Question about 1988 Honda Accord 4 Door

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Unable to crank after sitting

Have an issue with an 88 honda accord being unable to crank at all. replaced the battery but feel like something is draining it.. can place the battery on charge and in a few hours it will turn over and start.. then can use for a while that day but by the next morning, it is dead again.. any ideas?

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Interesting problem. There are a number of things that can contribute to these symptoms: Battery not holding charge, charging system not working, bad/corroded battery and/or starter cable connections, and of course something draining the battery when the ignition is off.

Before doing these tests, make sure the battery is fully charged by disconnecting it from the car and charging it 24 hours with an external battery charger.

Is the charging system (alternator) working? Accords have an idiot light, not an ammeter/voltmeter, so it could be your car isn’t charging and the indicator light is burned out. Connect a voltmeter to a fully charged battery and observe the voltage (should be about 13.8 volts). Now start the car and observe the voltage again, should be higher than before (around 15 volts). If the voltage doesn’t increase at least slightly either the alternator belt is loose and slipping or the alternator is bad.

Are the battery terminals tight/clean? Any corrosion on the terminals or wires? How about the end that connects to the starter? How about the ground wire to chassis? Any corrosion could produce an intermittent connection problem that acts like a dead battery.

The battery may be new…but is it good? Charge it, connect it and confirm the car starts. Then DISCONNECT the battery, let sit 24 hours, re-connect and try to start. If the battery now acts dead maybe it is bad. Exchange under warranty.

And last, something is discharging the battery. First question, do you have any non-Honda add-ons like an aftermarket audio system with a power amp? Audio power amps have a direct wire to the battery for greater power, if the amp isn’t turning off then you’ll have a drain. Try disconnecting such equipment and see if your problem goes away. If that’s not it connect an ammeter in series with the battery with the ignition OFF and start pulling fuses one by one until you find what’s causing the drain.

Hope this helps!

Posted on Feb 04, 2009

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