Honda Civic failure to start?

25 07 2007

Apparently if you’re having issues starting your Honda and it’s either a 1988-1991 or a 1992-1995 model Civic, then the most likely culprit is the main relay. The issue never replicates itself in winter. Amazing. Usually you have problems starting cars in frigid cold temperatures because the chemicals in the battery freeze or smth and something to do with the gasoline line etc.

Civics are unique. They won’t start in a warm/hot sunny day. The reason being that the “main relay” connections aren’t as good as they used to be so with the rise in temperature, the wires might expand and completely miss each other. Here are some tricks you could do to start your car if you have that problem.

1. Gun the engine rapidly a few times.
2. Put your car in neutral and have someone push the car while you attempt to start the engine.
3. Turn the key on the ignition one click clock-wise and wait for the beep sounds. Then look at the instrument panel display and wait for the “Engine Check” light to disappear. The moment it disappears, you can start your car. Now there’s been a coupla times when that didn’t quite work but it usually does.
4. The best remedy is to replace your main relay. They cost anywhere from 30-60 bucks and is located below the steering wheel near the fusebox. You can do it yourself or have it professionally done and it shouldn’t cost you much.
5. Or if you’re poor, try kicking the fusebox panel. It works. Summer’s on it’s way out and you can be happy in winter knowing that you won’t have this problem for the next 6 months.

I’ve had this problem and so did a few friends of mine who had 1988-1995 Civic models.

EDIT 08/07/07: Cmon. There’s always over 50 people reading this dumb post everyday and NOT A SINGLE COMMENT? What is up guys? Just leave a little something for me will ya? You don’t have to put down your real email address. Say something like “” and you are still able to post your thoughts. Where’re all the thank yous? Don’t do this to me.

08/20/07: Thanks DrJazzB!




216 responses

17 08 2007

Kudos on # 4! You’re absolutely correct that that is the best and final solution. However, if #1,2 or 3 EVER worked for you (or anyone else) it was simply coincidence. The solder joints inside that relay will crack and not make contact when its hot in the car. You can sometimes get the car to start by opening the doors and letting cooler air in and/or whacking the kick panel under the fusebox to jar the relay contacts. Also, if you’re too tight to buy a new relay, you can resolder the connections on the old one if you are really careful. Anyway, good post, Slick!

12 04 2010
Michael Fields

I have a 1991 honda civic hatchback that won’t start…I’ve tried all the steps nothing works it is warm here but not hot enought to stop it from starting i wouldn’t think. When i turn the key it clicks but nothing else. I tried the check engine light trick and it turns off right away and I get the same reaction. I’m thinkin it’s my starter but could it be the main relay or is it my starter?

18 09 2011
liko lehua

I’ve been there, if you have a multi meter. You can put the postive terminal (Red wire from the multi meter) on to postive feed on the starter and ground the other terminal(black wire from multi meter). Always have the voltage turned to DC. Check the voltage it should read the same as the amount as the battery. If not then you have a bad battery cable connection. If so then the starter is dead. You can always tap on the starter silanoid and tends to work.

6 01 2013

sounds like your starter

2 04 2014
DJohn NineOneSix

if you heard your engine spin then isn’t the starter,
and if your check engine light turns off normally then Maybe your main relay is bad check fuses

15 02 2017

try to check igniter or ignition coil

20 08 2007

Thanks Dr Jazzb. I forgot to add the kicking the panel section. That seems to help also. Good thing you covered it!

21 08 2007

Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you for the tip!! We had just arrived home from a two week vacation and my car was sitting in our driveway, unused during that time. Our summers here are very hot, so when we tried to start my Civic, the engine would ‘turn over’, but would not start. The car had previously been hesitant to start on hot days prior to our vacation, so when I read your suggestions, I thought “What the heck,I’ll give it a try”.So I took a look at the fuse panel and the relay, making sure that all the wires were still connected, and then I gave the fuse panel a few little kicks, and YAHOO, it started !!
I just wanted to write and say thanks. Your tip saved me at least a few hundred bucks.

21 08 2007

Glad to be of help Mrs T. DrJazzB reminded me of that trick. Do remember that kicking the panel can only help so much and is only a temporary fix to the problem. If you have time, you can swap out the “main relay” yourself. Will take an amateur roughly 3 hours and roughly around 60 bucks or less for the unit itself.

10 12 2007

Thanks. My Civic is doing the same thing and i figured the issues out by trial and error. Took 2 months. Wish I would have read this sooner………..

5 01 2008

Is everything fine? How are you?

8 01 2008

I look forward to trying these the next time my Honda wont start (its summer in New Zealand, so it currently wont start once or twice a week). I have been baffled by this for the past five years.

Will report back

10 01 2008

I’ve been having a similar problem with our 1989 Civic. The car will sometimes (not always) start when it’s cool, but I’ve had to leave it running in the parking lot as I dash into the store. Even that has stopped working, though. Now, once the engine has warmed up, it will just die. Also, the orange engine light stays lit, even when its running. Going nuts about this. So ya think it’s the relay? If you’re right, how come my mechanic didn’t know this? #@!$%%!


11 01 2008

Carlos. You might have more than just a main relay issue. Try and have your battery checked cuz you could be having more than 1 problem. If your mechanic doesn’t know the problem, try taking it to a garage that specializes in imports. I had the same problem. Took it to major garages and they hadn’t a clue. Took it to an import shop and they told me right away what it was because they’re used to seeing that problem.

Final thought here. How long do you plan on keeping your Civic? If it’s for another year or so and you’ve never had to change it, I would be proactive about it and get it replaced regardless. Will cost ya around $30-60 give or take depending on if you did it yourself or had a mechanic do the replacing. You might also need to replace your battery if it hasn’t been replaced in say 6+ years.

2 04 2014
DJohn NineOneSix

so what they told you that was the problem

21 01 2008

could this problem of not stating also be caused by the cold? i hit a pothole and it felt like my power steering went out and now the car will not start

22 11 2013

the hard hit maybe messed up with the main relay

21 01 2008

Problems starting your car in the cold is battery related. Hitting a pothole and losing power-steering and now ignition? Make sure the battery plugs are well plugged and didn’t come off. Also, the fuse box by the battery and under the steering wheel.

