How To Test the Starter Motor
(Honda 1.5L, 1.6L)

How To Test the Starter Motor (Honda 1.5L, 1.6L)

If your Honda 1.5L or 1.6L Civic (Civic del Sol, CRX) does not crank and you suspect a BAD starter motor, this article will help you to diagnose it. You'll be able to either condemn the starter motor as Bad or completely eliminate it as the source of the the ‘No Crank’ condition on your Honda Civic.

In case you're wondering... the starter motor test in this tutorial can be accomplished in under about 20 minutes and doesn't require you to remove the starter motor from your Civic (Civic del Sol or CRX).

To help you navigate this Honda Civic starter test article/tutorial, here are the contents of this article at a quick glance:

  1. Important Safety Precautions.
  2. Symptoms of a Bad Starter Motor.
  3. Tools Needed to Test the Starter Motor
  4. STARTER TEST 1: Applying 12 Volts to the S Terminal.
  5. STARTER TEST 2: Verifying the 12 Volt Start Signal.
  6. STARTER TEST 3: Voltage Drop Testing the Batt (+) Cable.
  7. Related Test Articles.

NOTE: This tutorial covers two different types of starter motors for the Honda Civic. You'll find images of both in the image viewer in each test step.

Important Safety Precautions

Suggestion 1: You'll see that the photos of the starter motor are off of the car... this is only to make it easier to explain the different points that you'll have to probe with your multimeter. When you're performing the tests on your Honda Civic (Civic del Sol, CRX)... don't remove the starter motor from the car.

Suggestion 2: It's important that the battery in your Honda be fully charged to perform all of the tests in this tutorial. Also, the battery cable terminals and battery posts must be clean and corrosion free.

Suggestion 3: If you need to raise your Civic, to gain access to the starter motor -place it on jack stands! Don't trust the jack alone to keep your car up in the air! Take all necessary safety precautions, like using jack stands to hold up the vehicle, wearing eye-protection (safety glasses), etc.

Suggestion 4: If you're vehicle has a standard transmission... make sure that it's out of gear and in neutral, and the parking brake is activated/on.

Symptoms of BAD Starter Motor

The most common symptom of a BAD Starter are:

  1. You turn the key to crank up and start your Honda Civic (Civic del Sol, CRX) and nothing happens.
  2. You got someone to help your Jump-Start your Honda, and this did not get the car to crank.
  3. You've bought a brand new battery (thinking that was the solution to the ‘No Crank’ condition) and this did not get the car to crank and start.
  4. Turn the key to start your Honda and all you hear is a small knock and nothing else.

Although the above list is a not a very complete list of symptoms... the theme that runs thru' them, and any other related symptom, is that the engine will not turn over when the key is turned to crank the vehicle.

Tools Needed to Test the Starter Motor

You don't need expensive test equipment to test the starter motor on your 1.5L, 1.6L Civic (Civic del Sol, CRX)... but you do need a few things. These are:

  1. Jack (if applicable).
    1. You may (or may not) need to raise your Honda Civic (Civic del Sol, CRX) to gain access to the starter motor. Depending on your country of origin, the starter motor may be located in the rear of the engine (facing the firewall) and underneath the intake manifold.
  2. Jack stands (if applicable).
  3. Remote starter switch.
    1. If you'd like to see what a remote starter switch looks like, you can follow this link: Actron CP7853 Remote Starter Switch.
    2. You can either buy this tool online or you can buy it at your local auto parts store (AutoZone, O'Reilly, Pepboys, etc.).
  4. Multimeter or a 12 Volt automotive test light.
    1. If you don't have a multimeter or need to upgrade yours, check out my recommendation here: Abe's multimeter Recommendation (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
  5. A wire piercing probe.
    1. This tool is not an ‘absolute must have tool’ but I can tell you from experience that it makes it a whole lot easier to probe the S terminal wire for the Start Signal.
    2. If you'd like to see what this tool looks like, you find out more about it here: Wire Piercing Probe Tool Review (Power Probe PWPPPPP01).
  6. A helper.

As you can see... you don't need anything expensive. OK, let's turn the page and get starter with the first starter motor test.

Honda Vehicles:

  • Civic 1.5L, 1.6L
    • 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
  • Civic del Sol 1.5L, 1.6L
    • 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
  • CRX 1.5L, 1.6L
    • 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991

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