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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I have a 2012 Civic LX and for the past few months, I've had an interesting problem. When the car has been sitting for a while (overnight, 12+ish hours), I have to turn the key for a longer time for it to start, and in some cases, the car sputters/shakes a little before starting up to its idle speed. Once, I left the car for a week, and it took roughly 10 seconds of cranking for the engine to start.

Once the engine's been started, and turned off, it starts just fine, such as when I go to a grocery store or whatnot.

I've changed the battery, and seen no difference. Anybody have any ideas?
 

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Are you running any accessories? My old battery would drain over 3 days because of my remote start system.
 

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If it's a 2012 with the factory battery, that's definitely a possibility. However, I think if the battery were dying, the engine wouldn't even crank for 10 seconds, so there's probably more going on here.

To get to the root of it, an internal combustion engine needs 3 things to run: air, spark, and fuel.

Air:
Air is going to come through your throttle body by way of the filter. Clogged filters don't typically cause hard cold starts and bad throttle bodies cause a lot of other problems, so I think you're in the clear here.

Spark:
Spark goes to the plugs by way of the coil packs by way of the battery and alternator. I believe the r18 is coil-on plug, so there shouldn't be any distributor to deal with (I have an Si, so not 100% sure). Either way, if it were a spark issue, the problems would usually show up all the time, or at least every time you start, not just when it's cold. As I said above, battery is a possibility, but it seems remote. When you crank it for 10 seconds, does it crank strongly the whole time, or does it slow down and chug? If it's strong, the battery is fine. Honda alternators are usually good for like 8-10 years, so I'd be surprised if that were failing, but even if it were, you'd have symptoms 100% of the time, not just on cold starts.
Autozone/Advance will check your battery for free, just in case.

Fuel
Fuel comes in by way of the injectors after being pumped out of the tank. I think there's a couple possibilities here. Sometimes, you just get bad gas (high water content, high particulates, too much alcohol) due to poor quality control from some refineries. If you're not already doing so, I recommend running one or two tanks of top tier gas through the system to see if anything gets better (Retailers).
Sometimes, running bad fuel for a while will allow carbon deposits to build up in your intake manifold and on your valves. If those deposits get too thick, they will actually absorb fuel. If that's happening, those deposits need to be saturated with fuel before any will pass into the combustion chamber. You can get some Seafoam or some other manifold cleaner at your local parts store. You're looking for the type that you feed in through a vacuum line (very, very slowly). If you're getting a lot of white smoke during this process, you're putting it in too quickly.
After you've gone through this process and everything is nice and clean, you'll wanna accelerate hard onto the highway like once every month or two. Doing this puts the maximum pressure through your injectors (cleans out deposits) and heats up your valves and piston head, burning off/loosening any deposits. Back in the day, we'd get "little old lady" Camrys and Accords in my shop and they would just be choked with carbon deposits because they never revved over 2000 RPM or went further than 5 miles per trip.
There's also one other potential fuel problem I can think of, but it's not so common. Next time you go to start up your car, just put the key in the "on" position without cranking. Leave it there for about 10 seconds and then crank the car. If it fires right up, your fuel return valve might be stuck open, keeping pressure from building in the fuel rail right away. I'm not sure if these cars use vacuum or electric valves, but the vacuum ones do occasionally go bad (usually on much, much older vehicles). This might not show up when you're restarting a hot engine because the fuel pressure hasn't had time to dissipate yet.

Let us know how it goes!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses! (I forgot to keep checking this thread). What's strange is the problem magically went away after a few weeks, so I'm puzzles, but I'll keep an eye on everything you guys said.
 

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Some good info in post #3.
To clarify Honda does not use a fuel return system.
The fuel pressure is regulated at the fuel pump inside the tank.
The pressure regulator (relief) valve may have allowed fuel in the line to drain back into the tank.
Which when starting the engine would require a longer crank time to get the fuel system back up to pressure.

Long as it does not take more than 15 seconds for the engine to start; there is no problem with the car.

From 2012 Civic Owner manual pg. 212
Starting the Engine

Do not hold the key in START (III) for more than 15
seconds.

• If the engine does not start right away, wait for at
least 10 seconds before trying again.
• If the engine starts, but then immediately stops,
wait at least 10 seconds before repeating step 3
while gently depressing the accelerator pedal.
Release the accelerator pedal once the engine
starts.
 
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