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Over many years of driving, there may be a few occasions when your vehicle won't start. Understanding the cause of the problem will help you determine whether you can fix it yourself or if you should contact your Honda Service Technician. The following overview discusses some common situations and what you can do about them.

Diagnosing why your engine won't start falls into two areas, depending on what you hear when you turn the key to START (the III position on the ignition switch):

1. You hear nothing, or almost nothing. The engine's starter motor does not operate at all, or operates very slowly.
2. You can hear the starter motor operating normally, but the engine does not start up and run.

Situation One: Nothing Happens (or the Starter Motor Operates Very Slowly)
When you turn the ignition switch to START and don't hear anything, or hear only some clicking sounds, do the following:

All recent model cars have a starter interlock device, which prevents the driver from starting the vehicle while the transmission is engaged. If you have a manual transmission, the clutch pedal must be pushed all the way to the floor or the starter will not operate. An automatic transmission must be in Park or Neutral.

Turn the ignition switch to ON (the II position on the ignition switch). Turn on the headlights and check their brightness. If they are very dim or don't light at all, the battery is discharged. A jumpstart should restart the vehicle. See your owner's manual for the correct jumpstarting procedure.

Turn the ignition switch to START (position III). If the headlights do not dim, check the condition of the fuses using your owner's manual as a guide. If the fuses are all right, there is probably something wrong with the electrical circuit for the ignition switch or starter motor. You will need a qualified technician to determine the problem. Contact your dealer for service.

If headlights dim or go out when you try to start the engine, either the battery is discharged or the connections are loose and/or corroded. Check the condition of the battery and terminal connections, using your owner's manual as a guide. You can then try jumpstarting the vehicle from a booster battery by following the procedure in your owner's manual.

Situation Two: The Starter Operates Normally
In this case, the starter motor sounds normal when you turn the ignition switch to START, but the engine does not run. Check the following:

You may be out of fuel. Turn the ignition switch to ON for a minute and watch the fuel gauge to check.

If you find nothing wrong, a qualified technician can help you discover and fix the problem. Call your Honda dealer, or have your vehicle towed to the nearest Honda Service Center.

Preventive Maintenance
Taking good care of your Honda is the best way to prevent problems. While even the best preventive maintenance won't eliminate all starting problems, it will reduce them. A few ways to keep your Honda running well include:

Check your battery terminals periodically. If they're covered with white or yellowish powder, they're corroded. Clean them with a solution of baking soda and water. Once the corrosion is gone, keep it away by coating the terminals with grease.

Consider the effects of weather. Extremely hot and cold weather put extra strain on your battery. Before winter and summer are too far advanced, ask your Honda dealer to check your battery. If a battery check reveals less than optimal power, consider replacing it before it becomes a problem.
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