Automotive

2002 Honda Accord starting issue - Need advise on repairing

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 17th, 2019 9:28 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 25, 2007
1175 posts
193 upvotes
Mississauga

2002 Honda Accord starting issue - Need advise on repairing

Guys, i have second car which is 2002-Honda Accord SE of 200k clicks.
It started giving me troubles lately (already spent $600 on ball joints and other stuff) such as not starting randomly. i already changed twice the battery from costco which lasted for an year and not again giving the problem
took the car to mechanic and i was advised that alternator is fine and batter is good too..some thing do with computer and better to scrap it.

Not sure if this is anything to do with computer for not starting up. wanted to have 2nd opinion before scrapping the vehicle and buy another used one (which is kind troublesome to find reliable used car under 5k which is my budget).

Any advise from experts...i have to tow to another mechanic today to find 2nd openion..but wanna check here before doing so.
20 replies
Newbie
Oct 20, 2018
6 posts
If it has 200000km on it and the timing belt hasn’t been done you may as well scrap it.
Deal Addict
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Dec 21, 2013
1308 posts
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GTA
mkannuri wrote: Guys, i have second car which is 2002-Honda Accord SE of 200k clicks.
It started giving me troubles lately (already spent $600 on ball joints and other stuff) such as not starting randomly. i already changed twice the battery from costco which lasted for an year and not again giving the problem
took the car to mechanic and i was advised that alternator is fine and batter is good too..some thing do with computer and better to scrap it.

Not sure if this is anything to do with computer for not starting up. wanted to have 2nd opinion before scrapping the vehicle and buy another used one (which is kind troublesome to find reliable used car under 5k which is my budget).

Any advise from experts...i have to tow to another mechanic today to find 2nd openion..but wanna check here before doing so.
If the battery, alternator, and starter are fine, it could be the ignition switch. Especially if it is starting intermittently.
Here is someone with a similar problem on a 2003 accord: https://repairpal.com/ignition-switch-p ... roblem-025

If this is truly the problem, the fix should be around $200.

You may want to start thinking about a newer car as at 20 years old, it's only going to go downhill from here and quickly (suspension, brakes, electricals etc.)
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2007
3259 posts
907 upvotes
Edmonton
Use a meter and have someone trying to start it. Should tell you what's wrong in 5 minutes
warming up the earth 1 gas fill-up at a time...
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Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
2412 posts
1311 upvotes
200k, most likely needs new starter brushes.

Pull the starter, replace brushes, and throw it back together.

That'd be my guess. The brushes wear out over time, and cause intermittent starting problems, until finally it just stops working.
Jr. Member
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Dec 14, 2006
179 posts
100 upvotes
Toronto
Have you checked off the ignition switch unit from your list?
Life is Hard. It's harder when you're stupid.
Newbie
Aug 12, 2019
4 posts
1 upvote
Did the mechanic do any diagnosing on the starting system or just the battery and alternator? If not, you should find a new mechanic. Especially if your mechanic is a dealership, cause of course they're going to tell you to scrap it and buy a new car (from them).

As others have mentioned, it could be a ton of things but starter or ignition switch more likely. If you can reproduce the starting issue, then a multi-meter is your best friend for diagnosing the problem. Starters tend to fail completely and very suddenly (working one day, dead the next). They CAN have intermittent issues depending on which part of the starter is going bad, but it's less common.

Take it from someone who has owned many very old used vehicles and currently owns a truck from 2001 (that I love): If you're not mechanically inclined and you'll be going to the mechanic every time something goes wrong, then for the love of God, get rid of that Honda and get something newer. Not something NEW, but something 5-10 years old. Old vehicles can be a great way to save money IF and only IF you can do 95% of service on it yourself and aftermarket parts are cheap/readily available.

I love my 2001 GMC Sierra and compared to a monthly payment on any relatively new vehicle (let alone a truck), the money I've put into it doesn't even come close. But, I do all the work on it myself, of which there has been a TON over the last 2 years. Some of it was optional/preventative, but it's been a significant financial and time investment nonetheless. I love working on it, i'm always learning something new, and it runs like a top.

BUT: even if I had only done the necessary repairs and maintenance but paid a mechanic to do it all, I'd be way more in the hole and it wouldn't be running anywhere near as nice as it does now. Really old cars (generally) only make financial sense for DIYers and can quickly become money pits for the mechanically un-inclined.

