I have a 2002 Honda Civic. I have been having a starting issue with it for some time now. Let me give you one of the common senarios:

I use the car in the morning to go to the beach with some friends. The car starts and runs just fine. I pick up my friends and we go to the beach for about 2 hours. We get back to the car and it starts fine. Then we get to Chipotle to eat lunch. We eat for about 30 min and then go back to the car. The car does not start. When the key is turned, everything sounds good, dash lights up, and the engine turns. However, it does not start. I wait 10 minutes, still nothing. I decide to walk with my friends to the next destination and leave the car sitting for 2 hours. I get a ride back to the car from another friend and it starts....

So, long story short, it seems like the car will only start properly after it has been sitting for a few hours (there are other common stories with this car). I tried one of the relays in the glove box, but that did not fix the problem.

What do you think is the problem???

  • Could be a problem with one of the PGMFI relays. What kind of ambient temperatures do you see when this happens? Does the check engine light come on during key on engine off before the crank when it no starts?
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 21:33
  • After 1996 they required the car computers to log a whole bunch of stuff to make troubleshooting like this a lot easier. You can get a scan tool or an adapter to use your laptop or phone as a scan tool, and pull off those data logs and see what's happening. Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 5:52
  • @Harper unless a code was set you wouldn't have any freeze frame data to view. the most you could hope for is some mode $06 data if you knew the TIDs to look for.
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 13:52

2 Answers 2


my 98 Accord had a rebuilt tranny in it. the guy who did it forgot a couple screws somewhere. long story short, when the car would heat up, the metal would expand and lose contact and car wouldn't start until it sat for a while, letting the metal retract after cooling.

  • Welcome @katymary. Did you ever fix your 98 Accord right, so it would work all the time? The question is about a 2002 Honda Civic, other than coming from the same manufacturer, I am not sure both situations are related, though. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 9:08

'90s Hondas had a relay (which controlled the fuel pump) that was notorious for failing over time and doing so in a temperature-dependent way (hot bad, cold good). A Honda not starting after driving around for a while, but running fine later sounds exactly like the relay is bad. Perhaps this continued until the '02 Civic as well.

Rest of the electrical is fine, so when it happens you get normal crank, just no firing since no fuel.

Nice thing is they're not terribly expensive, so you can usually just replace it on suspicion. But depending on your model, if you have easy access to the fuel pump, put a multimeter on it while the problem is happening. (Might be a good idea to do that ahead of time so you know you can see the correct voltage when the pump is working). Some folks might be able to hear the fuel pump when it's energized and running to aid diagnosis, but I could never manage to do that it my old civic.

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