honda check engine light

Is Your Honda Check Engine Light On? 5 Potential Causes

More than 9 million drivers ignore their check engine light for 3 months or longer. The longer you ignore the light, the more expensive the repairs will become.

There is no reason to wait as a quick trip to your local auto parts store will tell you what is wrong. You can fix the most common reasons for the light right there at the store.

If you see your Honda check engine light on, don’t wait, run the scan. Once you have the error code, use your service repair manual to determine what the code means.

There are five common reasons your Honda engine light comes on. Keep reading to find out why they happen and how to fix them.

1. Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor in your car measures the unburned oxygen that leaves in the exhaust. This helps to check how much fuel your car burns while running.

When this sensor goes bad, it begins providing the wrong information to the computer. This will cause a decrease in gas mileage.

The average car has between 2 and 4 of these sensors in the exhaust system. Each one has its own code output on the scanner. This will tell you which sensor has gone bad and needs replacing.

What Went Wrong

Because the sensors are in the exhaust, they get covered in oil and ash. The particles in the exhaust build up and create a thick layer over the sensor.

As time goes on, and this gunk builds, the sensor becomes less effective at its job. The mixture of oxygen and fuel is not regulated resulting in an increase in emissions.

How to Fix It

If you ignore a failing oxygen sensor you will develop a broken catalytic converter. Replacing the oxygen sensor will save you the hassle and thousands of dollars.

Your owner’s service manual will outline the specific locations of your oxygen sensors. Once you locate the bad sensor, unclip the old one. Then replace it with a new good sensor.

2. Fuel Cap

The problem could be as simple as you didn’t tighten your gas cap. If the cap is loose or has a crack then fuel vapors will escape the system.

Related Reading:  Disabling the check engine light

When your car is running the whole system becomes pressurized. It cannot maintain a certain pressure when there is a leak in the system through the cap.

What Went Wrong

Your gas cap is either cracked or not tightened enough. When you run the scan there is a code that will point to the gas cap.

How to Fix It

The first step is to take the cap off, check for cracks, and put it back on making sure it is tight. Drive the car and see if the light goes off.

You can buy a new cap for less than $5 at any auto parts store. Take the old cap off, and put the new cap on.

3. Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter handles turning your car’s exhaust into less harmful gas. It converts carbon monoxide into a harmless compound.

If you are pushing the gas pedal and nothing is happening, it is the converter. It will also reduce your gas mileage.

What Went Wrong

Your converter won’t fail if you are performing regular maintenance of your vehicle. If your converter does fail, you most likely need to replace your oxygen sensor or spark plugs too.

How to Fix It

When your converter fails for good, your car won’t run. It will cost about $2,000 to replace the converter. At this cost, it is beneficial to replace the much cheaper parts on this list so you don’t get to this point.

4. Mass Airflow Sensor

The mass airflow sensor does a similar job to the oxygen sensor. This one monitors the amount of air coming into the engine to dictate the right amount of fuel needed.

If this malfunctions you won’t have the right mix of air and fuel going into your engine. This reduces your gas mileage. It also increases your emissions.

If your car is stalling then it’s a sign the engine isn’t getting enough fuel. If your engine is getting too much fuel it will run hot.

Related Reading:  Recommended Maintenance

What Went Wrong

The main cause of failure is a bad installation of the air filter. It also needs replacing at least once a year. If you haven’t replaced it, that could have caused the sensor to fail.

How to Fix It

It will cost a few hundred dollars in parts to replace the sensor. You can drive for a few weeks or months with a bad sensor.

The longer you wait, the worse your gas mileage will get. Your car will also stall more often.

5. Spark Plugs & Wires

The spark plug is what creates the spark to start combustion in your engine. Spark plugs that fail are misfiring. You will feel a jolting when you try to increase your speed.

What Went Wrong

Spark plugs have a shelf life and will fail in time. The gap the spark jumps grows with use until it is too wide for the spark to jump.

If your car is a 1996 or older expect to replace them every 25,000 to 30,000 miles. If your car is newer than that you can usually go 100,000 miles before needing a replacement.

How to Fix It

Your spark plugs are a part of regular maintenance. Open the hood of your car to access them.

Take out the old one and replace it with the new one. You should notice a difference when you start your car.

Fix Your Honda Check Engine Light

If your Honda check engine light is on, have your local auto parts store run a scan for the cause of the light. They should give you a code that you will then use to locate the cause of the light.

Some part failings happen as a part of regular maintenance such as the spark plugs and oxygen sensor. The fuel cap is another easy fix to get you back on the road.

The mass airflow sensor is a little more expensive but still an easy fix. A code indicating the catalytic converter is a cause of concern.

Get started on your next DIY project by downloading your car’s manual.