You can try to get the starting issue fixed before selling the Honda, or try to sell it right away and cross your fingers that the issue doesn't occur while potential buyers are looking at it (a bit shady, but buyer beware after all). I don't know how much your 2002 Honda is worth, but if fixing it will cost more than what you can reasonably expect to get for it, then scrapping it or selling it as a parts car may be the way to go if you can't get it figured out on your own.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
6031 posts
1690 upvotes
BC
My advice is to state clearly what happens when it doesn't start:
- strong cranking but engine not catching/running
- strong cranking and engine runs briefly before dying
- absolutely no sound when key turned
- strange sound when key turned but not the usual sound of engine cranking

You are getting suggestions here which don't line up with what the mechanic who was actually able to see and listen to your car said.

Sounds to me like he diagnosed that either failed or failing sensors were causing the engine management computer to cause a no-start condition, or the computer itself was receiving the right signals but wasn't able to process them properly - hence the prohibitive cost of replacing the computer.
Or, he just didn't want to work on it.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 25, 2007
1175 posts
193 upvotes
Mississauga
Guys, thank you so much for all your valuable inputs.
i ended up changing the mechanic, and after the first glance he told me that its some electrical wiring problem and asked me to leave the car to get it fixed today.
He asked me $150 and gives warranty for 6 months. Will get to know what exactly the problem once i go to pick up the car today evening.

Regarding the issue as @macnut asked, the following are my observations
1>strange sound when key turned but not the usual sound of engine cranking
OR
2>strong cranking but engine not catching/running

Basically after boost, it immediately starts and will run without any issues. once i stop it wont start again with above two symptoms and will start again after boost.

Hope the electical wiring issue is the only thing which is causing this and if it gets fixed for $150, then i would want to keep it for another year before i plunge into buying another vehicle (cannot afford this year due to back to back expenses).

@CathyS67019 both timing belt and water pump were done few years ago and ball joints were replaced as well though still some squeaking exists.

Will update the thread once i get the issue fixed and find out whats the actual problem from this new mechanic.
Once again thank you all for the suggestions
Newbie
Aug 12, 2019
4 posts
1 upvote
Glad to hear that OP, $150 is basically the best case scenario you could have hoped for. That's good that you'll have a running car again. If a mechanic can't give you a clear diagnosis, especially with something as simple and common as a 2002 Honda, then a second opinion is a good call.

But once your car is running and in good shape, that's when you can get the most money from selling it. I still really think you should consider selling and buying something newer (depending on your financial situation at the moment). It sounds like you've already had to do some major repairs on it, but as I'm sure you know, the money you put into it for each repair is a sunk cost that you won't get back (especially when you're paying for a mechanic's labor). Don't wait until the next thing goes wrong before selling it.

Or alternatively, start investing in basic tools and learning how to do maintenance and repairs on your Honda yourself, starting with all the preventative maintenance you can reasonably do. Just learning how all the major components of your individual car come together is half the battle.

5-10 years old is the ideal range, and you can find something reliable that most likely won't give you a lick of trouble for years to come if you're careful and shop around.

A personal anecdote from before I learned how to work on cars: my first car was a 1994 Jetta that I bought for $2000. That thing lasted not even 8 months before the alternator died and left me stranded on the highway in Winter. Got it towed, replaced the battery, paid mechanic to replace the alternator, the new one failed again shortly after and I ended up selling it for $400 (less than the cost of the new winter tires I had recently put on it) to some shady guys that buy cheap cars and fix them to sell. I later heard from them that the clutch went out completely like a week later and they cut their losses and scrapped it.

My next car was a 2009 Mitsubishi Galant with almost 200,000 km, and although it cost like $5500, it never gave me a single issue. Drove great, and aside from tires and regular oil changes at a dealership, that thing didn't cost me a cent (and I put a LOT of km on it in the time I owned it). I sold it a couple years later for $4500 because I wanted a truck. That car was a much better investment than the $2000 Jetta.

Just my $0.02.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 25, 2007
1175 posts
193 upvotes
Mississauga
DanielB97750 wrote: Glad to hear that OP, $150 is basically the best case scenario you could have hoped for. That's good that you'll have a running car again. If a mechanic can't give you a clear diagnosis, especially with something as simple and common as a 2002 Honda, then a second opinion is a good call.

But once your car is running and in good shape, that's when you can get the most money from selling it. I still really think you should consider selling and buying something newer (depending on your financial situation at the moment). It sounds like you've already had to do some major repairs on it, but as I'm sure you know, the money you put into it for each repair is a sunk cost that you won't get back (especially when you're paying for a mechanic's labor). Don't wait until the next thing goes wrong before selling it.

My next car was a 2009 Mitsubishi Galant with almost 200,000 km, and although it cost like $5500, it never gave me a single issue. Drove great, and aside from tires and regular oil changes at a dealership, that thing didn't cost me a cent (and I put a LOT of km on it in the time I owned it). I sold it a couple years later for $4500 because I wanted a truck. That car was a much better investment than the $2000 Jetta.

