2003 Honda Accord • 2.4L 4 cylinder 2WD Automatic • 100,000 miles

My car has an intermittent cranking problem. I've had two new Costco batteries in the last year, and both do the exactly the same thing. Every once in a while, the thing just goes rrrrrrr. And after a while, it finally starts. Sometimes you have to wait for several minutes before it will miraculously start, in the meantime the engine will barely crank, or not crank at all.

Unloaded voltage on the battery is about 12.6 volts, and with the system running, it's over 14 volts. Today it was dead for about 5 minutes, then came back like a champ. Tried running the headlights on high beam with the engine off to load the battery down. Let it discharge for 10 minutes, but after that it still started like a champ, turning over immediately.

Any ideas as to what it could be?
June 17, 2014.

Either you have a bad connection at the battery (terminals corroded or loose) or the ground from the battery to the engine block is loose or corroded. Or, the starter is going bad.

Thanks for the response. Terminals are squeaky clean. Ground looks good, too.

Can a starter be intermittent like that, and just 'come back' like nothing ever was wrong?

Jun 17, 2014.
Yes, starters do that because they wear on the inside (field winding) and can make contact on and off. Also, the solenoid can cause it on the starter. Try something stupid for me. The next time it doesn't start, tap on the starter with a hammer. (Not too hard) See if it works then.

Also, before purchasing a new starter, you should remove it and have it bench tested. Most parts stores will do it for free.

Great feedback. Thanks again for your replies. You guys are really helpful.

Jun 19, 2014.
We're glad to help. Let me know how things go for you.