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Q: Is there any way to diagnose an intermittent start problem? on 2007 Honda Accord

For years now every so often when I try to start my car after its been sitting for a number of hours, I turn the key, all the electrical systems seem to come on (i.e. gauges and dashboard lights turn on) but the car simply refuses to turn over and there is no sound from the engine. As soon as I turn the key back to off, then turn the key to try to start it again, the car starts normally with no issue. At one point last year my car wouldn't start at all, but it would click when I turned the key. I took it to the dealer and they said I needed a new starter (which was ridiculous for the 65K miles on my car at the time). The car now starts and everything was fine for a few weeks. Then the behavior that I described above started to happen again. I have no idea what to do as of course when I try to take it in the repair shop says they can't find anything or reproduce the issue.
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I understand and feel your frustration,

Yes, there are ways to diagnose intermittent problems but it can be time consuming (costs you $$) and inconclusive - you still pay for testing.

The symptoms you describe are common to starter problems, and although it seems ridiculous that a car with 65k could have a bad starter it is not, it happens, not often, but it does happen. I have replaced all kinds or different parts on low mileage cars over the years. I have even had defective NEW parts. Unfortunately, intermittent problems can be elusive.

I cant give u a diagnosis via email but based on your symptoms, the starter is the best, most likely choice.

Robert Grove, ASE Certified Triple Master, 1996 Automotive Hall of Fame World Class Technician
If it happens again , try wiggling the gear selector while holding the key in the 'crank' position. Try it in neutral also , might help rule out the range position switch.
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Duplication of a complaint is essential to assure the diagnostic is correct. Esspecially a no start condition where retesting is going to be essential. Some engine performance diagnostics are able to be diagnosed without duplication. Using the ECM information and freeze frame data, a skilled technician will be able to determine most likely an engine performance issue. But with the no start condition, most likely the data from the engine computer is not going to be detailed enough to advise with an edjucated guess.

Best of luck, the best thing to do is document when, where and for how long the problem is happening and keep a log to see if their are any common denominators to help the shop duplicate your problem.

Best of luck,

Adam Kalb
ACA Automotive
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