Have 2003 Honda Element. Beginning about 8 months ago I only drive it on weekends. I turn key, motor would crank, then die, crank then die. Maybe 5 times, then I would turn key and car would start without any problem. Went to dealership and they checked ignition system out found nothing wrong. Told me when you don’t start everyday this sort of thing happens. Sounded like BS to me. Recommended I start it and drive a few miles every day. I began doing this did and starting much better. Now, occasionally, I will still have the same problem. Today I went to get Chinese takeout and I turned key and engine cranked weakly and then nothing. like no engine in car. Tried to start repeatedly and no response. Then I turned key again and engine started like new car.
How old is the battery? Have you had it tested?
I actually think the most recent episode of non-cranking is quite unlike what you described at first (firing & dying several times). That sounds like a lack of fuel pressure. So once you get the battery issue sorted out, when you go to start it after its been sitting, turn the key on and off about 6-7 times before actually cranking the engine. “On” would be where all of the dash lights light up, but before it actually cranks. This procedure will pump up the fuel pressure.
The next time it is running drive it into an auto parts store - most will do a complete test of the battery & charging system for free. You should also probably clean & check your power cable connections.
I actually think what happened is that you got terrible advice from the dealership. The absolute worst thing you can do for the battery and for the rest of the car is just drive it a few miles a day for the sake of driving it. If you don’t have anyplace to go, just leave it alone. A few days of sitting is not an issue at all. Anytime you do start it up & go, shoot for a good 20 mile minimum or so.
Battery’s a two years old. When I went to the dealership I spent $100. and he spent an hour checking out ignition system and assured me battery was not the problem.
thank you so much for your advice. starting today I’ll turn the key on/off 5-6 times before cranking the engine and drive the car 20 miles each day.