2003 Honda Element Element Intermittently Won't Start

Tiny
CHLSMITH
  • 2003 HONDA ELEMENT

Electrical problem
2003 Honda Element 4 cyl All Wheel Drive Automatic 76000 miles

For the third time in a month, my 2003 Honda Element has failed to start. This morning, I had to swap cars in my driveway, so I moved out my other car, backed the Element out, and put the other car back. When I got back in the Element, it wouldn't do anything.

No lights come on inside the car at all (no dash lights, dome lights, etc.) No sound is made when I open the door with the key in the ignition. The brake lights, flashers, and horn all work. When I turn the key, there are no sounds made whatsoever and the engine doesn't even attempt to start.

This has happened two other times. The first time, I replaced the battery, to no avail, but after a few hours, the car started. The second time, it failed next door to a dealer, so they pushed it into their garage. They found nothing wrong, but suddenly it started just fine. I took it to a Honda dealer, who said there were no errors in the event log, no blown fuses, and they couldn't find anything wrong with it.

The only other thing I can say is that today, when it failed, the dials on the dashboard had not gone back to 0. Even though the car wasn't started, the RPM dial still showed that it was at 1000 RPM. Also, the gas gauge was down to show 1/4 tank, as opposed to going all the way to empty like it normally does when you turn off the car.

Any ideas here? I don't want to keep paying diagnostic fees to just have the dealers tell me that everything is fine.

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Sunday, March 1st, 2009 AT 7:44 PM

28 Replies

Tiny
KHLOW2008
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Hi chlsmith,

Seems you have a bad ignition switch or power supply interruption to it. It could be a loose connector from main fusebox underhood to the ignition switch.

Intermittent problems are not easy to diagnose and problem has to be there to find the cause. I would suggest checking wiring connectors first, llok out for signs of overheating and loose connections.

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 AT 10:12 AM
Tiny
CHLSMITH
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The mechanics at the dealer think they have figured it out. The main 100 Amp fuse had a hairline fracture. Since the car wouldn't start, they were able to actually see the problem and get an error code to tell them that it was a fuse problem. They replaced the fuse and all seems to be okay.

Now it's only been 24 hours since I got the car back, so it may happen again. It sounds to me, though, that you were on the same track.

Thanks for your help!

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 AT 12:26 PM
Tiny
RABL1014
  • 2006 HONDA ELEMENT
  • AWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 117,000 MILES
  • MERGED

WHEN DRIVING MY VEHICLE YESTERDAY, THE BATTERY LIGHT WENT ON. AFTER A SHORT WHILE MY WIPERS SLOWED DOWN, THE RADIO WENT ON AND OFF A FEW TIMES, AND LIGHTS DIMMED. I BORROWED A CHARGER FROM A FRIEND AND CHARGED THE BATTERY FOR 2 HOURS, AND WAS ABLE TO START THE CAR. THIS MORNING, THE CAR WOULDN'T START. THERE WAS PLENTY OF JUICE TO HEAR THE RADIO WIPERS WORKED FINE ETC. WHEN I TURNED THE KEY, THERE WAS NO SOUND AT ALL.

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
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Have the battery checked for condition including load test. Autoparts do for free

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
LIZDAN
  • 2005 HONDA ELEMENT
  • 4 CYL
  • AWD
  • MANUAL
  • 147,000 MILES
  • MERGED

Sometimes when turning the key in the ignition, all the dash lights will come on bright but no engine sound, dead silence. It will start after turning the key several times. Battery is good and starter was replaced.

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
  • MERGED

Battery and starter motor are good -next thing to check and test is the starter relay, transmission position switch and ignition switch

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
LIZDAN
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  • MERGED

I hit a deer a few months ago and that seems to be when the problem started. Is there a cut off sensor for front end collisions? You are very helpful

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
AMBERASHBY
  • 2003 HONDA ELEMENT
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
  • MERGED

2003 Honda Element Automatic

When I try to turn the car on, it cranks and makes the noise like its going to start, just doesnt turn over. If I press the gas a little when I try starting, it will usually start. I just replaced the battery last week. What else could it be?

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
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Check and test the coolant temperature sensor and fuel pressure if its within specs-

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
AMBERASHBY
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:) im a girl, with no guy in my life. Is this something you think I can do on my own? If so, how would I go about doing it?

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
HONDA TECH 1818
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  • 548 POSTS
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It could be a bad IAC valve.

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
MEEKMN
  • 2003 HONDA ELEMENT
  • 193,000 MILES
  • MERGED

No start has new starter battery checked good no crank at all no noise nothing lights come on fine with everything else ran a wire from starter to a flip switch with wire from wire on switch started just fine is it the ignition switch natural safety? Please help

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
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Automatic or manual transmission?
Is the security light blinking?

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
MEEKMN
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  • MERGED

Auto trans 2wd 2.4

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
MEEKMN
  • MEMBER
  • MERGED

Green key light is blinking when key is in hear a ticking sound on relay switch (big block fuse) when trying to start an a buzz sound in side car

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
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Sorry I seem t have missed this out. Never did get any notification of any replies made to it.

The green key light blinking means the security system has not been disarmed and this would not allow you to crank.

Check all fuses and ground circuit connections for a start.

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
BRICHMOND3
  • 2003 HONDA ELEMENT
  • 4 CYL
  • AWD
  • MANUAL
  • 148,000 MILES
  • MERGED

Once every few months the engine turns over fine but the car won't start. When I take the key out there is a loud clicking noise from behind the glove box and the key light flashes. After 15 minutes or so the clicking stops and the car will start. I took it to my mechanic andt hey changed a relay behind the glove box but it didn't help

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
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There are a couple of relays behind glove box, 2 are pgm relay 1 and 2 check those for corrosion. It may be a security issue as well so try resetting security system if no manual look online.

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
FMARSH2005EL
  • 2005 HONDA ELEMENT
  • 2.5L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 206,000 MILES
  • MERGED

Replaced starter relay, no start.
Replaced, no start.
Did the key fob security steps, no start.

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM
Tiny
JIS001
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Does the vehicle crank over at all or when you turn the key to the run position it does nothing? Also, did you replace the starter as well? Does the dashboard light up with the key on? Let us know please.

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Saturday, January 7th, 2017 AT 9:58 PM

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