The main-relay problem only affects Civics during hot weather.

22 11 2013

nop my 94 civic dx coupe fails to start only after raining days…
hot weather runs fine

29 04 2014
Simon Chorkawyj

Yep same having same issue right now but when I put in neutral it starts??? Any one know why?

4 03 2008

Helloi got a 1995 honda civic dx hacthback and it would start i replace the starter,distributor,fuses,mainrelay,brand new battery,sparkplugs. It crank fine and is sparkling what could be the problem man

4 12 2009

fuel pump. under the seat….

5 05 2016

The disturberter may b bad

4 03 2008

I’m sorry but did you mean you were able to start your car after you replaced a bunch of parts?

2 04 2008
Tim from Col Ohio

Good post! I have a 95 Honda Civic and it decided to just not start after running fine for 4 months. Changed the plugs, wires, distro, rotor and still it will crank but not fire.
WTF……fuel pump in the gas tank……I think I’ll ride a bike.

13 04 2008

I have a 91 civic hatch-back. It runs great and never stall out while driving. After driving 15+ minutes and then turing off the car and try to restart it it will crank but not start and during that cranking I am not getting a spark. I want to buy a part and not waste money on the wrong one. I have read about igniters, main relays, and coils what should I do.

13 04 2008

Depends where you’re at.If you’re in a warm climate and it does that quite a bit, my best bet is the main relay. Don’t quote me on it though cuz it could be anything. If you plan on keeping the car for over a year, I would just get the main relay replaced regardless. It’s all around 60 bucks total and well worth it since this has already been identified as a trouble spot for these types of Hondas.

16 05 2008


i figured it might be something like that cause it used to happen to my grandmas hatch as well, i also had some friends with hatchbacks that did the same. ill get another relay and i hope the issues go away.

Thanks again

5 06 2008

Last week, I bought an ’88 civic wagon & your tip seems spot on. Usually the car starts fine. But if I drive a little, then shut it off where I’m gone for like no more than 5 minutes, when I return & try starting it, the engine will turn over & that’s all. It doesn’t even pretend to start. I figured out if I sit there for 5 more minutes or so, it starts fine. I was baffled ’til I came across your blogf entry.

Definitely sounds like the problem. I’ll have a look at the relay & try resoldering the connections. Otherwise, this 5-speed mt is a bang on the road.

Thanks for the heads up!

17 06 2008

I have a 92 civic dx that is having this problem. i havent done anything about it yet but im prob. gonna replace the main relay. i was told that it is hard to do with a civic. is this true?

17 06 2008

Not really. Took a buddy of mine just over an hour to seal the deed but it depends on how dedicated you are. I let the mechanics try it out on mine because back then before I spread the word, I wasn’t sure what the problem was and used the mechanic’s “gut feeling” take over.

8 07 2008

I have a 90 hatch, and of course having the same issues, will be trying the main relay 2morrow, hey EJ your issue may be the ignition coil

11 07 2008
Common Sense

Thank you this has been frustrating me for years! Replaced a lot of parts when it turned out this was the problem all along. Dang I wish I read this a long time ago. But thanks for solving something my mechanic hasn’t helped with!

29 07 2008

My 89 dual carbies has the same problem. I went to Honda’s parts section and asked for the main relay, but they claimed dual carbies model doesn’t have main relay at all. Is this true? Can any post the main relay part number if this model has it. Thanks in advance!

5 08 2008

Wow..i was confident ( not 100% though) I will get some suggestions on this baffling problem in the net( only diff is I have 2000 Honda Accord Coupe).. Voila here I am reading this post and suggestions….

I thought this happens when ever I park in a slope in a hot day but it proved me wrong when it happened in flat surface also….but only in Hot days like say 95+ as if hot temps are not bad enough I have to literally sweat in the car and it will start after 5-10 mins (like it is happy with your suffering in the heat! :@) …it will start first and die and that’s it..nothing doing after that for next 5 minutes..when i tried to push the car it will start little such problems early in the morning or if I park in shade..i will try your suggestions or replace the relay…it is driving me nuts…thanks I really appreciate your tips!

15 08 2008

Thanks! I have a 91 civic hatchback and was baffled by this problem, couldn’t figure it out and everytime I had a mechanic look at it, it would start like nothing was ever wrong! (which really pissed me off!!) So I’m going to give this a shot.

19 09 2008

Im here in the Philippines and it’s damn hot in here even on rainy days, I have the same problem. My 93′ civic A/T won’t start during hot days when it’s left outside. it’s cranking but wont fire trying it more than 5x. but after leaving it for for an hour or 30 minutes,.. wolaah, one click it will start.. i had replaced distributor, fuel pump, change spark plugs, high tension wires, change timing belt, rpm adjusted but problem continues.. really frustrating.. but at night or early in the morning.. theres no problem,, really just when it’s hot outside and I don’t have a shaded parking space at home and in the office.. I don’t bring it aanymore in the office coz there were time that I didn’t start and had no choice but to leave it there and get it at night or the next day.. How will I know if I need to change the main relay connections and can someone tell me if how can I check if the temperature sensor is damaged and where it’s located. Because I’ve read from another forum that if it’s hot outside and civic won’t start after few attemps, damp the temperature sensor with water and in no time it should start.. please help me.. im really stressed about this.. thanks in advance.

22 09 2008

Hey Gabby. I’m no car electronics expert but putting water on sensors isn’t exactly a smart thing to do in my opinion.

22 09 2008

Hi ninjatales, i don’t know where it is located and don’t know how it looks like. I also think that Civic ESI 94′ model is different from US version. Hope you can tell me where can I find that. soon as i have money i’ll have the main relay replaced.. thank you.. and I will appreciate if you can give me more information.. thank you

22 09 2008

Hope this link helps!

23 09 2008

wow thank you so much for the link ninjatales,, although i really don’t understand the flow of electricity on the diagram but the explanation was clear enough for me to have an idea of what’s going on.. I’ll try to have it soldered or buy a new relay.. thank so much.. i’ll keep you posted.

