Trouble Starting 91 Civic


Have a 91 Civic. It has trouble starting from time to time. It’s never consistent, but I does seem to be worse in hot weather (like starts fine in the morning, won’t start in teh afternoon, starts fine after sun goes down).

When it won’t start, the check-engine light goes on for the duration of the starts, then goes away once the car does finally start. It sounds perfectly normal during the start, but the engine never “catches” or turns over. I hve tried to start it anywhere from twice to twenty-six times before it would finally go.

So far the following has been done in the past six months:

-new battery

-new ignition coil

-new distributor cap

-new rotor

-new fuel filter

After all that work was done, it ran great for another three months or so, but now it’s acting up again.

Took it to a place yesterday and told them to wait to start it in the afternoon, which they did and it wouldn’t start. So then they insisted it needs a new distributor at $350+.

Anyone on here have any other ideas on what I can check myself. I own a multimeter, have the Chilton’s manual, but I"m not sure where to go next.


PS: I told them not to do the work, went to pick it up, wouldn’t start. Went back after sun went down, started right up no problem.


My motto is, “Throw CHEAP parts (if one must) at a problem; not EXPENSIVE parts”. When a Honda has a problem starting in hot weather, the PGM-FI relay, under the hot, sun-baked dash, is the prime suspect. When the engine stalls, or doesn’t start in COOLER weather, the DISTRIBUTOR goes to the top of the suspect list. ++ These problems can be tested for; (expensive) parts DON’T have to thrown at them. +++ There is a web site which your “mechanic(s)” can go to for the details. It is:


common problem with early 90’s honda. A main relay problem as I remember. It’s come up on the boards a lot but I don’t remember clearly. But cheap to fix


To see how well the Search function works (located in the red bar at the top of the board page), I clicked on it and put in “honda start”, and clicked Search. Some of the responses were pertinent to your problem, some weren’t; but, you can have a look-see for yourself.