My issue is similar to this question over here (intermittent crank no start). Though my no-start is now definite and no longer intermittent.

I have had no starts about 60% of the time when I try and start my Honda Civic 97 up, especially on cold mornings, but even when the car's warm. The main-relay clicks, but no crank. Then I'd use an old butter-knife that I kept in the car to link the negative and positive on the starter and make the starter crank over; if the car's warm, it would startup, otherwise I'd swing the key again and pump the accelerator and it would startup.

Last night however, I started the car up with the key (no butter knife) and the main-relay clicked like crazy (like 20 clicks in that couple seconds), but the car started up. Then when I left McDonalds it clicked like crazy again, but no start. Then when I tried the butterknife on it, it sparked like crazy and the butterknife got hot (I was holding a cloth around it, so I didn't burn).

Note: the starter and alternator were overhauled just over a year ago Had to kick start it to get home. What do you guys think my problem is? Gonna go to the auto-electrician this afternoon, but I don't want to pay a ton for something I don't need and also for next time, or if I can fix it myself, I wan to know.

Edit: Okay, this video explains my issue exactly.

  • 1
    Seems like an electrical issue for sure. I'd start by checking all ground wires are nice and tight everywhere you can find on top and below the engine. Check the connections at the battery cable level and the starter cable level as well. You say some thugs or whatever tried to jack your car so does that mean they caused damage to the ignition when they did this?
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    Aug 5, 2016 at 19:04
  • @PIMP_JUICE_IT nope, they just jammed my door lock, couldn't get in Aug 8, 2016 at 9:03

2 Answers 2


First of all, connecting negative and positive connections with a butter knife is called a short circuit. I am surprised that you didn't burn a fuse, start a fire or explode the battery yet. DO NOT SHORT CIRCUIT TERMINALS WITH BUTTER KNIFE! IT IS DANGEROUS (and I don't actually understand why you think it would help?)

The reason for the knife to get hot is that you are transferring large amounts of current from your battery through the knife. It will destroy your battery and may even cause it to explode. Do a web search for 'short circuiting car battery'

In the video you linked, the engine is cranking but engine does not start. So I think it is not related to your

It sounds like your starter or connections to your starter is broken. Perhaps when you touch the starter connections, you inadvertently caused them to move and reconnect properly.

Your question may be duplicate of: Honda Civic Clicks but won't Crank

  • I didn't think it would help... I knew it would start my car; that was my hack to get the starter to turn for almost 2 years on a cold start; but yes, I did blow the battery fuse after I charged the battery and put it back in the wrong way around (it was a new battery, so I forgot that I had to put this one in the other way around) Oct 12, 2016 at 8:08
  • The reason I marked this answer as correct is because I did short circuit the car battery and that blew my battery fuse, so I replaced the fuse and swapped the terminals around to the correct position. I think I also blew one or two more fuses, cos my car's clock and radio no longer gets any power, I'm too lazy to look for those fuses though, cos I don't have a manual for the car Oct 12, 2016 at 8:11
  • You can download the manual from honda pages by selecting your model. I tried for 97 civic sedan and it gave me links to manuals: owners.honda.com/vehicles/warranty Oct 12, 2016 at 14:14

You didn't mention a new battery, they last around 3-5 years.

Check the battery cable connections for oxidation and coke buildup. Either of those will limit the amount of power going to the starter.

Get a terminal brush and a few wrenches and you can clean then yourself.

If the copper cables look green and brittle you need new cables.

  • nope I didn't, but my battery's a couple months old, I bought it brand new, cos thiefs that tried jacking my car earlier this year probably couldn't start it and so they took my battery instead Aug 2, 2016 at 14:26

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