My car is a 2006 Honda Civic, about 90k miles, Automatic, new battery about 6 months ago. No issues before now.

Over the last week, it has been starting weakly. By that I mean when I turn the key, it tries to turn over, but almost always immediately fails. I would say about 75% of the time, if you just try to cold start it, it won't go. But if I "prime" it (based on googling of the issue, I turn the key to where the AC and radio power on for 2 seconds, turn it off, and repeat 2x times) it will start up reliably so far. I fear eventually this start-up method won't be enough and something might fail completely. I had thought it was a weak fuel pump, but i'm not sure where to go from here. The contacts for the battery look clean and connected well.

1 Answer 1


The engine cranks when you turn the key but it doesn't fire? Is that what you are trying to say? If so, you need to get a fuel pressure gauge and check the fuel pressure. When to do this is after you have ran the engine. Keep the fuel pressure gauge on the Schreader valve for a while.

What I believe is happening is the anti-flowback is not stopping the fuel from going back to the tank when you shut the car down. This bleeds off the pressure and as such, your car doesn't start when you turn the key first thing. The anti-flowback valve is located in the pump. Only way to fix it is with a new pump in most vehicles.

It could possibly be a leaking injector, but I'm doubting this because the engine will most often fire, but will behave as an engine which has been flooded (from the old carburetor days).

  • Yes, it cranks but doesn't fire right away. I'll try your suggestion and report back, thanks! Also, how threatening is this sort of problem? Am I causing further damage by not getting it fixed immediately?
    – Cory Wolfe
    Nov 27, 2015 at 14:56
  • Not causing further damage for the most part. As long as it starts and runs, it's not a huge issue. If it is draining back into the tank and leaving your injectors dry for a bit upon startup, you're only causing wear/tare on the starter, basically. Nov 27, 2015 at 23:32

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