Why does my Honda shutdown unpredictably?

I drive a 2002 Honda Civic 4 door DX.

In 2011 at intersections, the car unpredictably shut off completely and then restarted ten minutes later - this happened twice, spaced two weeks apart.

I took the car to two mechanics, one a Honda, where they simulated driving and performed diagnostic tests but could find nothing wrong.

I Googled the Internet in search of an answer and ran across a fellow who had experienced a similar shutdown with his car and resolved it by purchasing a new ignition switch. So I tried that, spending over $600 for a new ignition switch with no guarantee that it would work. Everything was find until two weeks when I stopped at an intersection and the car shut down again - the dashboard lights stayed on. A police officer nearby helped me push the car to the side of the road and we then pushed the car back and forth a bit. About ten minutes later, the car started up again as if nothing had happened and everything was OK.

I again took my car to the Honda dealer, but they could find nothing wrong, including driving the car around the neighborhood.

I am a total loss as to what do to. I am reluctant to junk this car because everything else is A-OK. The car drives fine and I love it because it is manual with minimum digital stuff including manual windows. But I cannot afford to drive this car when there is the chance of another unpredictable shutdown.

Any suggestions anyone?

Thanks very much,
Dan Woodhead
San Francisco

Honda guys here have suggested a fuel pump relay under the dash that has a reputation for causing intermittant fuel pump shutoffs. I’m not an advocate of just tryong parts, but it sounds like you’ve tried the correct methods.

+1 to fuel pump relay.
If it quits again before you replace it try giving the underside of the dash a whack with your hand.
If it starts right back up it’s definitely the relay.

The PGM-FI relay usually fails when there’s a sudden temperature change in the interior of the vehicle. So I don’t think that’s it.

I’m leaning more towards a defective crankshaft position sensor. http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=2002336&cc=1386277

This sensor is located on the engine. So when you stop the vehicle heat builds under the hood and causes the sensor to fail. The computer no longer see’s a signal from the sensor so the computer see’s no reason to operate the ignition/fuel system and the engine shuts off.

A quick way to test if that’s the problem is, start the engine cold, and with a heat gun/hair drier point the heat at the sensor. If the engine shuts off, the problem is with crank sensor.


Isn’t this the vintage of Honda that also had known ignition switch issues?

The OP spent $600.00 to have the ignition switch replaced.