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Weak start

Hi, I have 07 accord. Started with weak starting (cranking). Replaced with new battery, and still the same. Finally, it was not cranking at all. So I changed the battery one more time, since with in 30 days. Same symptoms/issue. Finally I had it towed to local mechanic. They replaced starter, problem was gone and ran great. 5 months later same problem is back. The same mechanic said it is not starter. They checked battery also and voltage is fine. While testing they said the grounding of the battery was not right, so they fixed that. Now the negative terminal is connected to the body. And they also connected a ground wire from starter to the body …same location as the battery is going to. That appeared to have done the trick. How ever, a week later Same problem/symptoms are back. Slow cranking, eventually won’t start…no crank. Then I would wait about 2 minutes it will have more juice by then and try again to start. The crank still is very weak but chances are it starts…so far it does. I am afraid it will finally just not start…just like when I first had it to the mechanic…when they replaced the starter. Please give suggestions , ideas on this. Thank You!

This sounds like a case where the mechanic did not or could not do a thorough analysis. Electrical trouble shooting is not Rocket science. We had similar trouble with our Nissan and it turned out to be a defective replacement starter; the shop replaced it no questions asked.

Thank you Docnick for the reply. I have the same feeling, that it is the starter, it is unfortunate the mechanic is saying it is not the starter. I am afraid if I take it back to them at this point, they will blame something else for the cause.

Could this be something draining the battey?

Does the time between when you last used the car and the start attempt have anything to do with the weak start? In other words, if it sits for a few days, does it barely start, as opposed to sitting a day?

Thank you BillRussell. That is something I will have to try out. So far I have been starting it everday. It does seem like there could be a short somewhere that drains the battery when it is off and sitting. One point I did not post was when I got the car back after the starter was replaced, the check engine light went on right after I pulled out of the lot.i went back the next day to the mechanic and he said it’s a coincidence it happened now, but oxygen sensors go bad after 100k miles. I have almost 130k miles on it now. I have never had the check engine light on ever in the car. So currently the check engine light is ON, which is due to oxygen sensor. Can this be causing the weak start?

No, an O2 sensor should not cause a weak start. It may give you poor mileage and make the engine run a bit poorer so you should get that fixed. Its relatively cheap and easy to fix.

You should have the mechanic check for a drain on the battery first. If that checks out, since you’ve had the grounds fixed up, the next thing to check is the positive cable to the battery, the big red one. If all is OK, then the starter is most likely the culprit. I think you’ll find it is either a drain or the positive battery cable has a high resistance.

Ask your shop to do a couple of voltage measurements at the starter, during attempted (& presumably weak) cranking.

  1. At starter motor battery terminal, between that terminal and the starter case.
  2. At starter motor “start” terminal, the thinner wire, again between that terminal and the starter case.

If both measure 10.5 volts or more, and it doesn’t yield a good healthy crank, the problem is the starter motor. If either measures less than 10.5 volts, the problem isn’t the starter, but something before the starter. Possibilities for that include

  • battery is bad
  • battery isn’t fully charged like it should be b/c of bad alternator or phantom current drain
  • battery connections to starter or chassis
  • ignition switch
  • under dash or engine compartment starter relay (if equipped) – this is not the same as the starter solenoid.
  • clutch or transmission safety switch

One problem of diagnosing this problem is that it can be caused by a combination of things. Like it might be 15% a discharged battery, 25% a bad battery connection at the post, 35% starter solenoid contacts, etc … mechanics do a test called a voltaqge drop test to determine what all the sources of the problem are, and which order they are. But that test is somewhat time consuming so might cost some $$$ to have done,.

I honestly just think your battery is going bad. Have your battery tested, and if necessary get a new battery

Great “toy” to immediately see the battery voltage. Only a few bucks for this voltage tester at a car parts store or online. I have a similar one for $8 and love it. Plugs into your cigarette lighter. Don’t have to fiddle around with a multi-meter.

Thanks for all the great advice. I ended up taking the car to the dealership for diagnostics. I knew they they will charge me the diagnostic fee if I had not gotten it fixed by them. They took like 2 days , and did check on the wiring from battery to starter, as u also suggested georgesanjose, and told me they are still checking, and that voltage seems fine. Finally on day 2 they said it’s definitely the starter, which I think mustangman u also suspected. They would tap it and it would start right up. I paid them the diagnostic fee, because they were charging $900 to put another starter on, although they were giving 3 years warranty on it, which is really good, compared to the local shop I went to, which gives only 1 year warranty. The dealer put on receipt, starter was malfunctioned, showed this to the local shop that had fixed it in the first place. They honored the warranty, and replaced the starter. And my accord is back to normal. And oh yeah get this, remember my check engine light that was on due to Knox sensor when they first fixed the starter, the same mechanic said he will fix it without charge, without me even asking him. So it’s running much better now, and no check engine light on. Not sure if he felt bad that he couldn’t diagnose that it was there starter that went bad, or the so many trips I made, finally I gave up and went to dealership, that he fixed the Knox sensor for free. Which I find hard to believe, since Knox sensor cost at least $100, why would he spend from his pocket. But I am happy they were able to help me out, although I did lost $140 at the dealership for diagnostic fee.

My guess is that he failed to reconnect the knock sensor or oxygen sensor, which ever may have been the problem when the starter was first replaced.

Exactly what brand of starter did the shop install . . . ?!

I hope it’s something halfway reputable

I’d hate for you to have the starter fail the day after the warranty expires, and you’re almost back to where you started

$900 for a starter? Sounds like robbery to me for 2 hours of work and a starter that costs maybe $150

Some people are willing to pay more for a starter or repair to avoid having to repeat the same repair in 5 months.

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it’s a friggin starter, not a space rocket

Exactly that is my fear as well. Not sure what brand it is. All u can sat is it definitely does not sound like the cranking of a honda, but almost like a German car.

Yes, because the local shop cost around $400 with 1 year warranty. The dealership was $850 but with 3 year warranty.i now wish I should have just may be gone with the dealership.

An OEM 4 Honda starter for the 4 cylinder engine is $481, how much is a space rocket?

A Honda-labeled starter with 3 year warranty is going to cost way more than some house-brand part

More expensive labor rate . . . I won’t go into the reasons, because I don’t need to. We’ve been through this many times

More expensive parts prices . . . no explanation needed, I would think

That 3-year warranty also costs . . . but it might be worth it, if the cheaper starter conks out early, and does so numerous times

A guy I knew bought a store-brand alternator with lifetime warranty. It literally had to be replaced every year. He was the one doing the work, so he didn’t have to pay any labor. But it got real old, real fast

In some cases, a significantly higher parts price is well worth it

Good for you OP for getting the problem resolved. Starter motor on an Accord, cost to replace? Concur w/Nevada above, around $500 for the part (OEM, from dealership), and around2 hours labor. So around $700 depending where you live. If that’s all they did. But I expect they did some other stuff as well, some add’l diagnostic time maybe. So $900 isn’t too far out of line to get the Accord back to reliable operation… If you need reliable starts, an OEM starter motor installed by the dealership might cost a little more, but will probably improve your odds. And it can be dangerous if you car doesn’t start up & run every single time you need it to. Money well spent in my opinion.

Now if OP ever wants to go the cheap route in the future, could do what I did last time I replaced the starter on my Corolla. Removed it, took it to an auto-electric shop who installed new solenoid contacts – that’s what usually fails – reinstalled in my driveway, $10 total cost. And 4 hours of my time wrestling it in and out of the engine compartment and driving it to the auto-electric place. Mine is an oem starter too.