car shuts down -

Go Back > General Automotive > Mechanical Problems & Technical Chat

Welcome to the
If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-05-2008, 05:47 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2
Default car shuts down

i have a 98 civic and every once in a while it will shut off, i lose all the dash lights, and when i put it in park it starts back up.

does anyone have any ideas of what could be wrong with it?
Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2008, 06:18 PM
RonJ's Avatar
Recognized HCF Member

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 9,453
Default RE: car shuts down

First check whether the battery connectors and terminals are tight and clean. Also check for any loose ground wires in the engine compartment, including the one connected to the thermostat housing. Another possibility is that the ignition switch on the steering column is bad.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2008, 07:48 PM
HCF Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 66
Default RE: car shuts down

Welcome to a great site for Honda owners.

Do you know about the Main Relay Problem with hondas?
for those that don't read on.

I will assume that you have followed the standard advice that you are going to get at the outset of any troubleshooting journey. Plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel filter, tune up.

I have a 90 civic that I bought a couple of years ago,
my first honda. Great looking, well maintained ( as in a full folder of info on everything that had everbeen done to the car) 175,000 miles, new for a honda.

I got it for 600 bucks, it was a steal.
Until the weather got hot outside.

When thetemperature was above 80, and you stopped at Quicky Mart,and then tried to restart in 5 min. You never knew if it would start. The engine would crank just fine, but no spark. No CEL, no fault codes, and the fuel pump ran.

Let it cool off for 15 min, it would start and run just fine.

I searched this site and found that there were a lot of people having weird problems with starting and stalling.
A large number of them were related to the main relay.

All electrical power goes through the main relay; fuel pump, ignition switch, ecu, spark plugs. This thing gets hot!
And I mean hot to the touch.

The solder joints from the factory were not that good, and with repeated heating and cooling they tend to fail when hot.
They cool off for a while, and remake connection, and everything works again.

You can pry the main relay apart and reheat the connections and usually fix some starting and stalling problems.

This seems to be an almost universal problem with honda's
that everyone fixes and then forgets about.

There is info inthe problem solve areathat will help if this is your problem. And a lot of the guys here can point you in the right direction.

Good Luck

Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2008, 07:58 PM
RonJ's Avatar
Recognized HCF Member

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 9,453
Default RE: car shuts down

ORIGINAL: me262dave
All electrical power goes through the main relay; fuel pump, ignition switch, ecu, spark plugs.
You are correct when you say that the main relay controls the fuel pump. It also controls power to the fuel injectors and ECU, but not the spark plugs, ignition switch, or most other electrical components.

Click the image to open in full size.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2008, 09:42 PM
Big EZ's Avatar
HCF Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Englewood, OH
Posts: 108
Default RE: car shuts down

i had your problem last summer in my cadillac. i switched the wires to my battery from side post to top post and i didnt get one of the wires tight so it moved around with the vibrations and would loose electrical contact and i would loose everything. sometimes only for a split second, others i would have to drop it into neutral real quick and try to restart it. not fun when you're on the highway. anyway i tightened my ground wires and it took care of the problem. so like ronj said, check your terminals and grounds first then move on from there if that doesnt fix it.
98 Civic, 1.6L, short ram intake, full aftermarket stainless exhaust, 10.2mm plug wires, NGK plugs,
upper front and rear strut bars, smoked halo projector head lights, smoked altezza tail lights, black JDM grill
Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2008, 10:35 AM
HCF Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 688
Default RE: car shuts down

98civ, have you taken the car in for the recall of the ignition switch? you can double check with american honda. you can evencheck it on the website by punching in your VIN #. but it is a known issue for the car to just turn off even at highway speeds and so they will replace it free of charge if yours was not done earlier.
1998 Civic 4DR LX
2011 CRV
For civic service manuals:
Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2008, 02:26 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2
Default RE: car shuts down

thanks for the replies, i will check everything tonight and see what happens.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2008, 04:23 PM
HCF Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 66
Default RE: car shuts down

When you find the problem please post the answer.

RonJ and everyone else are spot onwith checking the electrical connections. Withweird electrical problems the first thing I do is check the connections. Even if they look clean, I still clean them again. it only takes a thin film of oxydation to cause problems. And it's free.

I need RonJ's advice on my problem, and I mean no disrespect. But I need to make clear what I mean when I say that the main relay controles all electrical power.

There are 7 connections on the Main Relay.
They deliver 9 signals, 2 of the connectors have double wires.

Ignition, Battery, Ground, Start Switch, Fuel Pump, and 2 ECU
connections that actually provide power to 4ECU inputs.

After you check all the electrical connections in the engine compartment,if you still have the problem,I would suggest the relay.The relay solder joints are a known problem,and if you lost either the battery, or the ground connection, I would expect the car to die, and perhaps lose power to variousareas.

One of these connections goes to the ECU that controles
spark signal, and so some people have strange spark problems.Terminal 1 and 2 are battery and ground, and these are the ones that I would reheat the solder connections and see if that helped. It's free. Ron J provided me a link to a site that had instructions that solved my problem. Once again with so many inputs, into a known bad connection it only makes sense to take the relay out, pry it apart, and reheat the solder connections inside.

Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2009, 05:37 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: New England
Posts: 1

I know this is an old post but if this helps someone... I was having the exact same problem, well low and behold it is a safety recall issue. Thank you mundy5 for the suggestion, my garage had incorrectly diagnosed the problem, you just saved me a bunch of $$$.

Important Safety Recall: Ignition Switch

Dear Accord, Civic, CR-V, Odyssey or Prelude Owner:

This notice is sent to you in accordance with the requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

What is the reason for this notice?
Honda Motor Co., Ltd., has determined that a defect relating to motor vehicle safety exists in the ignition switch on certain 1997 thru 2000 Honda automobiles. Electrical contacts in the ignition switch can wear prematurely due to high electrical current passing through the switch. Worn out ignition contacts could cause the engine to stall without warning. Although the engine will restart in most cases, if your engine stalls while driving in traffic or at highway speeds, you're at risk of being involved in a crash. Difficulties starting the engine (for example, hard-to-start, stalls immediately after starting, etc.) may indicate that the ignition switch is failing.

What should you do?
Call any authorized Honda dealer, and make an appointment to have your vehicle repaired. The dealer will install an improved ignition switch, free of charge. Please plan to leave your vehicle at the dealership for half a day to allow the dealer flexibility in scheduling.
Reply With Quote

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'01 Civic EX Shuts Down Intermittently PCollen Mechanical Problems & Technical Chat 0 07-08-2014 08:09 AM
98 civic everything shuts down while driving down the road queenlowla Mechanical Problems & Technical Chat 5 07-31-2013 07:18 PM
95 EX stalls and shuts down wiseguy8802 Mechanical Problems & Technical Chat 5 12-18-2010 04:00 AM
Motor struggles and shuts down in the morning...any help!!??? sledneck82 Mechanical Problems & Technical Chat 2 11-29-2009 08:06 AM
89 honda civic, pedal down, car shuts off syedz7 Mechanical Problems & Technical Chat 2 02-04-2006 07:25 AM

90, altezza, civic, downs, engine, honda, ignition, immediately, shut, stalling, stalls, starting, switch, techautoawardspacecom, traffic, turns

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:32 AM.

Honda and the Honda marquee are registered trademarks of the American Honda Motor Company, Inc. Neither American Honda Motor Company nor its subsidiaries or affiliates shall bear any responsibility for content, comments, or advertising. is not affiliated with American Honda Motor Company in any way. American Honda Motor Company does not sponsor, support, or endorse in any way. Copyright/trademark/sales mark infringements are not intended or implied.