3 10 2008

I had the main relay replaced yesterday.. and so far so good. Im still waiting for a very hot day and leave my car outside and test if it’ll start coz it’s now rainy season here in the Philippines.. But one thing that i liked the most is that my car doesnt crank anymore… one click and its running.. hope this is the end of my agony.. thanks ninjatales.

4 10 2008
Alejandro Miller

I have the same problem with my civic vtec 95 sohc , in the morning not start but minutes later with the key on ,the check engine is now off and start quickly. I just change the main fuse but is the same in the morning , please help me , thanks Alejandro

[email address redacted for security purposes]

28 10 2008

this session vic now
start my ciis great, i am going to try to

28 10 2008

hey thanks guys, i am going to try to start my car now

20 11 2008

have honda civic coupe auto 1.6 not vtec,1998 model. starts for 2 seconds then stops, you restart it does the same.

20 11 2008

any ideas!!! thanks

22 12 2008

I have a 1992 Honda civic 5 speed & i noticed that when the key is on the on position and the check engine light is on if you try to start it it wont . As soon as the check engine light comes off it will start and run like a champ. Does anyone here think that has to do with the main relay?

27 12 2008

@Procharged: Yes. That was one of the symptoms with my car too before I got the main relay replaced.

27 12 2008

@Ray3ray: Could be a battery issue. If the battery is new, possibly the main relay. What is the temperature like when you were experiencing those problems?

@Alejandro: I’m no car expert but you should get your battery checked! If the battery is old, it will be harder to start when the temperature is cold. Especially during the mornings.

31 12 2008

I just got a 1992 honda civic lx sedan, and have the same exact issue as procharged. I am in MT where it has been cold and snowy, so methinks it is a battery related issue. one of my terminal connectors for battery is slightly corroded (do you think this could have something to do with the issue). nonetheless I am going to look into replacing the main relay, and battery. procharged let me know what fixes your car please if it is not one of these two things. I will do the same. Thanks for all the honda information guys!


p.s. there is not specifically a starter relay on a 1992 honda civic model? if so could that be the issue?

18 02 2009

I have the exact opposite problem, but the same symptoms. When I was living in Arizona my 94 Civic always started right up, and was very happy in the heat. Once I moved to Oregon with colder temperatures and lots of moisture, it has refused to start, and went from the check engine light taking at most 5 minutes to turn off, to now taking about an hour (and that is if it is in the garage).
Thanks for the info! I am very happy to find an easy solution!

18 02 2009

my Honda civic 92 start fine when cold but after running for 10-15 min then can not start. After 10-20 min restart then it run OK.
New part: Distributors assy, Main relay, alternator, startor
Please help. Problem with ECU or MAP sensor ?

19 02 2009

Okay I basically determined the delayed problem with starting is just from older engine wear and tear. I read in a Japanese novel of someone with a honda civic just like mine having to wait for the engine to heat up enough for the fuel injectors to fully function and start. The battery is fine, but a friend said that I should replace my main relay when I have the chance, as he still is lead to think that is the reason the check engine light stays on occasionally when starting. Sometimes it doesn’t stay on at all… sometimes it takes a few seconds to a few minutes. I just have to keep turning keys back and forth a few times to get the fuel injectors going.

22 11 2013

the problem is that the fuel pump isn’t energized…
nothing to do with the engine being worn out or too old or spark plug wires or distributor failures this is about the fuel delivery sector that don’t have anything to do wit the starter or the wheel bearings…
main relay refuses to do the second click..
is 2 solenoides inside the main relay
first click is the solenoid that send positive voltage to the ECM
second click energizes the fuel pump…
we just need to figure out why the 2 solenoide do not engage

30 03 2015

This is my problem with my civic 1997 vti AT. Sometimes the check engine light disappears, sometimes it does not. I have replaced the relay, and yet it still is intermittent

26 02 2009

i have a 97 honda civic lx that stopped on me in the middlel of the road and would not crank back up, when I had the oil changed in the mechanic left a message that when they checked the battery it tested good but a low charge or something ,any suggestions

28 03 2009

I Have a 95 Honda Civic lx, and it is having trouble starting in the rain it seems. About two weeks ago it was raining and i went to go start my car and it turned over but would not start. Ive had my Battery and my distributer replaces, I also had my starter and my wires checked. Well i left it alone for a day for the sun to come out, And after aboutt 3 times it started. And after that it had no problom starting. Now it rains again, but this time it takes about 7-10 trys befor it will start. I do notice when i turn the key over it my SRS, battery and other lights turn on.. NOTE- Normally when i turn the switch i wait for my lights to cut off, when the SRS light suts off it makes a click noise, when it does that my car will start, if it does not make a click my car will not start. Can anyone help?

3 05 2009

it is the main relay but you dont have to buy a new one if you can soilder. the reason the dont start is the soilder points on the top of the relay chip have cracked from them getting hot and cooling down. when they get hot it expands and doesnt make a connection anymore. take the main relay out (it is usually just above the hood latch pull). pull the cover off of it, by using a small screw driver to push out the small tabs. on the side of the chip thats mostly flat except for some soilder points, look at them very closely. there will be usually just 1 with a hair line straight crack going around it. put a drop of solder on it heating it till they melt together. check for other and repeat if you find another. and ur done.

20 06 2009

Wow! This is great news. I have had the same trouble in my 88 Honda Civic that I bought recently, and was feeling bad that something major was wrong with it. I am going to try kicking the fusebox panel to start it today and get the main relay replaced next weekend. Thanks for the info!!

10 07 2009

you can have the igniters check at your local autozone. they do it for free, call yours and make sure that they can check yours. i have the same problem. on cooler days it will run or maybe cut off once. now that it is getting hotter in north carolina it is cutting off 2-3 times a day. i got ecu codes of 1, and 15. o2 sensor( wont cause car to stall) and igniter ( had it checked 3 times and it passed). thinking main relay. 45.99 at autozone.

