Blog Car Care Advice Honda Check Engine Light Guide: Common Causes + Fixes
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Honda Check Engine Light Guide: Common Causes + Fixes

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You’re cruising down the road in your trusty Honda Accord when suddenly, it happens — an engine-shaped light, aka the Check Engine Light, illuminates on the dash of your new car. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or a newbie, any dashboard light can leave you alarmed. 

What could the Check Engine Light mean? 
What should you do next?

Don’t worry; you’re not alone in this experience.

Ride along as we uncover what causes the Check Engine Light to come on and what action you need to follow next. 

This Article Contains 

Let’s begin! 

What Causes the Honda Check Engine Light to Turn On?

Honda Motor Company equips all its modern cars with a series of sensors to ensure you enjoy a smooth ride every time. But when one of these sensors doesn’t return the required signal, your car’s computer registers a related trouble code and activates the Check Engine Light

Since this warning light doesn’t directly tell you what’s wrong with your car, several reasons could cause it to come on. Let’s discuss the common ones in detail. 

1. Loose Gas Cap

If you just got a fuel tank refill and forgot to replace or tighten the gas cap (fuel cap) correctly, you might see the Check Engine Light or Check Fuel Cap light illuminated on your dash. 

The gas cap helps seal the fuel system and maintain pressure within the gas tank. Ignoring the engine light due to a loose gas cap can reduce the fuel pressure and let fuel vapors escape from the fuel system. This will increase your car emissions, and your fuel economy will also take a hit. 

2. Failing Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is a critical part of your car’s emissions system. However, it tends to clog with time, especially in higher-mileage vehicles. A clogged catalytic converter will not only trigger your Check Engine Light but will also impact your vehicle performance and fuel economy. 

3. Worn Spark Plugs

A spark plug, powered by the ignition coil, helps ignite the air-fuel mix inside the combustion chamber. While spark plugs are built to last for a long time, they can wear out sooner, causing your engine to misfire and activate the Check Engine Light. 

Sometimes, a worn spark plug wire or a set of plug wires could fail to deliver the required spark from the ignition coil to the spark plugs. This could also lead to an activated engine light. Faulty spark plugs and worn spark plug wire sets will also impact your fuel economy and vehicle performance. 

4. Faulty Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor (O2 sensor) helps the ECU decide the correct air-fuel mixture for combustion. However, prolonged exposure to hot emissions system gases can cause the sensor to malfunction. As a result, the ECU will supply too much or too little fuel to the engine, leading to incomplete combustion.

If you have a faulty oxygen sensor, you’ll see an active engine light and experience reduced performance or excessive smoke from the exhaust

5. Faulty Mass Air Flow Sensor

The mass airflow sensor helps regulate the amount of air entering the engine for combustion. However, the mass airflow sensor can get clogged due to exposure to dirty air. This can affect the fuel trim, causing engine misfires and an active engine light. 

6. Vacuum Leak

Your car’s vacuum system prevents harmful gases and fuel vapors from leaving the emissions system. However, if you notice higher RPMs at idle, chances are there’s a vacuum leak. The random RPM surges will also be accompanied by an illuminated Check Engine Light. 

7. Weak Battery

Did you leave your headlights on by mistake? And now your car fails to turn on due to a weak or dead battery. Here’s how to confirm: A weak battery will activate the Check Engine Light and the battery light on your dashboard. 

Wondering what to do with an active Check Engine Light?
Keep reading to find out!

What to Do If Your Honda Check Engine Light Turns On?

How your Check Engine Light is behaving (flashing or constantly on) or its color can help you determine the severity of the issue it’s pointing to. Let’s check out the possible scenarios and the action required: 

1. The Check Engine Light Activates in Certain Conditions 

If your engine light activates intermittently, try noticing any performance changes in your vehicle when the light comes on next. If you feel a significant drop in performance, avoid driving as much as possible and try to book a Honda service at the earliest. Chances are that something is about to malfunction, and your car won’t start again. 

2. A Constantly Illuminated Check Engine Light 

If you notice a constantly lit yellow or amber-colored Check Engine Light, your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) system has determined something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Although your car may be operating fine, bringing it in for service as soon as possible is best to prevent additional issues.

3. The Engine Light is On with Noticeable Performance Issues

If you’re experiencing a consistent performance decrease in your new car and your engine light is constantly lit, your vehicle may have entered the “limp mode.” When that happens, you should arrange for a tow truck to take your car to a Honda service center or call a mobile mechanic to prevent further damage and costly repair. 

4. Flashing Check Engine Light While Driving

If you can see a flashing Check Engine Light or if the light appears in red, it indicates a severe issue. In that case, you should pull over immediately and get a tow truck to take your car to the nearest service station. This can help prevent any costly repair down the road. 

Now that the Check Engine Light has your attention, you might want to know how much it’ll cost to diagnose and fix it. 

How Much Does A Honda Check Engine Light Diagnosis Cost?

On average, a Check Engine Light diagnosis can cost you between $85-$120, depending on your Honda Motor Company model.

The mechanic will charge you for the additional repairs or replacements based on the trouble code (Check Engine Light Codes) registered on your vehicle. Once a mechanic diagnoses and fixes the underlying problem, they’ll reset the Check Engine Light. 

But if they forget to reset it, find out what to do next. 

How to Reset the Check Engine Light

If you’re confident handling your car parts, you can reset the light yourself. Otherwise, it’s best to let a professional mechanic reset it for you.

Here are the quick steps: 

  1. Turn off the vehicle ignition. 
  2. Loosen the negative terminal of the car battery and disconnect the negative cable. 
  3. Wait for 30 to 60 seconds, then reconnect the negative cable. 

This should reset the Check Engine Light for your Honda car. 

Wrapping Up 

Whether you drive a Honda Accord or Civic, the Check Engine Light on all modern cars helps keep drivers informed of any potential vehicle issues. If you’ve spotted this warning light on your dash, it’s time to take your car for a quick Check Engine Light diagnosis.

But what if you could get the light fixed right in your driveway?
Enter AutoNation Mobile Service

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Get a quote today to diagnose your engine light or any other express service!