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Honda Check Engine Light (Causes & Fixes)

Updated: Jan 8

The check engine light (CEL), also known as the malfunction indicator light, is an important indicator in your Honda vehicle. It alerts you when there is a problem with your vehicle's emission control system or engine.


It is important to pay attention if your Honda check engine light comes on and address any issues as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your vehicle.

 

Table of Contents:


check engine warning light on a car dashboard

What Is the Most Common Reason for Check Engine Light?

The most common reason for a check engine light to come on is a loose or faulty gas cap. A loose gas cap can cause fuel vapors to escape, which can trigger the check engine light.


Other common reasons include a faulty catalytic converter, damaged spark plugs or spark plug wires, a faulty oxygen sensor, and a faulty mass air flow sensor.


Common Symptoms of a Honda Check Engine Light

If the check engine light is on, you may experience a variety of symptoms, depending on the underlying issue. Some common symptoms include reduced fuel efficiency, poor acceleration, engine misfires, and unusual engine noises.


It is important to pay attention to any changes in the performance of your vehicle, as they may be related to the check engine light.


What to Do if My Check Engine Light Comes On?

If your check engine light comes on, there are a few different scenarios that you may be facing.


  • Intermittent: If the check engine light is intermittent, it may come on and then turn off again after a few days or weeks. In this case, it is important to pay attention to any changes in the performance of your vehicle and to have it checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.

  • Constantly on (with no obvious issues): If the check engine light is constantly on, but you are not experiencing any obvious issues with your vehicle, it is still important to have it checked by a mechanic. There may be a problem that has not yet manifested itself in the form of noticeable symptoms.

  • Constantly on (with performance issues): If the check engine light is constantly on and you are experiencing performance issues with your vehicle, it is important to have it checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. These performance issues may be related to the problem indicated by the check engine light.

  • Blinking check engine light: If the check engine light is flashing, it is important to stop driving your vehicle immediately (when it's safe to stop) and have it checked by a mechanic. A flashing check engine light indicates a severe issue that could damage your engine if not addressed promptly.


If you have an intermittent warning light it could be related to an electrical component such as wiring or a faulty sensor. If the check engine lamp is constantly on there is a problem that needs to be fixed, depending on the problem you may notice performance issues.


If your Hondas check engine light is blinking you should stop driving as soon as you can and have the issue addressed.


Causes of a Honda Check Engine Light

There are many possible causes of a Honda check engine light, including the following.


  • Loose Fuel Cap: As mentioned above, a loose fuel cap is a common reason for the check engine light to come on. It is important to ensure that your gas cap is properly tightened to prevent fuel vapors from escaping.

  • Faulty Catalytic Converter: The catalytic converter is an important part of your vehicle's emission control system. If it is not functioning properly, it can trigger the check engine light.

  • Damaged Spark Plugs or Spark Plug Wires: Spark plugs and spark plug wires are responsible for igniting the fuel in your engine. If they are damaged or not functioning properly, it can trigger the check engine light.

  • Faulty Oxygen Sensor: The oxygen sensor is responsible for measuring the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gases. If it is not functioning properly, it can trigger the check engine light.

  • Faulty Mass Air Flow Sensor: The mass air flow sensor measures the amount of air flowing into the engine. If it is not functioning properly, it can trigger the check engine light.


There are other causes of a check engine light, the ones listed above are common causes of a CEL for Honda vehicles.


Potential Fixes of the Honda Engine Light

To fix a Honda check engine light, it is important to first identify the underlying cause of the issue. Depending on the cause, the necessary repairs may vary. Here are some potential fixes for common causes of a Honda check engine light.


  • Loose Fuel Cap: Tightening the fuel cap should fix the issue if it was caused by a loose fuel cap. It is important to check the gas cap regularly to ensure it is properly tightened.

  • Faulty Catalytic Converter: If the catalytic converter is the issue, it will need to be replaced. This is a complex repair that should be performed by a mechanic.

  • Damaged Spark Plugs or Spark Plug Wires: If the spark plugs or spark plug wires are the issue, they will need to be replaced. This is a relatively simple repair that can be performed by someone knowledgeable.

  • Faulty Oxygen Sensor: If the oxygen sensor is the issue, it will need to be replaced. This is a relatively simple repair that can be performed by a mechanic or an experienced DIYer.

  • Faulty Mass Air Flow Sensor: If the mass air flow sensor is the issue, it will need to be replaced. This is a more complex repair that should be performed by a mechanic.


If there are no obvious issues with the vehicle and it is running fine, you could try resetting the check engine light and seeing if it returns after test driving the vehicle.


Can I Drive My Honda With the Engine Light On?

It is generally not recommended to drive your Honda with the check engine light on. Depending on the issue, driving with the check engine light on can cause further damage to your vehicle and may even be dangerous.


It is important to have your vehicle checked by a mechanic as soon as possible to address the issue and turn off the check engine light.


Honda Check Engine Light Reset

If you have had your Honda checked and the issue has been resolved, you may be able to reset the check engine light yourself. To reset the check engine light, follow the steps below.


  1. Turn off the ignition and disconnect the negative battery cable.

  2. Wait for at least 15-30 minutes.

  3. Reconnect the negative battery cable and turn the ignition on.

  4. Start the engine and let it run for at least one minute.


If the check engine light does not reset after following these steps, it may be necessary to have your vehicle checked by a mechanic. It is important to address any underlying issues before attempting to reset the check engine light.


You can also use an OBD diagnostic tool to reset the engine warning light.


Conclusion