17 07 2009
Speed Racer

sup pple, i have a 1991 honda civic dx dual point injection system that freaking crashed on me. this is what happened: i went to the store(it was a sunny hot day) when i came out, i tryed to start the car and only my check engine lights came on. the car did not turn on, it did not even crank up. not even onece. then i noticed that my head lights, tail lights any lights but my check engine lights did not turn. i have checked the battery, bought a new main relay (did not work) its just crazy how nothing turns on and i do hear a constant clicking noise left side under the dash bord. any advyse? please help

11 08 2009

Hi, I have a 92 civic. 170,000 miles and always ran awesome. Started it up in a parking lot yesterday, shifted to gear and it died. I turned the key on and the familiar hum of the fuel pump didn’t happen. Soo…. I put a fuel pump in it, nothing. I changed the relay, nothing. I jumped terminals 5 and 7 on the relay and the pump worked when I turned the key. What else could it be? I spent 200 bucks on parts today and I’m very frustrated!!

16 10 2009

I have a 1991 Honda civic i bought it and that same day the battery died and my friend charged it on 20 amps, and now it will crank but wont start. I know it’s not in the distibuter and I have narrowed it down to having no power to the ECU. The check engine light stays on the ECU is not booting up(no click under the dash and no led light on the ECU). I have already bought an ECU for it and still nothing. Where should i look please help.

27 11 2009
Eduardo Santacruz

I think this is my problem but i am not sure
I have a very slow battery drain (works as long as i use the car every day, but any longer and the battery is completely dead.
I try to jump the battery and it takes forever to charge, it has a hard time starting (sometimes it’ll start after the battery is completely charged)

it has a very hard time starting in summer or winter(that’s why im asking)

I’m confused because it happens year round, it gets a spark(maybe its weak) because it’ll start on starting fluid and it will run on it as long as you keep spraying it

17 12 2009

have a 96 civic dx, has a wire issue before, the fuse alternator sp sensor went
keep blowing out, jack the car up found the wire that was under the manifold
took that black metal plating out and the wire was burnt on contact, so
rewire it up, known the car won’t start at all, has new alternator,starter,battery
replace all the fuse, still no power to the ignition, totally dead not a single
power, what could it be, any one?

17 12 2009

it start when jumpstart though everytime, but let say you going shopping,
you turn it off, to lock the car up, come back to start it, it won’t start
have to ask for a jump start from people or pay some lock smith to
jumpstart it for $35 bucks, what a peice of crap any help?

12 02 2010

If you need to jump start your car all the time, the battery needs replacing.

21 06 2013
Jerry Huston

Check the main ground terminal – from the battery to the frame of the car.This got corroded on my car and led to battery problems. Sand the terminal shinny and the frame of the car shinny. So the 2 shinny parts go against each other.

21 12 2009

have 95 civic dx park out side last night in the snow its start in the morning for 3 min and died its crank every thing every thing is new dont know whats wrong

7 01 2010

my 91 honda civic si is having problems starting. it sat for about three weeks through some really cold and wintery weather. i try to crank it but it just turns over and over but won’t fire and start up. what could be causing this. had no problems before it sat

5 12 2010

Am living in jamaica i have a 93 civic car will not start any at all

10 01 2010

I had the same problem with my ’91 DX and I actually opened my main relay and fixed it by soldering the contacts that were almost non existent. Those little wires that are soldered to the panel or whatever you call it just need to be re-soldered if they are melted, as mine were. The whole thing cost me about 2 hours of time.

I have a different problem now! It’s winter here in Canada now and I don’t think the problem is the cold weather because somatimes my Honda starts and sometime it just doesn’t! When it does it fires up normally and when it fails it doesn’t even activate the starter. It doesn’t make any sounds whatsoever. I turn the key and you can just hear the fuel pump and than no starter sound, no clicking, no grinding, nothing! Than I try again and it starts normaly. Sometimes it fails to start after 20-30 tries, and sometimes starts after just a few. I had to push start it a couple of times because I would otherwise be stranded hehe. It seems like it has a weak contact between wires somewhere or something I have no idea…. Anyone have any idea what to do? I’s frustrating me a lot …because I have to go to work and it won’t start and half an hour later it starts like its a different car or soemthing.

6 02 2010
kevin johnson

I have a 94 civic ex and was drivng and it just died.Had the ecu tested and it tested bad,replaced it and still the same thing.It just cranks over and won’t fire. Have no fire to plugs at all.

24 03 2015

Distributor coil, ignitor or the whole distributor there are parts in the dist. that you can’t replace you have to buy a new one 159.99 . I have two honda’s and had to do the same thing too both of them . Put a new dist. on cars they started right up every time .

11 02 2010

Sounds like my starting problem except mine has the problem regardless of the time of year. It is always a problem even in Oregon winters. Still think the relay could be the culprit??

11 02 2010

My usual mechanic thinks I need a new ECM # 37820 pms A550

17 02 2010

So it’s that simple huh, all this time I’ve been putting off taking it in because I was dreading to hear that the cars life was nearing it’s end

9 03 2010

wat up? i have a 96 civic dx w/D16y5 block and a y8 head, not runnin the v-tech rite now. lookin for help, i just rebuilt my motor every thing is connected, bolted and mounted up properly but it wont start. i did check my plugs to see if im getting any spark and nothing, it does turn over though. i did try another dist no differ. one more thing the thermostat should there be any wires (2blk,2brn) grounded to it besides the sensor connecting to it its like the only thing i didnt connect. please help. PEACE

10 03 2010

i have a 1989 civic sedan 1.5l i am getting no fuel to the engine there is no power to the fuel pump or injector the car will start and run every now and then it runs good when it runs but after a day or so i dont get fuel

14 03 2010

Have 92 civic, just lately having troubles starting. Turn on ignition – click click after a few times it starts. If I stop and try to restart the same problem. It does start sooner or later. But prior to this happening, when I turned on the head lights, the dashboard lights delayed coming on for about 15 seconds.

Any relation??

16 07 2010

LB, you have a bad ground. I recommend you clean your posts and attach a secondary wire as a ground. More or less, hook a wire from your negatrive battery post to your engine block, or to the body of the car. That ought to do it.

1 04 2010

try to check the manifold absolute sensor, throttle position sensor and also the water sensor it might help. tnx

20 04 2010

Long time lurker, thought I would say hello! I really dont post much but thanks for the good times I have here. Love this place..

When I was hurt in that car accident my life would be changed forever. Sadly that driver had no car insurance and I was going to be in pain for ever.

This was not time for me to start and guess what to do. I had to find a good lawyer to help me get what I needed. After all, my family was counting on me.

