Honda Odyssey Won’t Start—What To Do?

There's nothing more frustrating than being in a hurry and having your vehicle not start. While the reasons for this inconvenience can be many, there seem to be only a handful of causes that are the culprit most of the time. Should you be driving a Honda Odyssey that won't start, we can help you identify the cause. We researched the Honda Odyssey from numerous professional sources, so that you'll have a definite answer as to the cause(s) of your delay.

The vast majority of the time, the Honda Odyssey will not start due to the following reasons:

  • The battery is dead
  • The fuel pump is faulty
  • The battery connections are corroded
  • The alternator needs replaced
  • The starter is faulty

Now that we know the most common causes for the Honda Odyssey not starting, we'll take a closer look at the causes and how to address them. You might also be wondering how long the battery of a Honda Odyssey will last or how you can start this minivan with a dead key fob. How much does a starter cost for the Odyssey? How many years can I expect the alternator to last? For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

A Honda Odyssey emblem photographed up close, Honda Odyssey Won't Start—What To Do?


Why your Odyssey won't start and how to fix it

Above, we outlined the most common reasons why your Odyssey won't start. Let's take a closer look at each cause and how to remedy it.

The battery is dead

The most common cause of your Odyssey not starting is a dead or drained battery. Maybe you left your lights on while you were parked, or perhaps the dome light stayed on while the car wasn't running. Even if you are always careful, batteries will also drain over time and lose their ability to start your vehicle.

Try jump-starting your Odyssey's battery. You can do this with the assistance of another vehicle or with a self-contained jump start kit.

A white Honda Odyssey parked under a bridge

If the Odyssey is able to start afterward, then you've solved the problem. Just make sure you allow the van to run for at least 30 minutes prior to shutting off the engine, as it will take about that amount of time for the battery to fully recharge.

If the battery you just jumped is more than three years old, it might be time to look at getting it replaced. Batteries won't last forever, and if you've let it run down before, it might be severely weakened. A battery shop or your dealership will be able to test it to make certain.

Checking the car battery under the car hood

The fuel pump is faulty

Any standard engine will need fuel to start up. The fuel pump is a vital part of this process, as it forces fuel from the fuel tank into the fuel line and into the engine. If the fuel pump quits working, you'll need to get it replaced before your Odyssey starts again. 

There are warning signs that your fuel pump is starting to fail that you should watch for. If you hear a loud whining sound from the engine when it's being started, this is a tell-tale sign. If your vehicle sputters or doesn't seem to want to operate as well in higher temperatures, then it's definitely time to get your fuel pump looked at by a mechanic.

Isolated photo of a fuel pump on a white background

The battery connections are corroded

A quick look under the hood will show you whether or not your battery terminals have built up corrosion on them. If this corrosion is built up too much, it will interfere with the function of the battery.

Should you see it built up on your terminals, it should be removed. Taking the terminals off your posts makes this easier to clean. Use gloves to avoid skin irritation.

A corroded battery terminal in the engine

The alternator needs replaced

The alternator is what keeps the battery charged. If your alternator is faulty, then your battery will not be able to hold it's charge long enough to start up your engine. 

As with the fuel pump, there are some warning signs that your alternator is starting to fail. You can hear it squealing upon starting, in some cases. You might also notice that your headlamps flicker.

There will be an alternator indicator warning light on your instrument panel when the alternator has failed on more modern vehicles. Getting your Odyssey to start up again will mean replacing this vital part. 

The starter is faulty

Lastly, a common cause for the Odyssey not starting is within the starter itself. If the dash lights come on, but the engine won't make a sound when attempting to start it up, it's probably your starter. You might also hear a clicking sound when you try to turn the engine over. 

While there are ways an experienced person can start a car with a bad starter, it's not advised for you to do so. Get your starter replaced as soon as possible, so you can get back on the road.

Isolated photo of a car fuel pump

How long does a Honda Odyssey battery last?

As we pointed out earlier in this post, batteries won't last forever. Over time, the lead battery will lose some of the needed fluids due to evaporation, weakening it.

Under perfect circumstances, you can expect the battery for the Honda Odyssey to last four to five years. But if you've repeatedly drained the battery (by leaving the headlamps on, for example), you can expect your battery to last even less time.

Your battery should be inspected at regular intervals to ensure it's not building up gunk and debris on the posts or terminals. During this inspection, your mechanic will also check the cables to make certain that they are still in good shape. A routine battery test should also be performed so that you will know that your battery still has useful life left in it.

How do I start my car with a dead Honda key fob?

A black Honda Odyssey displayed at the car show

If the battery in your key fob is dead, there is still a way in which you can start up your Odyssey's engine. First, however, it could be that your key fob battery is just really weak. Hold the fob up to the start button, as it may have enough energy to relay the signal. If it starts, no problem. Just get the battery replaced as soon as possible. 

If it doesn't start, then you've got a dead key fob. At this point, you'll want to access the physical key that is stored inside the key fob. Using your fingers, pry the fob open by inserting your fingernail in the slot. When the fob opens, you'll be able to not only replace the dead battery but you'll also see the physical key.

Use this key to gain entry to your Honda. Locate the slot for the physical key to start your Honda. Depending on the model and model year of the Honda you are starting, it could be on the steering column or near the shifter.

How much does a Honda Odyssey starter cost?

Replacing the starter on your Honda Odyssey will depend on your location, as well as the year model Odyssey you are driving. On average, it will cost between $450 and $700 for this service. This cost includes the part itself and the labor expense.

How often to change the fuel filter on Honda Odyssey?

A light gray Honda Odyssey displayed at the car show

The fuel filter of a vehicle doesn't need to be changed near the frequency of the oil or air filters. This vital component of your vehicle can last up to 80,000 miles under perfect circumstances.

It's recommended to get this filter changed long before this mileage amount, however. Look for changing it out every 50,000 miles or so.

How long does Honda Odyssey alternator last?

On average, you can expect the alternator on the Honda Odyssey to last well over 100,000 miles. Under the best of circumstances, Odyssey owners had reported that their alternators had exceeded 200,000 miles before they needed to be replaced.

Earlier in this post, we listed several warning signs that your alternator might be failing. Pay attention to these, and get it inspected as soon as possible should you notice any of the symptoms. As you will need a functioning alternator to start your Odyssey, making sure yours is always in working order is critical to staying on the road. 

In Closing

While there are a number of reasons your Odyssey won't start, the most common reasons are easy to identify. Some you can remedy on your own, while others will require immediately replacing parts. Take care of your Odyssey, and pay attention to the warning signs we outlined for certain parts to be on the verge of failure. Immediately addressing these issues might keep you from getting stranded unexpectedly. Drive safely!

If you found this post on the Honda Odyssey to be helpful, we believe you'll enjoy reading the following posts about this popular automaker's minivans:

Is the Honda Odyssey AWD? [Other Systems Help Keep It Stable]

What are the Honda Odyssey Interior Dimensions?

Honda Odyssey vs Kia Sedona vs Toyota Sienna

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