How to Test a RSX Starter

How to Test a RSX Starter


Bench testing a component of your vehicle is never a good time, in fact it can be described as miserable especially when you don’t know what you are doing. Today we are going to be showing you how to test your a starter from a 2003 K20 Acura RSX (DC5).

Starting problems can be a huge problem, especially for those that rely on their vehicle to take them to work, pick up groceries or any number of activities that you need your car for. If you need help with your starter clicking, take a look at our How To Troubleshoot a Clicking Starter tutorial here.


The K20A3 starter is Honda part number 31200-PND-A01 but you can also find it under the Acura or Honda part numbers 31200-PND-A02, 31200-PND-A03, 31200-PPA-A01 as well as 31200-PPA-A02. In order to use our How to Test a RSX Starter Guide, you will need a voltmeter, ammeter or multimeter. For more information on what these test probes are and what they do, check out our What is a Multimeter Guide.

Things to do before you start our How To


There are a few steps you need to take before you can perform our How to Test a RSX Starter diagnostic, so make sure you check off the following bullet items to insure your RSX is ready for testing.

  1. Make sure that the ECM or ECU does not have a stored code in it that could cause limp mode. Clear any and all Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) by using a scan tool or disconnecting the battery.
  2. Ensure the battery is fully charged and in good condition.
  3. If you don’t have a scan tool and had to reset ECU, make sure to perform the RSX learn idle procedure.


The tools we referenced above have certain test requirements, make sure whatever you are using fits these specifications before testing your starter.

  •  Ammeter, 0-400 A
  • Voltmeter, 0-20 V (accurate within 0.1 volt)
  • Tachometer, 0-1200 rpm

Next, remove the NO. 17 fuse which is a 15A from your under hood fuse box. Make sure the slots where the fuse inserts are clear and any debris and not damaged. With the shift lever in P or N, or the manual shifter in the neutral position, turn the key to the “START” position. You should not see more than a .2 voltage from your battery while your RSX is attempting to start.

Take this time to check over your engine grounds, the battery terminals and the battery posts for any corrosion or damage. Clean off the terminals with a wire brush, clean off your battery posts and reconnect the battery. Check over your engine grounds to ensure that they are making the proper connection, allowing full voltage of your battery to your starter. Try to start the RSX again, and if you still have this problem, it’s time to check your starter.

You either have a problem with the K20A3 starter solenoid, or the starter plunger and switch is malfunctioning. If you hear the dreaded clicking sound when trying to start your RSX, check our clicking starter How to here.

How to manually crank your engine


With the transmission in neutral, you can manually crank your engine by sending 12volts to the starter solenoid. This will tell you if there’s a problem with your starter, or it’s something else in your electrical system causing the problem. Make sure the transmission is in neutral, disconnect the starter solenoid from the wiring harness. This plug should be part of the starter and simply unplug from your engine harness.


Run a jumper wire from the positive battery terminal and connect this wire to the solenoid terminal. You are sending 12 volts to the starter directly, which should crank the engine and attempt to start the motor with the key set to the “ON” position. If your RSX does not start, the starter must be replaced and you can reference the part numbers above for the correct part or check our OEM section of our website for more details.

That does it for our How to Test a RSX Starter Guide, have any questions about your non-starting RSX? Leave them for us below!

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