How dreadful was it? I has bedridden for 4 months, I had to have constant care and my clinic bills went through the roof!

Thankfully, I found a good referral site to help me.

I will post more later this week to tell you more about what I have been going through.

If you need an accident attorney try the guys at

4 05 2010

Have a 98 civic ex with a 2000 lx motor. Ha I’m poor. I have a v tec ready. My car won’t start have spark and gas. Notice the beeps stop got no clue. Help please

17 06 2010

Yes, That worked there is a gray realay beside the fuse box. A couple of taps and I was back on the road…. Luck I was at home and had a wirless signal when I found this post. Saving to favorites…

25 06 2010

gud day! i have a honda civic esi. my problem is during my first start in the morning i have to crank it continuously having throttle fully opened for almost 2 min in order to start the engine. anybody can help me? pls….

16 07 2010

Well, I had the same no start problem. Went to several mechanics, all with honest hopes and a theory that didn’t work, from bad main relay to a bunch of stuff. By accident, my alternator went south. It threw an error reading at Advance Auto when hooked up to the analyzer. Seems it threw that error (for just a second) just as it began to start, but registered fully working afterwards. My theory is that the altenator tricked the ECU into going into a no start predicament. Anyhow, after replacing the alternator, the problem went away. Hope this helps……….only took me 2 years to figure it out! Removing the alternator is a pain in the ass, but I recommend you remove it and take it to Advance or Autozone for a free evaluation.

2 08 2010

need help. i have a 93 civic si my car crank but wont start, i have check for spark and it good, replace fuel pump, main relay and ecu but wont start.
so what the problem need help thanks.

23 08 2010

my engine is turning over but not starting? and once in a while itll start maybe in 5 min maybe in 5 hours..i ve played around with the main relay and start sum of the time i dunno if just coinsendence? or is this the problem? and how to you take it out i tried and couldnt do it. i drive a 1992 EG civic

23 09 2010

My engine does this too.. the fact is that i am now trying the comment.

3 10 2010

I have an 88 honda civic dx, and had the same problem. Would turn over but would not crank. I had spark but would not crank. Even though the battery was only a year old and I did the parts changing thing, it I was about to give up then decided to change out the battery just for the hell of it. Problem solved. Seems the battery was not strong enough with powering the starter to provide enough juice for spark.

15 11 2010

I have the same car starts well in the morning but once you stop the engine it won’t start. I have to wait for a long will maybe to it to cool like all these cool guys are saying. What suprises me is that it started resently the day when my mechanic removed the orange engine light which was haunting me 24 seven on the dash body once the engine was working.he also tempered with some wires which were crooked these which goes to the this still the relay issue, or it has to do with that orange engine light or the wires he touched

4 12 2010

i don’t believe you because i work on my honda for a long time and this is the first that it had ever had this happen on me.

Look if the main relay isn’t the culprit what is it then, there must be something with the cold start enrichment? look because it was cold and rain; the Civic will not start everything on my car has been replace spark spark wires, ignition coil, battery, fuse, main relay fuel pump, knock sensor, thermostat sensor, fuel filter, whats up!? i check the engine light connector to get the code and it does nothing!! aite look i want to know what else do you know i know there something else for this dam car to work

dam car shit in front of my house and crank that all it does what the hell!

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16 05 2011
shane 95 civic

.i have a 95 honda civic ex. i had just came out of the store and the car started up. i drove for about 10 feet and noticed that i couldnt accelerate no matter how hard i tapped on the peddle. parked the car and turned it off. tried starting it again and it wouldnt start. it cranks but wont start… any ideas????

24 05 2011
A friend

Ok so a while back my car wouldn’t start & I found out it was either my fuel pump or fuel relay so I changed them both, & it worked drove my car for one day & it died again. I checked to see… if my distributor was sending any sparks to my spark plugs & it was so that wasn’t it & my friend told me that at times the new fuel pumps come bad so I went & got another one & installed it & yet my car won’t start.. I’ve checked all my ground wires that connect to my fuel pump & yet I can’t fined the problem. help

20 06 2011

Hi. Thanks for posting this. I especially enjoyed #5. Im on my way home now to see if it works.

28 06 2011

As I read about Civic/Honda hot start problems I see about 90% of the time it’s the main relay. Apparently heat causes the circuit board on the relay to expand and so cracked solder points develop. My 97 DX Civic began intermittently giving me trouble starting. Problem worsened over a few months and now almost without fail it will start fine in the morning or after it has been sitting and the engine is cool. After engine warms up, turn off the car and try to start again and jus cranks. Sometimes it cranks really fast. What’s puzzling is that if I let it crank and crank it will start right before the battery dies. This is when the engine is warm, doesn’t matter if it’s day or night. I figured, ok if the relay is the problem when it’s hot why not disconnect it and take it inside with me where it’s cool so I did. Drove the car to warm it up, park, disconnect relay and take it with me where it can cool down, come back half hour later with a cool relay, plug it back in, start car… Still won’t start. This is after I resoldered the points on the relay too. Gets even stranger… I’m kind of a troubleshooting “let’s see what happens if I do this” kinda guy. Crank the car, won’t start. Pull up the back seat, let’s see if the pump is working. Pump check! Ok, I wonder what happens if I disconnect the pump? Disconnect pump, crank, it starts!! Of course once it turned over I plugged the pump back in cause the car won’t run without fuel..,DUH! RECAP: replaced fuel filter, plugs, wires, dist., rotor, fuel pressure regulator, resoldered relay, tested for spark=check, tested pump=check, tested fuel pressure to rail=check, cleaned throttle and IACV, tested injectors=check, STILL WON’T START WHEN Engine HOT…. unless I let it crank and crank until the battery almost doesn’t have enough juice to crank at which point the relay starts to crackle then it fires up. Then it idles high and is runs rich. I might have a bald spot from scratching my head. Only thing left to try is just getting a new relay. Hope this helps someone with this same frustratingly elusive problem.

