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I have a 2008 Honda Accord EX 3.5L V6, with 152k mileage.

Sometimes (not always) when I try to start the car, it doesn’t start — there is no crank, the lights on the dashboard and electrics turn on but no crank at all. In some cases there is a small crank but doesn’t fully start, but typically there is no crank at all.

I have a new alternator (installed this month), somewhat new starter (installed Dec 2022), battery has been tested at Honda (reported good).

The way I deal with it when it does not start is that I turn on the car (dashboard lights, etc) and I shift out from P to another gear like N, then back to P, afterwards I crank the car and it magically starts up. This technique regularly works, very rarely does this Not work (1 or 2 instances not worked) otherwise I would probably just keep cranking again and again.

I would appreciate any advice or insights on this, thank you.

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Sounds like a neutral safety switch problem to me.

There's a switch that only lets the starter operate if the transmission is in either Park or Neutral. Sometimes a failing switch will present itself with symptoms such as you are experiencing. It could also be a loose connection to the switch.

I believe the switch is located on the outside of the transmission on Hondas but I don't have a service manual to look at.

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  • Yes, @David Watson has the most likely answer. It would also be a good idea to remove battery cables from battery and starter and properly clean them. Especially since this is an intermittent problem.
    – Jupiter
    Commented Jan 27 at 11:25

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