Sometimes Starting

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Hi Bob,
I have a 1990 Honda CRX Si with fuel injection. My problem is that once in a while, the car will not start. It cranks and sounds like it wants to start, but once the key is released, it chugs for a second and dies. To remedy this, we remove the key from the ignition, wait a minute or two, and then try again. It usually fires right up. Sometimes, after it fires up, it chugs a bit during idle, like it wants to die.

Here's some more information that might help. It broke down not too long ago due to the rotor in the distributor falling off. It was an easy fix and we thought this was the root cause of the starting problem, but it wasn't as the problem still occurs. We haven't replaced the fuel filter, fuel pump, sparkplug wires and other things one would not replace in a simple tune up.

I've never experienced the start up problem when I used the car first thing in the day. It usually happens after I've driven it already. But the time interval between start-ups could be ten minutes to over an hour. Any help would be appreciated.

Try this quick fix. When you go to start the car, turn the key and wait a few seconds. Normally the dashboard will initialize (lights flash on and off, speedometer needle will self calibrate, and the like). This usually takes about three to five seconds. Turn off and then repeat. Now, start the car. If the car starts right up, then your problem is priming the fuel system. You see, as the car sits, the fuel pressure drops in the fuel lines and either drains back into the fuel tank or the injectors leak and it drains into the engine. You can tell if the injectors are leaking by removing a spark plug before you start. If they smell like fuel, then replace the leaky injector. If it is leaking back into the fuel tank, then it is either draining reverse through the fuel pump or leaking past the fuel pressure regulator on the return line.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Have a car care question? Visit our automotive maintenance section and see if we've already answered it or a similar question.

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to any newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Parents
Dollar Stretcher Tips
The Computer Lady

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Get Out of Debt