibly, but this could also be due to the ignition switch.
This era of Honda is under a Recall for faulty ignition switches which can cause erratic starting or random dying. The cause is heat related failure of the switch which affects the contacts in the switch.

You might consider calling a nearby Honda dealer and providing them with the VIN of your car. If that Recall has never been performed before and falls in the VIN range this can be done free of charge.


A good shop should be able to rig a bypass from the ignition switch to the starter, to determine if the problem is the ignition switch or the starter motor. From the symptoms, it could be either. But if I had to guess, I’d say it was the ignition switch. Probing the “start” terminal of the starter with a DVM might provide a clue too. It should measure appx 12 volts all the time the key is in the “start” position.

Sounds like there is a problem with the engine, not the starter. The engine should have started after 1 to 2 seconds and not required excessive cranking.

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@Nevada_545 is correct. There’s nothing wrong with the starter. It’s the engine that’s not running right.

I was able get the car started by pumping the gas while cranking it.
The problem disappeared after the successful start. I also waited
24hr before starting again and issue has not occurred.

Not sure if it’s related, but I washed the car before the issue
occurred. I noticed some condensation on one of the head lights the
next day. However, I’m very sure water didn’t get near the main
engine or spark plug wires.

I’m in very dry California