17 07 2011

try dielectric grease on the connections that may solve your problem

1 12 2011

Chris, it’s been a long time, but if you are still having the issue, it seems like the induction coil. When it is hot there can be small leakage between the windings of the coil due to tiny cracks in the aging insulating lacquer of the coil winding wire. This will lower the high voltage and suppress the strength of the sparks. A cold coil will have less leakage and will start the engine. Once the engine is working, in most cases it will keep working after the coil gets hot, even though the sparks will not be strong and therefore the MPG may be lower. You must replace the coil, especially because a total failure may be imminent,,As far as I remember the induction coil in Honda is combined with the distributor, so you may have to replace the entire distributor, not only the cap, gasket, and rotor.

5 08 2011

Thanks for the info!!!

9 08 2011
anthony lazu

ok cool ima try these things when i get a chance thanks for all the great ideas and advice

11 08 2011

Took out the main relay on my 91 HB. Saw a ” Dry Contact” and re-soldered it:) Plugged it in and ran smooth since. My car starts up after 1 turn of the key. Great post

21 08 2011

moral of the story, check your main relay before you spend hundreds of dollars at the mechanics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

26 08 2011

I’ve had my ’91 honda civic for 3 years. last year i’ve had problems with starting my car and figured it was the heat because i live in hawaii and when i parked for work and school it was usually in the sun. But in the last few months i’ve had a lot of problems with my car. in march i had the oil distributor changed because it was broken, then my motor mounts broke and i got them replaced, then i changed my battery in may because i knew i needed too. then just a couple weeks ago i had my starter die on me so i got it replaced. come to find out it was defective and I got it replaced (for free, of course) ever since then my car starts up right away, sometimes and other times it cranks for a couple seconds then starts and makes that crank noise. and today i tried to start my car and then it was just like when my starter stopped working but then i pressed on the brake pedal then it started up. when i got home i turned off the car and tried to start it again and the same thing but then this time it took a few seconds of pressing the brake pedal for it to start. WHAT IS HAPPENING?! HELP ME PLEASE! i work 6 days a week and the only day im off to take my car in, my mechanic is closed… Please help me…

31 08 2011

I have a 95 civic, 16 valve 1.5, I replaced the main relay…
I did this thanking it would fix my problem, but it didnt…
I can start my car and drive anywhere, but once I shut it off it won’t start for at least a hour or more.
What is the cause???

9 09 2011

Dam that’s crazy thanks for the heads up and yeah I’m going to try and kick that sht see if it works lol

14 09 2011
Anthony Bonilla

ok i have a 93 hona civic ex coupe 1.6 v-tec wen i turn the car in first thing in dee morning it starts but den wen i drive it for maybe 20 minutes and shut it off it wont start right up i have to wait like maybe 45 mins den it starts but if i shut it off …” nd try to crank it it will not strat nd nd real bad smell of gas will come inside the car any ideas???

18 09 2011
liko lehua

This was very helpful. Mostly assuring me that what I felt was the problem. My ’92 honda civic VX was running great and then just wouldn’t start. It had been sitting in the sun for a good 2 Hours. It was cranking but wouldn’t start. So I waited till the morning and sure enough, started right up and on its way down the road. Gonna look into getting a new main relay. Thanks for this post, you da man

26 09 2011

What up didnt work

4 10 2011

1998 civic lx automatic. 1.6 d16 non vtec 216k miles….will start but after driven for a few minutes and shut off the car doe’snt get any fire…BRAND NEW DISTRIBUTOR(twice..both brand new), ignition switch replaced about 1.5years plugs..wires are in good shape…but the dist. gets really hot..hotter than the valve cover…but i can poor about 3-4 gallons of cool water on the distributor castings slowly and cool it off and it will start every time..please respond or send me an email i need help on this bad.

30 10 2011

Thanks I’ll try that tomorrow mornen!!!!

2 11 2011

Hey. Same kind of problem. 89 civic and the thing won’t start after running fine. Tends to happen when I drive far away from home. Won’t have any issues driving to destination but when I get back in to start it…nothing. I just replaced the battery and alternator (both were bad) and I’m at a loss for what is happening. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

14 11 2011

Where is the Honda Civic’s main relay???

29 11 2011

ok so iv been looking all over an cant find anything on what could be wrong with my car, my car wouldnt start(but cranks) checked everything from spark to fuel pump. main relay was only ckickin once so i did the fuse panel trick. it worked! i drove and got a new one. changed it out and still wouldnt start.main relay only clicks once and check engine light stays on…what to do what to do?

1 12 2011

Many complain of starting problems in hot weather or while the engine is still hot. I gave one possible explanation to Chris (scroll up). Replacing an aging ignition coil (combined into the distributor, I think) may solve your problems. Overheating new distributor may cause even its new coil to develop leakage. Therefore the reasons for an overheating distributor must be found and eliminated before you need yet another new distributor. Could be a faulty new distributor, lack of lubrication, or questionable mounting by whoever did the job.

12 12 2011

hello people im new to this site i have a 89 civic hatch i keep haveing a problem with the fuse box under the hood on pasenger side it keeps burning out on me so far i replace it 3 times when it goes bad it seems like the battery is dead but everytime that i had replace it the car started up fine please help dont know where to go from there.ty

5 01 2012
brandon steakley

Main relay by fusebox!! U can Google and jump it!!

5 01 2012
brandon steakley

Pretty good info!!!

10 01 2012

I have a 92 Honda prelude 2.3. I have a problem gettn it to start, it will crank, but will not start. I have spent lots of money tryn to fix this. I have replaced the ignition coil, battery, alternator, distributor, fuel filter, plugs and wires, checked the fuel pump, it is workn fine. Can u please help me?

18 01 2012
Syed shah

Thanks for the post, i have the same problem with my civic 94. But its otherway around, it starts well in summer but gets worse in winter. This morning after switching on the key i had waited for 7 minutes to let the “check engine” indicator disappear. Do i have the same issue , should i get a new main relay ??

21 01 2012

Before you waist your time and money let some one who understand cars get an instrument and check the car. This is very important or you will be making the wrong diagnostic and you will be putting parts on your car that the car dont need.

