CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Starting Quirk

I own a '93 Honda Accord with 225,000 miles on it. My car has this starting quirk where if you start it up and then shut it right back off, say to move out of the garage onto driveway, it doesn’t want to start again. It acts like it’s flooded. So how I get around this is when I just need to move it, I have to start it up, let the engine temp. come up before I shut it off. Once the engine is warmed up, I can shut it off and start it right back up again. Any ideas how to fix this annoying problem? It has left me straded before to where it literally wouldn’t start for me until the next day! Please help!

Here’s a quick test you can do to help isolate the problem. When the problem occurs, push the gas pedal all the way to the floor and hold it there while you crank the engine. Don’t crank more than 20-30 seconds at a time if it doesn’t start. You don’t want to overheat the starter motor.

By pushing the gas pedal to the floor, you’re telling the engine computer to completely shut off the fuel injection to recover from a flooding condition. Depending on if this works or not, it helps to narrow down the cause…

Thank you for your reply. If it starts by holding down the gas pedal, what is that an indication of and how do I fix it? If it doesn’t make it start, any ideas on what else it could be???

If it starts by holding down the gas pedal, what is that an indication of

By pushing the gas pedal to the floor, you’re telling the engine computer to completely shut off the fuel injection to recover from a flooding condition.

how do I fix it? If it doesn’t make it start, any ideas on what else it could be???
Why don’t you try the test first and then we can talk about how to resolve the problem. Speculating about the myriad of potential causes and solutions is a waste of time without diagnostic results to back it up…

I have found that to be a common issue with cars from the mid 90s, even when they were new. I’m not sure that you have a problem that can be corrected (works as designed). If the car didn’t do this before, or if it sometimes does it even if it was fully warmed up before you shut it off, then replacement of the fuel injectors may solve the problem.

When it happens, you can hold the gas pedal all the down down as you crank the car, to clear the flood out.

To prevent it, you can allow the engine to run long enough for the engine to warm up slightly before shutting it down.

Gotcha! I’ll try holding down the pedal to see if that works. If not, I’ll get back w/you. Thanks!

I should add that if your sparkplugs haven’t been changed recently, changing them could help with this problem.

Yep, had them changed last summer. My mechanic said, ‘They were due!’

My car never did this before when it was newer. Has been an issue for me the last few years. I’ve just always known my way around it so didn’t think too much about it. Recently, however, it appears to be getting worse. I’ve noticed that when I get in it after work and drive a couple miles down the road to the grocery store, or whatever, when I jump back in it to start it back up, it’ll start but want to die on me. I have to have my foot right on the gas to rev it a bit to keep it running. Haven’t ever replace the fuel injectors. Have done very little to the car exept for the normal oil changes, etc., as it has been an exceptional car for me over the years.

Your car is in the right vintage for a main relay problem. It exhibits similar symptoms what you describe except usually when hot.

I would simply replace the main relay if never done before. They have a high failure rate.

If it starts by holding down the gas pedal, what is that an indication of and how do I fix it?

It means the engine is flooding. That could be leaky fuel injectors.

I’d bet on leaking fuel injector(s) in that case.