Honda starters don't wear out too often, which is sort of incredible when you consider just how many parts of a starter that can fail. The ring gear can be stripped if the vehicle owner tries to start a car that's already running. The contacts in the starter relay can wear or corrode. Starter motors themselves can overheat if used for more than a few seconds at a time, windings can develop dead spots, the pinion gear that engages and disengages the starter motor can fail, etc.
Here's what you need to know about diagnosing and repairing your starter.
If you hear a screeching sound when you try to start your Accord, your starter is the likely suspect.
Here's a quick test: turn your headlights so they shine onto a wall and watch your dashboard when you turn the key. If the lights do not dim and there is a whirring sound, then it is the starter. A clicking sound without the whirring noises from the starter would indicate a solenoid or battery problem.
You can test the battery with an Ohmmeter - it should be putting out 10 volts, at the least. If it is not doing that, then the battery is the problem. Put a jumper cable on the positive terminal, ground the other, put the other positive end on the post to the solenoid and see if that will crank over the motor. Take care when doing this test.
Also, make sure your Accord does not have any anti-theft devices that can be interfering with the starting of the vehicle.
How to Pull the Starter
If you need to replace the starter, you will find it to be moderately easy to take it out and reinstall. It is held in place by three bolts and mounted on the top by the firewall.
- Do not start working on the starter until the vehicle is cool to the touch because you will be near the engine and exhaust. Place the vehicle on a smooth, dry surface where you can jack it up and safely work under it.
- Disconnect the battery ground.
- Disconnect the starter wires.
- Unbolt the starter from the block by using a wrench. Hold on to it in order to keep it from dropping on you.
- Use paint or chalk to mark the ring gear points and the equivalent spot on the hole. Turn the engine one full revolution with a screwdriver while checking the ring gear’s teeth.
- Check for broken teeth -- if you find broken or damaged teeth, you have problems other than your starter.
Replacing the Starter
- Generally, the problem is the bendix gear, which is the armature that presses it in and releases it from the ring gear. Rather than trying to fix a problem on a starter, it is just as cost effective to replace it.
- In order to install the replacement starter, reverse the removal steps. Make sure that the marks on the ring gear match and put the starter back on. It may require you to turn the starter gears manually to get them to mesh.
- You should not need to do any shimming, and the replacement starter should come pre-greased and lubed. Make sure that when you replace the bolts that you torque them to the requirements set forth by Honda. Your new starter may even come with new bolts.
- Reconnect all your wires and lower the vehicle.
- Your vehicle should start properly now.
If you run into any problems or cannot solve the issue, then contact your local Honda dealership for assistance. Remember to always use real Honda parts during replacement to avoid premature failure and damage to other components.