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Acura Check Engine Light (Causes & Fixes)

Updated: Jan 9

When you start up your Acura the check engine light (CEL), along with other dashboard warning lights will illuminate to test they work, they should all turn off in a few seconds. If the engine warning light doesn't turn off on your Acura, it may be a sign of a problem.

Usually an illuminated check engine light is something minor, such as a loose fuel filler cap or simply a malfunction and restarting your car or using an OBD scanner to clear any fault codes may fix the issue.

The most common causes of an Acura check engine light are faulty emissions control parts (such as the catalytic converter) or oxygen sensor, a fuel injection system issue, damaged head gasket, dirty mass airflow sensor, or faulty spark plugs.


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check engine light on Acura

Common Symptoms of an Acura Check Engine Light

If the check engine warning light comes on in your Acura, you may notice any of the common symptoms mentioned below.

  • Engine running rough

  • Reduced performance

  • Poor throttle response

  • Unusual noises and sounds

  • Stalling or cutting out

  • Overheating

  • Smoke from the exhaust

  • The vehicle goes into failsafe mode (limp mode)

The symptoms you may notice are totally dependent on the cause of the check engine light; if it's a simple problem, like a loose gas cap, you likely won't experience anything other than the warning light.

You may experience a wide range of symptoms if it's a more significant issue, such as an engine failure.

You could use an OBD scanner to find out which diagnostic fault codes have been issued in order to identify the root cause of the issue. From there, you may start looking into the problem to see what caused it.

Types of Check Engine Light

The check engine light on your Acura can be intermittently on, constantly on, or can also be blinking / flashing, each variation of the CEL has its own meanings.

  • Intermittent: If your Acura's check engine light illuminates on a regular basis but not continuously, keep an eye out for any changes in performance, especially while the warning light is on. If you notice a change, avoid driving the vehicle until it can be repaired. If the problem is intermittent, it is most likely a sensor failure or an electrical issue and may become worse over time, you also run the risk of the vehicle not starting.

  • Constantly on: The check engine light on your Acura has come on because the onboard diagnostic system has identified a critical issue. Even if your car seems to be in good working order, it is advised to have repairs made as soon as possible to prevent further issues. If at all possible, avoid starting or driving the car.

  • Blinking: When the check engine light on your Acura flashes or blinks, it often indicates a major issue with the vehicle. You should stop when it's safe to do so. It's often advisable to have the car towed or collected so that it can be repaired. You shouldn't start the car or drive the vehicle if the check engine light is blinking.

Failsafe Mode (Limp Mode)

Your Acura may have entered failsafe mode, commonly known as "limp mode", to prevent additional damage if you notice a consistent decrease in performance while the check engine light is on.

You should avoid starting or driving your car if this failsafe mode has been activated until the problem has been fixed.

Common Causes of a Check Engine Light for Acura Vehicles

There are numerous causes of a check engine light, many cars have common causes associated with them specifically, below is a list of common causes of a check engine light for an Acura.

  • Loose fuel cap

  • Faulty catalytic converter

  • Defective oxygen sensor

  • Fuel injection system issue

  • Damaged head gasket

  • Dirty MAF sensor

  • Spark plug issues

Loose Fuel Cap

Fuel pressure may be lowered and fuel vapour can escape from a loose, broken, or missing fuel filler cap, which lowers fuel economy and results in harmful emissions. The ECU may identify this and turn on the check engine light as a result.

a loose fuel filler cap on a car

Faulty Catalytic Converter

Debris may eventually clog your catalytic converter, especially in vehicles with higher mileage. A crucial part of the emissions system, the catalytic converter reduces harmful emissions.

Fuel economy and vehicle performance may be significantly impacted by a damaged or faulty catalytic converter. The ECU uses a number of sensors in the exhaust that might cause the check engine light to illuminate on your Acura.

Defective Oxygen Sensor

After being exposed to the hot exhaust gas for a long time, the oxygen sensor may need to be replaced.

The ECU receives data about the air/fuel mixture from the oxygen sensor. A air/fuel ratio that's not optimal may be caused by a faulty oxygen sensor.

Insufficient fuel can cause an engine to fail, but too much fuel causes an engine to produce too much harmful emissions. This will lead to your Acuras check engine light coming on.