22 01 2012

94 hoda civic lx…. Did what you said on your post and it worked. I changed the distributor and the car would not start so I looked it up and found your post, I put a small heater under the relay box to warm it up and taped it a few times cranked the engine and it started right up. I wanted to say that you saved me time and money, Thank you……

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2 02 2012
jennifer lowe

have a 1992 honda accord lx and changed battery alternador, main relay and still wont start,

17 02 2012

I’m one of the people with this problem, but it also happens when it rains and the air is rich with moisture, i replaced the main relay but it didn’t help, it was a used one though, but it did work in my friend’s 92 hatchback (i have a 4dr), weird problem. Every summer i spend between 15 and 30 mins for my car to start so i can come back home from work, in the mornings i wake up 30 mins earlier and leave the key in the third position from the ignition switch so that way when i have to go the engine light has desapeared by then. Beats having a high car payment and a high monthly insurance payment, and it gets me abt 34 mpg

20 02 2012

great! thaks a lot. i am not a mecanic and i had my car start without a professional help.

28 02 2012

I’m gonna try all this. Iv replaced almost everything and my Honda still won’t start. Wish me luck

29 02 2012

Besides the main relay wat else, I m getting two faulty Codes 6 & 15 the ECT sensor & the no Ignition signal

9 03 2012

when i crank my honda civic i feel spark when i touch the valve covers
why is that cranks no start

18 03 2012

Okay ive tried all of ur suggestions and even went as far as to retrace all wiring from fuse box to other side of firewall…. still own a gigantic japenese paperweight! Grrrr fml!

4 04 2012

Thanks fella’s have the same problem 89 prelude. NEVER REPLICATES IN WINTER.. HELLO. Priceless info,thanks again

8 04 2012

I have a 95 civic and sometimes it starts fine but lately it takes about 5 to15 min to start. I turn the key to one click and wait to hear a beep. After the beep sound i turn the key and it starts everytime.but only after the sound.if i try to start it before hearing the sound or beep it will not start.i think it might be main relay or fuses

2 05 2012

i have a 92 honda ballade/civic 160i. my car starts fine when cool but as soon as it warms up it does not idle and its shuts down, and starts up wheni its cool, even if i push start it, its does start after sometime but dont idle. what could be the problem. im in south africa, a new relay from agents is R900. please help me. my email

15 05 2012
Jon Hopkins

Thank you for your help!!!! You have do many suggestions, Thank You! I’ll let you know what worked next time my car won’t start.

23 08 2012

Thanks a million pal, I just had this starting problem exactly 1 hour ago, I had to sit in the parking lot at work for 25 min. The car just kept turning over but won’t start, this happens infrequently, and I thought it might have been the fuel pump. I will try to change the relay as you said and update you if the problem persist. Trick. 92 civic si hatch.

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17 10 2012

My civic ran in the morning came out for lunch started it drove home eat and went back to the car and it didn’t start?

17 11 2012

I just got a 1988 Honda civic hatch ef and it runs for like 10 min but while ur holding down the accelerator its not accelerating and then like 5 seconds later it accelerates and it’s repeats what can it be?
I changed main relay..
Fuel pump sounds good
Fuel filter is good
Plz help

20 11 2012

You the man buddy shit jus happened 2 me @ the local malls parking ,,an just me an my lill daughter in the car,Woudlve been a shit one if I had to be stuck here ,,THANKS ninja

5 01 2013

My 93 civic ex died on me while driving it I’m not getting any spark or any power to my fuel pump I kno the pump is good and I have changed the main relay anyone have a idea of what it maybe

2 03 2013
Madhava Das

Until I got a new replacement, I had my master relay hanging down and would pry it out of it’s holder and find and put it in a refrigerator or freezer. That would make the waiting time much less.

21 04 2013

I just bought an 89 Civic, I live in Salem, Oregon and right now the weather is just chilly and rainy. I drove the car for about 10 minutes or so, brought it home let it sit for a couple hours and went to start it & all I got was cranking. Then after trying for a little bit to start it, it finally started. Drove it to the store (2 minutes away), shut it off, ran in REALLY quick, then it wouldn’t start. A couple guys tried to help and they got nothing but cranking also. After sitting about 30 minutes (about 10 with the hood up), it finally started up. Could this be the main relay?

3 07 2013

Well i got a 97 Honda civic hatchback and bought a brand new fuel pump, fuel filter and spark plugs as i put them all up there was no power to the fuel pump so i went and got another main relay and power was restored but now there’s no power in the distributor i keep cranking the car but there’s no fire…but before i changed everything the car was starting alright now that i change those things it won’t start …. what you think might be the problem..??

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I need help. My 98 honda civic si. (1.6 vtech D16) is running like shiiit. it starts fine. but when you start driving it it will bogg out like its shutting itself down. or losing fuel and fire. changed all ground wires, didnt fix the problem and the fuel pump as well because at first the fuel pump wasnt coming on. someone helpp 😉

28 01 2014

had same problem wirs that lead to the back of key ignition worn out changed it works great now

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I have a 1993 honda civic 4dr auto. Something is killing my battery it sounds dead but a few minutes later my car cracks up its been like that for the pass 2weeks since its been cranking up i really didnt care but know it crank n cranks but nothing so my battery dies i jump it n it crank n cranks n nothing, so when to auto part n got stating fluid n it sounds like its goin to turn on like twice but nothing n i saw a lil smoke i touch my starter n is super hot any ideas. Has new wires, spark plugs and a new distributer n a new fuel filter since i change the new filter i tought that was it i put more gas on the car. But i un hook the fuel line that goes to the filter n crank it up n nothing comes out! You think is my fuel system? I need help asap please!!! And i live in florida its stupid fucking hot in here

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6 09 2013
johan hi need help please no sign of insrument lights come on when switching on ignition. main relay remove and fit in to another verchile and start but in first verchile no spark where can I go looking is 96 honda ballade 160i fuel inj

Problem above mention please

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27 11 2013

I have a 1995 Honda civic ex and I’m having a problem similar to this but my car doesn’t start because the fuel pump takes several minutes to prime… what could be the cause?

