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!

[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.


8 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.


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