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engine spins but doesn't start

4934 Views 20 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  proskunetes
Wonder if any other readers have encountered this problem. My wife said she tried two times to start the MDX but no luck. The engine would just sping. Finally, on the third try, the vehicle started. Haven't had the problem since. Wonder what's going on?
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I had that happen to me twice so far... both times it was at pretty low temperatures. What was the temp when it happpened to your wife?

engine spinning without starting

Rail, it wasn't cold...probably around 75 degrees. I've never had that problem. Of course, she drives it a lot more than I. I thought maybe she had flooded the engine due to depressing the gas pedal before starting but she said that wasn't the case. This may never happen again, but it does concern me somewhat.
Add me to the list. It happened to me just last week, the weather was warm, it had rained, we came out after a movie, and it would just spin. I pulled the key out of the ignition, re-inserted it and it was fine. I know that there is a problem if you have to many keys and/or other metal on your ring - but I only had the one key and the Acura Logo plate...
You can add me to the list also. I have only had my MDX for a week and it has happened twice, once to me and once to my wife. It has always been the first time you start it in the morning. It turned over but did not start and then I tried it a second time and it started right up. My wife said it happened to her and she tried 3 different times. I also have nothing on the keys with the MDX key. I sort of suspect the interlocking of the chip in the key and the car. I just got the service manual for the MDX, I think I will look and see if there is a way to test the keys.

Greg in Hotlanta

2001 Mesa MDX
This has also happened to me a few times and without exception it happened after I attempted to start it and just before the engine "fired up" I released the key just a little too soon and the engine did not start. When I tried again it acted just like it was flooded and I had to let it turn over for awhile before it would start again. I do not think it had anything to do with the key chip.

You can add me to that list as well. However, it's been a month since I had that problem. It would also happen when I released the key too early. The second time, it would take a little longer to start. Now, I make sure the engine has turned over before releasing the key, and I haven't had the problem re-occur. (knock on my burlwood shift knob)...
Starts slow

I have had the same problem several times. I noticed the difference as soon as I bought my MDX. I had a 99 TL and it started right up everytime. This is a bit annoying to have happen with a new vehicle. For me it happens anytime during the day and the temp has been fairly warm lately.
Hard start

My MDX had a hard start after being parked on a slopey / curvey street. The front end was above the back (the slope was about 20 degrees) as well as tilted to the right a little. It took 3 tries (!!!) to start. Each time - at least 3 seconds of "screeching" in vain before it actually started, then almost stalled again, but pulled through. The temperature was around 75-80. Maybe a gas pump is not as strong as it should be for this engine?
Twice that I can recall, once first thing in the morning and the second at the end of the work day. I would say it was in the 70's in the morning, low 80's in the evening. I may have flipped the key over the second time, remembering the chip in the key. I've had the MDX for less than a month, each time was in the first week of ownership.
I find it interesting that quite a few of you have had this problem. As I stated, I've never encountered this situation. It happened to my wife twice but never again. Don't know what to make of it. We've got 3800 miles on our "Cruck" and are extremely happy with our purchase. I guess we were lucky. We have a black MDX with touring package and navigation system. Love it. We didn't have to wait at all. We walked into the showroom, saw it on display, liked it, and bought it on the spot. I keep reading these horror stories where people are waiting 3-6 months for their MDX. I'm afraid if I had to wait that long I would buy something else.
Never happened again!

The condition has never appeared after the first week, possibly due to the computer "learning" settings for different sensors. Not sure, it is gone!

Greg in Hotlanta
Re: Never happened again!

Gregc said:
Greg in Hotlanta

Glad to hear you MDX is "learning". Seeing as you live in Atlanta, could you mosy over to the Atlanta/Metro Roll Call and register? Here's the thread.
The MDX has an Imobilizer that prevents the engine from starting unless the "transponder" chip in the plastic body of the key responds with the correct code when queried (via electromagnetic induction) from a circuit in the bezel of the ignition switch.


The version on the MDX will still let the starter spin the engine. The way to tell is to look at the green "key" icon at the top of the right hand instrument cluster (above fuel/temp guages). It will be flashing continuously if the immobilizer is unhappy. (Note it also lights briefly normally after inserting the key and flashes 4-5 times when you turn the key to lock).

After many tries I was able to fool my sensor by holding my spare MDX key alongside as I inserted the key (turned so that tops touched). I then got the flashing icon and the engine spinned but didn't start. Turning the key to lock, and trying again without the other key nearby fixed it. (I did NOT have to remove the key from the ignition switch).

Thus it is possible you symptoms are those of a system that intermittently fails to identify you key. Look the light the next time it fails (but BEFORE you turn the key back to lock!).
Best of luck,
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JR said:
...After many tries I was able to fool my sensor by holding my spare MDX key alongside as I inserted the key (turned so that tops touched). I then got the flashing icon and the engine spinned but didn't start. Turning the key to lock, and trying again without the other key nearby fixed it. (I did NOT have to remove the key from the ignition switch)....
JR, are you and elf89 related :)

elf89 said:
Can you believe I had to try this? Sure enough, mine overflows if you try to top it off, too. Doh!
Sure have to give you guys credit for putting your new babies through these rigorous testing procedures :) :)
Add me to the list

So I've got this friend Brad who drives a beautiful Land Rover. And as guys often do, we banter back and forth about who has the better SUV. As his vehicle seems to spend as much time in the shop as it does on the road, I've always targeted that particular aspect of the Rover for my own entertainment purposes when extolling the virtues of my service-free MDX.

This past month, I am sad to say, I have lost the upperhand as my always reliable MDX has faultered not once, not twice, but three times.

Insert key, turn key, listen to engine "try" to start.

To eventually get it started required taking the key out, catching my breath, wiping the sweat off my brow, and trying again. This really wouldn't bother me so much however, two of these episodes have occured with Brad as a passenger, and my bragging rights are slowly disappearing.

Anyone know why this occuring or if Acura has addressed the problem?

(5,000 miles on car, no other keys on ring, mild temps, flat surface, nothing unusual about the setting at time of problem)
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Add me to the list. I have only 2,000 miles on the car, but it never seems to start as quickly as a new car should. It seems to spin before turning over the way a 10 year old car would.
Happend to me too. Two times that I recall - once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Parked on a flat street at a temp between 65-70. I've got several other keys on the ring, so maybe that's it. Makes me nervous...
Bringing this thread back--

In March I'll have my MDX for 1 year and I have over 15,000 miles on it. In the past 2 months I had this problem. Today my MDX wouldn't start. This is the fourth time this has happened to me. It's frustrating.

I talked to my parents that just bought a Honda Accord (2002) a couple of months ago and they just went on a trip and they said their car did this twice on the trip.

Does this have something to do with Honda/Acura motors or what? Has anyone else had this to them lately? Usually after 2 or 3 tries it will start, but what if it doesn't? Should I take it in to see if there is something they can fix?
Happened to me once, after a long drive back from a ski trip. Parked it for ~45min during dinner, came back out to start, engine cranked but did not start. Had both heated-seats on, radio on, and heater on when cranking. Could it be battery not having enough cranking power? Or may be engine just needs to be lubricated a little before it like to start in cold? I've ignored it since because I haven't had any more problems since. Temp was kind of low too, which does affect battery's power.

Also had a 3.2TL loaner, brand new with 1000 miles that did same thing twice in one day. Didn't tell my dealer though.
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