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This is what happens when I try to start my car: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU1e2x3pghI

I changed the battery about 2 months ago, and I just went for a tune-up last week. I even tried boosting the car battery, so I don't think the battery's the issue.

I'm suspecting either the starter or the cold weather. Any way I can confirm which one, without towing it to the mechanic?

  • You should be able to take the battery out and take the batter to a parts store and have them test it. If the battery comes back strong I would look at the starter next. If the battery comes back borderline I would probably blame the cold before tearing out the starter or getting a tow. – Becuzz Feb 23 '15 at 17:09
  • Seeing as how cold it has been in Toronto, try this: Pull the battery from the car and bring it inside for a period of two hours so it will thaw and warm up. Then, take it back out to the car, attach it, then see if it will start the car. Also, if you have an engine heater (or block heater), plug the car in for the same period of time. I think your battery is/was frozen. Thawing it out might help. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Feb 23 '15 at 18:19
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When you have the key turned, is that rattling noise the same as when the car was working? You should hear the rumble of the engine firing. Try giving it some gas while turning the ignition. If the cylinders are firing, giving it gas should make it rumble louder and might help it start in cold weather.

If you can only hear the high rattle or whizzing of the starter motor, it is probably:

  • bad starter (or connection to crankshaft)
  • low voltage from battery

It's probably not the latter since you checked your battery recently. Google can help you check your starter.

Oh wait, you know what else it could be?

  • distributor

If your spark plugs aren't firing, the engine won't rumble either. So it could be your distributor or its connections. Try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUOmsGiirTU

If you can get a hold of a diagnostics computer, it might help you.

  • 1
    With an electronic fuel injected car like the Honda Civic, you should not use the gas pedal during start-up as it will screw with the ECM and how the engine runs. This goes for pretty much any vehicle with EFI installed. Worked just fine with carbs, but not any more. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Feb 23 '15 at 23:57
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It sounds like your losing battery voltage I would make sure the battery is tested and fully charged then make sure you have good battery connections at the battery. If unsure just remove both battery terminals at battery and give them a good cleaning If the car has an aftermarket alarm installed check those connections they are spliced into the ignition switch harness under the steering column.

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