Just my $0.02.
Thanks for valueble suggestions, and exactly what i am thinking to sell while its in running condition for sure. But due to current financilal situation i dont wanted to plunge into another sub $5k car which might be hit and miss lilke your first one. Thats why i wanted to postpone until next year where i can have some 10k to 15k range 4 to 5 years old models.

But mean while i will start searching for some used ones that are known to my in my friends circle instead of buying from strangers.

anyways, can you suggest what are the options that should be focused on with low milage, less maintenance and cheaper resale. If i found some thing in 10k range..probably can tap into my LOC and buy it as i cannot my honda in winter for sure.

quick search is showing Hyundai Sonata Hybrid are in the 10 to 15k range with 100k clicks...or elentra or some other N.American brands which seems to be cheaper than Hyundai like chevy malibu...
I am even seeing Genesis models about 4 to 5 years old are in the same range but not sure about their reputation for used cars.
any leads will be really appreciated rather than jumping all over the places in Kijjiji and Autotrader.
Newbie
Aug 12, 2019
4 posts
1 upvote
Well, if we're talking about the sub-5 year old range, then I would stay away from anything Hyundai, Nissan, or Chevy/GM. Hyundai and Nissan are both "discount" Asian car brands and it shows (Hyundai especially). Google the issues Hyundai has had in the last few years with engines exploding on newer vehicles. And a Chevy Malibu is... well, it's a Chevy Malibu. It's a cheaply made car that will lose all resale value over the course of your time owning it. When you're buying something less than 5 years old, resale value is a real concern. You don't want the value of the car to halve in just a few years of owning it. I would stay away from anything North American as companies like GMC and Ford are moving away from passenger vehicles completely, and are really only good for trucks.

For sub 5-years, Mazda is an excellent option, but probably not at the $10k price. They are extremely well made. Honda is a good second-best. But remember that newer isn't always better. Newer cars are more complex and expensive to repair, and haven't been on the road long enough to know what major design flaws may or may not exist. The story of a major engine or transmission component going out shortly outside of manufacturer warranty is all too common. Not saying you shouldn't buy something that's less than 5 years old, but for $10k you have to be careful. Don't get too fixated on the age of vehicle.

I don't know what used car prices are like in Ontario, but if you can find like a 2010 or newer Mazda 3 within your budget (and obviously in good condition, etc.), then that would be a very good option. The older Nissan Altimas are really solid too, around the 2009 - 2012 age range. Really solid options. A manual transmission car is also cheaper to buy, drive, and fix, and a lot of fun in something like a Mazda 3, so that's also something to keep in mind.

Whatever car you decide on, make sure to research that specific make & model & year before committing. See what common problems people report online and see if there are any common major issues or recalls, and keep those in mind when inspecting the car. You may even want to look into how the manufacturer was doing financially at the time. One of the reasons (probably) why my 2009 Mitsubishi was so well made is because that was shortly before Mitsubishi started going under financially. They've been barely afloat since early 2010's and had no money to invest in R&D since.

And whatever you choose, make sure to take your time and do a good check of all the fluids and get under the vehicle if you can. You don't have to be a mechanic to tell when a fluid has been leaking where it shouldn't. Any private seller that rushes you or won't let you check things mechanically for yourself should immediately set off an alarm in your mind that something isn't quite right. ChrisFix on YouTube has a really good video on what to look for when inspecting a used car, definitely watch that.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Nov 15, 2009
783 posts
216 upvotes
Check and make sure your "Immobilizer System" is working properly. It deals with safety system lockdown. When the failure occurred did you have the Immobilizer System light up on the dashboard? You can do google search on "Immobilizer System" Accord.

http: techinfo.honda.com it won't work (pdf file)

People who suggested Ignition Switch is good one too.

Make sure you don't have anything attached to keychain that would activate or interfere with keyless entry
[OP]
Deal Addict
Oct 25, 2007
1175 posts
193 upvotes
Mississauga
UPDATE: got the car last night and it seems to be fixed now. the mechanic said there were some wiring problem that was not grounding properly or some thing in those lines.
I asked again if there are any issues with ignition or starter learnt from this thread, he said nothing other than some wiring issues.

Though he advised me too sell it off while its running before it gets too late.. he sees some potential transmission issue (jerks on the 2nd gear itseems) apart from ball joints rusting out.
he gave me an year max, thats kind of breather to me so that i can save some dove and start looking for a decent used car.
will start reading used car recommendation threads.
Deal Guru
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Feb 23, 2008
11581 posts
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Brampton
Beige Toyota corollas are highly recommended in this forum!
Lets Go Blue Jays!!!

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