How to Crank the Engine without Starting (deliberately) in an Aston Martin DB9

Normally you can get into your DB9, insert the key and touch the ‘Start’ button and the car immediately roars to life.  It’s one of the sweet pleasures of owning an Aston Martin.  But, what if you wanted to deliberately crank over the engine without it starting?  “Steve – you’re crazy man – why would you ever want to do that?”

A reader of the Blog (Chris Piazza – thanks Chris!) brought up a good point recently.  After an oil change or a long period of storage the engine is perhaps more ‘dry’ than usual.  The oil having had time to drain down out of places that it might normally not have.   Starting directly up in this condition (Dry Starting) might lead to a small amount of premature wear while the oil pressure builds up and finally starts to circulate.

In order to minimize this the idea is to crank the engine over for a while without starting by just using the starter.  This is much slower than when the engine starts, and thus allow the oil pump to build up some pressure and circulate some oil prior to starting her up.   Seems reasonable.  Puts some extra wear on the starter and battery, but nothing significant if you don’t do it often.

The Aston Martin DB9 has a built in ‘Don’t Start’ mode.   Get in to start the car as normal, but press the throttle entirely to the floor [like you normally drive it ;>)].  This tells the computer to NOT send fuel to the cylinders, but just crank over the motor.  I wouldn’t do this for a long period (else you risk overheating the starter).   Perhaps a five (5) second run of this should prime the oil pump and build up some oil pressure to start circulating it around.   Without an oil pressure gauge its hard to say how long is long enough.  I found that if you watch the Oil Pressure Warning light on the instrument cluster (the red Aladdin’s lamp) and crank until it goes out this should mean that oil pressure has built up and oil is circulated.

Oil Pressure Indicator Lamp

Release the start button, take your foot off the throttle, and press the start button again to normally fire her up.  Vroooom!

[Updated December 2019] Should the skeptics out there think this is vodoo black magic and not endorsed by Aston Martin I offer this to convince you.  Open your official Owners Manual (from the glove box) and turn to Section 12 on Storing your Vehicle.  On the page describing taking it out of storage it covers this exact issue and this procedure as the solution.  Check it out here.

One final thought.  I figured I should be able to plug in my OBDII reader and ‘talk’ to the engine to get a read out of the actual oil pressure, and thus learn how long to crank was long enough.   I could NOT find any live data reading on oil pressure.  If you have had better luck, please leave me a comment down below so I can add to this article.

Check out the video below to see it in action and how long 5 seconds really seems while cranking.


18 thoughts on “How to Crank the Engine without Starting (deliberately) in an Aston Martin DB9

  1. Bruce Byers


    That’s very cool. I don’t recall seeing that or reading about it anywhere. In Michigan our 2015 DB must sit for 6 months. I do start it about once a month and let it get up to temp. But this is even better to know.


  2. Sultan

    Hi Steve, I was wondering if you could tell me how to replace the gearbox transmission sump pan on the 2005 db9, recently I have spotted drips off oil coming from it and suspect it to be the seal. Also how to refill the fluids on it?


    1. Hi Sultan. I haven’t done an article (yet) on changing the tranny fluid. I am gearing up for it (pun intended) and plan to do it in Summer of 2019. I’m gathering the facts on gasket, filter, fluids and process now.


  3. Eric King

    Hi Steve, I have a 07′ DB9 Volante. I pulled it out of the garage to bring up to temp, as I was pulling back into the garage (about half way) I turned of the engine and went into the garage to prepare the hydraulic lift to get it off the ground for the winter. Upon getting back into the car to start, I found that there was no start light nor gear position lights? I had three messages show up on the display (Emission system service required, Reduced engine perform, Gear position display not avail). Have you seen this before? Do you have any tips/tricks in which to diagnose/fix?
    Thank you.


    1. Hi Eric. I am no expert, but I saw an issue with my DB9 that after several starts in a short period of time my battery was flat enough to wig out the computers. I’d suggest putting your battery on charge overnight and try again in the morning. If its healthy again, your battery is likely getting weak (and I have some articles on that). Good luck. Let me know how it goes.


  4. Sorry for going off-topic here, and you may have already addressed this somewhere (I’m new).
    If I only put 2,000 miles/year on my 2016 Vantage V8 (Which has 12,000 miles on it) do I really have to change oil/fluids every 12 month? And if so why?
    I am in Orange Co. CA and would like to avoid dealership maintenance prices if possible. Do you know any local shops you would recommend?

    Thank you.
    Steve Meline


    1. Hi Steve. Great question with two answers. Technically I think you could stretch a fluid change to just be the 2 year services, and use practicality to guide the process. Brake fluid is hygroscopic and absorbs water from the air, so yes, even just sitting there it deteriorates. Same for engine oil, deteriorates slowly. But, 2 years may not be an issue. Air filters and wiper blades, change when they are dirty. Nothing magic about age with them. Same for cabin filters. BUT, the real answer is warranty and future saleability. While you are in the warranty period it is required I believe, and probably a good idea. If you ever look to sell it on, and the service history is a spotty “I did a few things I thought it might need whenever I felt like it” the potential buyer might run away looking for a car that was ‘routinely serviced according to recommended schedule’. So, it depends on your plans. Me, I have no warranty left (2005) and I use a modified 1yr and 2yr approach according to the service schedule and my own wisedom. I drive about 5K per year, so not too different from you. Sorry I don’t have any recommendation on a local shop in your area. Let me know what you decide.


      1. Steve Meline

        Thank you. I came to the same conclusions based on the resale value issue. I did get the 24 month service done much more cheaply by and independent exotic car garage. Thank you for your service to our community.


      1. Ramin

        Hi Steve I bought db9 v12 2005 last week the car been parked 2 yers so it was hard to turn engine on but I saw your video on YouTube helping me out to start the engine but now been 2 days I try is doesn’t start I drop the video on your email you can see and hear how’s engine work thanks I really appreciate to help me out


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