Car sometimes starts, sometimes not, and also cuts out during driving, I’m assuming this is due to same cause.

Mechanic said there is fuel starvation and perhaps fuel pump is not working and that I could only change part and see if it fixes issue, if it doesn’t I need to change another part.

I have noticed the following when starting the car, Maybe it can help u help me diagnose properly. When I put key in, from off there are 3 turns for the key.

First turn always clicks. Second turn usually clicks and I can hear fuel pump, however on a few occasions I haven’t heard the fuel pump. When I don’t hear fuel pump the electronic windows don’t work either. Even if I hear pump and windows work, on third click engine sometimes cuts out, sometimes it doesn’t. Even if I hear no fuel pump and windows don’t work on third click sometimes engine starts and windows start working.

Today I cut out and was repeatedly trying to start. I noticed no fuel pump sound or windows move on second turn and car wouldn’t start on third turn. However I then noticed provided I held key in on third turn and not let it go back, car would stay on and windows would work and I could even drive but I had to keep the key on third and prevent it from going back.

I’m guessing it’s not a fuel pump issue since why would electric windows not work on second click or require holding on third click if it was a fuel pump issue.

Anyway based on the above does it suggest I have a problem elsewhere like an ignition relay? What part might it be?enter image description here

  • Does holding the key in the crank position always work? What happens if you pull the ignition switch off? Is this reproducible?
    – Ben
    Mar 12, 2019 at 0:30
  • Looking at your recent questions in context, i would suggest to get a new car. Your civic had quite an accident somewhen in the past.
    – Johannes_B
    Mar 14, 2019 at 8:30

1 Answer 1


Almost certainly the ignition switch - they carry a significant chunk of current and over time the arcing between the contacts causes a black burned like residue to build up. This causes intermittent completion of the circuit and the symptoms you describe (the fact that holding it in position 3 "fixes" it is a dead giveaway).

It's possible to take the switch apart and clean it up which should alleviate the symptoms, the switch should be held under the steering column by two bolts, it's white and round (maybe 3-4cm diameter).

  1. Disconnect the battery (you're mucking around with a high current circuit and in the vicinity of the airbag, believe me you don't want the airbag going off in your face while you're working on the steering column!)

  2. unbolt the switch from the steering column assembly

  3. There should be 4 plastic clips holding the main body of the switch together, release these carefully with a small flat head screwdriver.

  4. separate the two halves of the switch (carefully - there's some small springs inside and you don't want one of those to decide to ping off into the car!)

  5. you need to take the springs and the metal sliding bit out (this is in the "cap" half of the switch)

  6. You should see 4 raised "bumps" on the metal contacts of the sliding bit - if I'm right these will be blackened with carbon residue, clean them off with a light sandpaper.

  7. Do the same to the metal contacts in the "base" half of the switch

  8. Reassemble

It's not a job for the faint of heart and if the contacts are too badly corroded it may not be sufficient - in that case you'll need a replacement switch.

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