Q: I drove through a puddle and my car won't start.

asked by on January 29, 2017

1998 Honda Civic 4 cyl 5 speed. I was driving through a puddle 500 miles away from home and the car started sputtering flashing the CEL. I pushed it into a parking spot and disconnected the battery, then was able to get it started back and drive to a parts store. The diagnostic showed a random misfire and crankshaft position sensor code. I was drying out the connectors and two wires came out of the distributor harness. I tried to clamp them back into the connector but could only get one of them tight. Reconnected the battery and it was running perfect. I drove 500 miles on the interstate back home and went to bed. Next morning it cranked and cranked and cranked but would not start. I purchased and installed a new distributor because the wiring was suspect, and there was no change. Cranks but no start. Should I replace the crankshaft position sensor or is something else causing it to not start? Please help!

My car has 340000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Car is not starting Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

Hello, thank you for writing in. The crankshaft position sensor would cause the vehicle not to start if there was an issue with it. With that being said, there may be a variety of other issues due to the water exposure. Focus on the area that the water splashed up into, as these are the components that are most likely to have been damaged, or lead to another component’s failure. Check the fuse box for any blown fuses as well. If there was an electrical surge, the fuse would be the first to blow in whatever system was effected (assuming the system was protected). You can also test the battery, and listen for the fuel pump to prime with the key in the "On" position. Both of these test are simple steps just to make sure they are not the issue. For more diagnostic help, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

Car cranks but won't start below 10 degrees F

Hello, thank you for writing in. The cold weather is a hard battle to win. There are a few things you can do to help prevent the cold from effecting the engine so much when it drops that low. However,...

98 Chevrolet Tahoe cranks but won't start.

Hi there. If your fuel pressure is normal (35 psi or higher) then check the spark plugs and see if they are getting burn spots. If they have burn spots, then the injectors may not be working. If the fuel...

How much will it cost to replace and install a brand new front bumper for a 2003 Honda Accord ? I haven't gotten any parts yet

Hi there. Unfortunately, replacing a front bumper is not a service our professional mobile mechanics offer; so it's hard to provide you an estimate for this service. You might want to contact a local body repair shop to receive an...

Car won't start

Hello. We will be happy to assist you. A vehicle overheating could cause harm to engine components such as sensors, fuses, spark plug wires, pistons and gaskets. The vehicle most likely overheated due to a faulty water pump and thermostat...

What does it mean if the Vehicle Stability Assist Off indicator comes on?

The vehicle stability assist (VSA) system on your car is designed to help provide better traction, stability and handling during certain driving conditions. However, it doesn’t have to be on, and there are times when you’ll want to turn it...

1998 Nissan Cube (Japan) drive belt part number

The Nissan Cube was not sold in America until 2009. This model was a third generation compared to Japan's 1998 version which was the first generation. You may have to call the dealer or a local parts store to see...

Car seats are extremely uncomfortable

From researching this issue, it seems to be a common concern with a few Honda models. In short, the seats are specifically designed for your vehicle. Seat engineers are tasked with having to meet certain safety standards set by the...

Car stalling when idling

The fuel leak needs to be identified and fixed before you drive it due to the fire hazard. The other problems can be checked after the fuel leak is fixed. The fuel leak may be the whole issue or the...

Car is sputtering while in drive or reverse

This can be caused by a variety of reasons however a common reason for many engines to struggle may be a faulty throttle position sensor or mass air flow sensor. The throttle position sensor is a sensor that monitors the...

Related articles

A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Honda Accord
The The 2012 Honda Accord has a lot to offer. From great fuel economy to comfortable features and a sleek, modern look, it’s no wonder so many people love the Accord. Though, unlike the Civic, Honda has yet to offer...
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You Have 3 or More Kids
If If you have three or more kids, you could probably get by with a mid-size sedan if all you want to do is take them from Point A to Point B. Realistically, though, having kids means music lessons, athletics,...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Honda CR-V
The The fourth generation Honda CR-V was unveiled in 2012 with a total redesign. One of America’s favorite compact SUVs got a new look and a lot of great new features, including an all-wheel drive (AWD) option, as well as...