Q: Van starts right up with first try on cold start, but cranks hard when warm.

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I recently purchased an 05 Honda Odyssey and I was meticulous about looking over everything inside and out. Anyway starting yesterday, it starts right up on the first try, but after driving 30 highway miles to work, I shut it off, clocked in and cane back out to park the van and it cranked really hard and wouldn't start. Tried a couple times and finally just acted like it was dead, wouldn't crank at all. About 15 minutes later, I was about to get a jump but I tried one more time and it started up the first time. I took it to Autozone today to check the charging system and they said everything: battery, starter, alternator, checked out perfectly fine. Got home, did a power steering flush, cranked it on a couple times to test it and the second time I did, same issue as yesterday. Not sure if this can be related, but the power steering is pretty hard when parked or at very low speed, and belt squeals when you first start the engine.

My car has 219000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This may be a sign of a faulty ignition coil. Ignition coils are coated with a varnish-like insulation that becomes brittle over time after being stretched then contracted repeatedly. The insulation develops small fractures that open when heated and close when cooled. When open, they allow shorting of coil windings and decrease or eliminate the coil’s ability to function. This type of temperature cycling happens because every time you shut the engine off, the fan stops running, the coolant stops flowing and the temperature under the hood rises. Every time you start the engine again the coolant flows, the fans turn on, and the temperature drops. When this heat dissipates and is absorbed under the hood, it is trapped causing this cycling effect. Other components that contain heat sensitive materials include parts like fuel injectors, igniters, and some sensors. Any of these may be potentially subject to this same kind of heat cycling problem which can be very difficult to trace. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your vehicle.

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