How To Test: The Ignition Switch (Honda Accord 1998-2002)

How To Test The Honda Ignition Switch (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L)

Testing the 1998-2002 Honda Accord ignition switch can be done easily with a multimeter and I'm gonna' help you do just that with this tutorial.

In a nutshell, testing the ignition switch involves checking the continuity of certain terminals, of the ignition switch's connector, while the key is in certain positions.

Symptoms Of A Bad Ignition Switch

Your Honda Accord's ignition switch does quite a few things like: connect the starter motor to the battery, provide a method to turn on (or off) electrical power to accessories like the radio, power windows, etc.

So, when the ignition switch fails, you could have one or several symptoms. The most common one I've encountered has been that the car simply won't start.

Here are a few other symptoms you may see:

  1. Your Honda doesn't crank (in other words, the starter motor doesn't activate when you turn the key to start the engine).
  2. Accessories don't work with the key ON or in RUN. Accessories like:
    • Radio.
    • Dash lights.
  3. Your Honda cranks but won't stay running unless you hold the key slightly forward.
  4. Smoke came out from under the steering column's plastic covers (before the problem started).
  5. Everything works (headlights, wipers, horn, radio, power windows, etc.) but the starter motor won't crank the engine.
  6. The car cranks but doesn't start.

The following tutorial may also be of help if you're experiencing a no-crank condition:

Honda Accord Ignition Switch Test Basics

How To Test The Honda Ignition Switch (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L)

Your Honda Accord's ignition switch has 4 positions. These are: LOCK (Off), ACC, ON, and START.

Although the ignition switch has slots for 6 wires, the switch itself only has 5 wires.

In layman's terms, the ignition switch simply ‘opens’ or ‘closes’ certain circuits (wires) together as you rotate the ignition key to crank and start your Honda.

This action of ‘opening’ or ‘closing’ those circuits will either let current pass (or cut it off) from one wire (circuit) to another.

Using the illustrations in the image above, here's a brief description of the circuits that make up the ignition switch.

  1. Terminal labeled #1: empty slot.
  2. Terminal labeled #2: white wire.
    • This is the BAT circuit.
  3. Terminal labeled #3: white w/ black stripe wire.
    • This is the ACC circuit.
  4. Terminal labeled #4: yellow wire.
    • This is the IG2 circuit.
  5. Terminal labeled #5: black w/ yellow stripe wire.
    • This is the IG1 circuit.
  6. Terminal labeled #6: black w/ white stripe wire.
    • This is the START circuit.

With these basics, let's jump into the next subheading and get testing.

Testing The 1998-2002 Honda Accord Switch

How To Test The Honda Ignition Switch (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L)

As I mentioned before, testing the ignition switch isn't hard and in this section I'll show you how.

I'm also gonna' give you a few suggestions and important safety precautions you need to take to get the job done without complications.

Take the following safety precautions:

  • IMPORTANT: Make sure that you have the anti-theft code for the radio (you'll need to re-enter it when you get done testing the ignition switch).
  • IMPORTANT: Disconnect the battery negative cable and wait at least 3 minutes before you start your tests. This is an air bag safety precaution.
  • Conduct the ignition switch test with the transmission in park.
  • Activate the parking brake.
  • Probe the back of the ignition switch's 6 pin connector. In other words, avoid probing the front of the connector. The image in the illustration show the front of the connector just to make the identification of the circuits a little easier.

To test the ignition switch:

  1. Unplug the ignition switch's 6 pin connector from the driver-side fuse/relay box.
  2. Place your multimeter in Ohms mode.
  3. Using the illustration below:
    1. Your multimeter should register continuity between.
      • LOCK position: NO CONTINUITY between any terminal.
      • ACC position: continuity between terminal #2 and #3 only.
      • ON position: continuity between terminals #2 thru' #5 only.
      • START position: continuity between terminal #2, #5, and #6 only.

If continuity doesn't exist where indicated, then the ignition switch is bad and needs to be replaced.

How To Test The Honda Ignition Switch (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L)

Save Money On Your Honda Accord's Ignition Switch

Your Honda Accord's ignition switch is sold in just about any local auto parts store. So, if you do find that the ignition switch is defective, you have a pretty big selection of places to buy it from.

If you want/need to save some bucks, take a look at the link box (with the ignition switch offer) on the left of this paragraph and compare prices.

I used to buy everything at my local auto parts store till I found out it was usually more convenient and always cheaper online.

If you're wondering if the ignition switch in the box is the correct one for your particular Honda, don't worry. Once you click on the link and get to the web-page, they'll make sure it fits. If it doesn't, they'll find the right one for your vehicle.

More Honda 2.2L, 2.3L Tutorials

You can find a pretty big list of Honda Accord tutorials in this index: Honda 2.2L, 2.3L Index Of Articles.

Here's a small sample of the tutorials you'll find in the index:

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Honda Vehicles:

  • Accord
    • 1998,