Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What’s wrong if nothing happens when I turn the key to crank the engine?

asked by on

What’s wrong if nothing happens when I turn the key to crank the engine?

When you turn the key in your Accord, you expect the engine to crank. If everything’s working normally, it does. However, if nothing happens when you turn the key, or you hear clicking sound (or a series of clicks), it means something’s gone wrong. You can actually do a couple of things to troubleshoot this yourself.

  • Make sure that the car is in park or neutral. The engine won’t crank with the transmission in any other position.

  • If you have a stick shift, make sure the clutch pedal is pushed to the floor.

  • Turn your ignition on, then turn on the headlights. Check their brightness. If they are dim (or not working at all), chances are the battery is dead and you’ll need a jumpstart.

  • Turn the key to III and check to see if the headlights dim. If they don’t, it means there’s a problem with the ignition or the starter. If they do dim (or go out), the problem lies with the battery. It’s either dead, or corrosion is preventing it from working correctly.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. What’s wrong if nothing happens when I turn the key to crank the engine?

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

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: It's run and everything but motors leaks oil I keep putting oil in and it keeps running but what do you think the problem is

Most likely it is a gasket that is leaking. To accurately locate the leak, a visual inspection of the engine is required. Oil leaks can be hard to find, especially if the engine is very dirty. I suggest cleaning the...

Q: How do I make a call with the HandsFreeLink?

There are two ways to make a call using the HandsFreeLink® (HFL). You can either say a phone number, or you can call a number programmed into the HFL system. To make a call to a phone number: ...

Q: After I got a passenger window installed by Safelite all my doors and trunk keep rapidly locking and unlocking while there is power.

The wiring in the door could be shorted to the door or they may not be hooked up properly. If the wiring is good, then the BCM (Body Control Module) may need to be flashed (reprogrammed). If you need further...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...