How To Test The Starter Motor (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 And 2001 2.0L Honda CR-V)

This tutorial will help you to test the starter motor on the 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 2.0L Honda CR-V.

You can test the starter motor yourself with three simple test. The results of these tests will let you know if the starter motor is defective or not and without having to remove it from the vehicle.

Contents of this tutorial at a quick glance:

  1. Important Safety Tips And Precautions.
  2. Symptoms Of A BAD Starter Motor.
  3. Tools Needed To Test The Starter Motor.
  4. TEST 1: Applying 12 Volts To The Starter Motor S Terminal.
  5. TEST 2: Verifying The Start Signal.
  6. TEST 3: Voltage Drop Testing The Battery (+) Cable.

Important Safety Tips And Precautions

TIP 1: The three tests in this tutorial are all on car tests. You'll notice in the illustrations that the starter motor is removed (from the vehicle), but this is done only to facilitate the explanation of your test connections.

If you have removed it, you can bench-test it and the following tutorial will help you: Bench Testing The Starter Motor.

TIP 2: Before you begin any of the test, you need to make sure that the battery is fully charged. Testing the starter motor will that a fully charged battery will give you false test results that will end up making you replace good parts..

It's also very important that the battery terminals and post be absolutely clean before starting any of the test.

TIP 3: If your Honda CR-V comes equipped with a standard transmission, be sure and place it in neutral before starting any of the test. Don't forget to activate the parking brake.

TIP 3: You may need to raise your vehicle, with a jack, to access the starter motor. Don't trust the jack to keep your pick up or SUV up in the air, use jack stands!

Symptoms Of A BAD Starter Motor

The most common problem you're going to see, on your Honda CR-V when the starter motor fails, is that the engine won't turn over when you try to crank it and get it started.

Another very common type of failure is an intermittent failure of the starter motor. This happens when the starter motor works some of the time but not all of the time. In these intermittent type of problems you'll need to wait till the starter won't crank the engine to test it.

You'll see one of the following symptoms when the starter motor fails:

  1. When you turn the key to start your the engine, nothing happens.
  2. Jump starting the engine doesn't make it crank over.
  3. The battery has been charged and/or replaced and still your Honda CR-V does not crank.
  4. When you turn the key to crank the engine, all you hear is a small knock and nothing else.

As you can see, the theme that runs thru' most of the symptoms of a bad starter motor is that the engine will not crank over when you try to start it.

Tools Needed To Test The Starter Motor

You don't need expensive test equipment to test the starter motor on your 2.0L equipped Honda CR-V. Here are my recommendations:

  1. 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.).
  2. 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: Buying A Digital Multimeter For Automotive Diagnostic Testing.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.