27 11 2013
Tia Niles

We replaced so many things on my daughter’s car before we narrowed the issue to either the fuel filter or pump. Finally someone “jumped” the pump by taking out the main relay and engaged the pump directly to figure out it was definitely was the relay. My opinion, if you have any issues like any on here..always try the relay first, lol

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28 01 2014

it was the ignition cables

2 04 2014
DJohn NineOneSix

I have the same problem
94 civic dx coupe automatic d15b7
car fails to prime fuel pump during rain or after rain taking from 20 seconds to 30 minutes
I figured out ECU don’t ground pin #8 of main relay
checked grounds
checked fuses
check ecu circuit board and replaced capacitors 14 and 19
checked for power in yellow/black wires of injectors
tried 5 different main relays
tried different ignition switchs
and the problem persists

11 04 2014

A25 and B1 they are interconnected inside the ECU and you should find 12 positive volts wen you open the key,
D1 full time 12 positive volts,
and some of these pins A23,A24 and A26 logic ground are interconnected inside the ECU
B2 is a logic ground and isn’t interconnected with any other pin inside the ECU,
ECU chassis do not supply ground to the circuit board and is not connected on any way to it,
All four ground wires A23,A24,A26 and B2 run from the ECU to the junction ground bolt at the thermostat housing and you shouldn’t have a lot of resistance between the battery negative and these pins
Use common sense…
If you’re testing for positive your ground is the negative terminal of the battery and if you’re testing for negative your power is gonna be the positive of the battery…
You can check for continuity between a23 a24 a26 and b2 or if you checking for resistance clamp one probe to the battery negative and use the other probe with a23 a24 a26 b2.. make sure the connectors are getting good contact with the ECU pins

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1 09 2014
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30 09 2014

Renton, WA. 1991 Honda Civic, 5 yr ago rerplaced a 4 yr old battery that required a jumper to start the car when turned off on short trip. 3 mo later car occasionally refused to start though it cranked every time – turned out that alternator was ok most of the time but at times not working properly so it took a while to fix. It was a loose wire connection, a screw not tightened enough inside the alternator; fix that and no problem for next 2 yr.

Then when car ran over roadway pothole it quit running randomly a few times that resulted car refusal to start though the fuel pump sounded activated, not cranking at all. Replaced the ignition switch that its plastic part where the tip of the car key rested had worn out. No problem for over 1 yr.

Then car was back to occassionally refusing to start and/or quit running, no cranking. After replacing a slightly damaged distributor/ignition coil everything good for over 1 yr.

Last month car twice quit running and refused to start though it cranked. It started each time after waiting almost 1 hr. Replaced the fuel pump relay which got no visible sign of defect other than looking old – dark ring look around every solder spot. Installed a new fuel pump relay and now been all good for 3 wk.

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11 10 2014

i have a 1990 honda civic lx with a no crank no start issue .i replaced the main relay, nothing . i was advised to check ignition coil. it looked worn, contact point bad, replaced it , nothing . im not getting power to my starter ? fuses good . any more suggestions ?????

12 10 2014
John brugh

I have a 94 civic I have replaced everything that has to do with fuel and fire. My fuel pump is making a loud noise and my damn car still won’t start any ideas

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15 11 2014
Jennifer Sanchez

It wont start only when its too cold -__- and it irritaes the F**** out of me .-.
I still love it but its starting to get annoying

19 11 2014

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5 12 2014

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7 02 2015

I changed the main relay a while back.
No Spark. and
No voltage to my distributor
so I think its the little plastic relay under the key is shot. Its currently stuck.

Oh yah. It quit right out while I was driving and hasn’t sparked since.

No spark. I hear the fuel pump working.

I replaced the distributor cap, wires (I made mistake and bought cheap crappy ones so they were in poor condition and required replacement.

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29 03 2015
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23 06 2015

My Honda Ballade 1992, won’t start when cold esp morning or after an hour or two, unless I keep my accelarator padle down while cranking the engine

13 10 2015

I’ve done everything fuel pump filter New distributor cap and rotor New main relay plugs wires timing belt and still won’t start any suggestions

2 04 2016

Thanks bra

28 05 2016

hey, thanks. not enough appreciation these days. please keep helping those that care.

2 07 2016

I have a 92 hatch.and the key won’t start it but I removed a wire from seloniod and start by touching the 2 contacts ..any ideas what it could be ..0lease help

12 02 2017

…..10 years later ……….thanks dude

30 04 2017

My civic 90 hatchback starts and turns right off. Fter the third time then it stays on not just in the morning it does that thru out the day i changed the fuel filter and it still does it

7 06 2017
Donna Adams

92 civic DX 1.5 changed distributer,2x”s,plugs,wires,rotor b.,main relay,won’t start.has reddish yellow spark,tried the turn one click wait for check engine to disappear. One turn of switch NO LIGHTS COME ON.PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

7 06 2017
Donna Adams

Just don’t Bother answering Me!!!!??!

7 06 2017
Donna Adams

Somebody please help me with this car!!!!
92 civic DX,1.5- won’t start. Changed distributer,plugs,wires,rotor button, Mai rekey,had it running several times(ran day WONT START.PLEASE HELP!!! CALL ME 470-439- 5462(DONNA).
DONNA, 470-439-5462

7 06 2017
Donna Adams

Somebody please Help!! Tried the turn switch first click,wait for check engine to disappear.Turned switch first.,. Nothing lite up on dash panel, it beeps,don’t hear fuel pump click on anymore.Help!!!
Call me (Donna) 470-439-5462.what fuse or relay?? Changed main relay

7 06 2017
Donna Adams

This is my final comment!!!like I’ve repeatedly ask PLEASE CALL I HAVE NO DATA ON THIS PHONE!! WWICH MEANS;

3 07 2017

Awesome! Its actually amazing post, I have got much clear idea regarding
from this post.

11 07 2017
Tonya Holmes

I would like to say Thank You on behalf of my Cuzn because it’s his Honda that’s broke down

6 08 2017

How do you tell if the main relay is bad

25 12 2017
Thomas Fuentes

Hope that is it. Ghnx

23 01 2018

Thanks for posting this my 1988 Civic been having this issue didn’t know what to do but I’m going to change my main Relay

23 01 2018

Thank you 😊

7 05 2018

Have this problem with my 1992 CRX Del Sol.
Today it was parked in the sun and just refused to start. Could hear the fuelpump didn’t run.
Waited the whole day and in the evening when the temperature dropped it started just nicely again. I could hear the fuelpump running as soon as I turned the key.

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