How to Troubleshoot the Starting System on a Honda


Honda vehicles are renowned for their durability and reliability, but time and exposure to weather can cause problems in any vehicle. If your Honda experiences difficulties upon ignition or will not start, you can interpret the symptoms to determine what the problem is and get it fixed. Learning to troubleshoot your starter can save you of money. As the solutions can range from something as simple as a new battery or new oil to major engine work, learning to tell the difference is key.

  • Insert the key in the ignition and turn the car on. If you cannot turn the key to the "Start" position, check the alignment of your wheels. If they are turned to an angle, the steering wheel lock can be engaged. Turn the steering all the way to the left while turning the key in the ignition to bypass the lock. If this does not resolve the issue, use a spare key to start the car.

  • Locate the "Check Engine" light on your dashboard. In Honda vehicles, this light should flash on every time you start the car. If it does not light up during ignition, there is a problem with the engine's computer that prevents the engine from receiving power.

  • Check your battery. Turn the ignition to the "On" position and turn the windshield wipers on. If they move very slowly, this indicates a low battery (extremely dim dashboard lights can also indicate this). A low battery will manifest itself when you attempt to start the car (the starter will not turn, you will hear a clicking sound that comes from the engine and the car will not start). Newer batteries can be recharged, but if your car has an older battery, you will need to replace it. If you recharge your battery and the starter still does not turn, this can indicate a problem with the starter motor or starter cables.

  • Listen for loud noise coming from the engine -- this indicates a lack of oil in the engine. Driving the car in this condition could destroy the engine. It is best to immediately change the oil in this instance. High-pitched noises from the engine can also indicate that a belt that has come off of a pulley and must be reattached.


  • "Haynes Manuals: Honda Accord 2003-2007"; John H. Haynes; 2007
  • "Haynes Manuals: Honda Civic and Honda CR-V 2001-2010"; John H. Haynes; 2010
  • Photo Credit yellow car, a honda japanese sport car model image by alma_sacra from
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