Your Guide to the Honda Check Engine Light

check engine light on


When the amber or yellow ‘check engine’ or ‘service engine soon’ symbol turns on in your Honda dashboard, chances are you will feel nervous, annoyed, or concerned. We’ve all been there, and while none of us ever wants to see the illuminated Honda check engine light, it’s there to signal a problem with our vehicle. As daunting as it can be, this little light can be life-changing and can prevent us from dangerous scenarios. Learn about the check engine light common causes, what next steps you should take when the light comes on, and how to reset the check engine light manually below with the Penske Honda service team.

Check Engine Light Common Causes

While the problem at hand can vary from a quick fix to something major that can damage the entire car, you shouldn’t always default to the worst-case scenario. Most of the time, the Honda check engine light is on because of the gas cap, so we always recommend you to check it first. Remove the gas cap and put it right back on, and then see if that resets the check engine light in your Honda Accord or CR-V. If not, consider the following other check engine light common causes:

  • Loose, broken, or missing gas cap
  • Failing catalytic converter
  • Dead or malfunctioning battery
  • Faulty spark plugs or spark plugs wires
  • Vacuum leak
  • Malfunctioning oxygen sensor
  • Malfunctioning mass air flow sensor
  • Issues with aftermarket parts

Keep in mind that these are just the most common issues and not the full list of potential issues. Since there are hundreds of various diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) or check engine light codes in Honda vehicles, there are potentially hundreds of issues. That’s why our service technicians always recommend Carmel drivers like yourself to bring in your car and get it inspected to figure out what exactly is the problem. And of course, we will resolve it and get you back on the roads!

What to Do When Honda Check Engine Light is On

If you’re like any Fishers drivers, you wouldn’t say you are a fan of the Honda check engine light. However, while it is tempting to just take a quick look at your car yourself and then reset the check engine light, it is best to have a professional inspect it to ensure that there actually isn’t a problem. When the Honda check engine light comes on, your obvious next step is to get your car serviced, but how long do you have until you absolutely need to bring it in? Depending on when and how the light illuminates, you can expect to do the following:

  • Illuminates under certain circumstances: Is your car not performing the same as before? You’ll want to avoid driving as much as possible and immediately bring it in to our service center as something is failing and it’s possible that your car might not start again.
  • Is constantly on: This means the onboard diagnostic system has detected an issue that needs to be fixed. While you can still drive your car and it may seem to be working as usual, you should have an expert resolve the issue before the issue snowballs into more issues and more damage.
  • Blinks while driving: You’ll need to pull over and have your car serviced immediately as there is a major, urgent issue. We recommend having your car towed to our service center if you’re not nearby.

How to Reset Honda Check Engine Light

Once you bring your car to a Westfield service center and have the problem identified and resolved, the light should turn off itself. However, in some cases, it might go off after you drive for the next 20 to 40 miles. If you continue to drive and the illuminated light is still hitchhiking on your commutes, you can bring it back to our service center and we will reset the Honda check engine light for you.

If you are handy with your car, you can also manually reset it by disconnecting the negative battery cable. These are the steps on how to reset the Honda check engine light:

  1. Turn off the ignition. Grab yourself some safety glasses and gloves, and put them on.
  2. Locate the negative terminal. Usually, it has a black cap and a negative (–) symbol. Note: the positive cap is red and will have a positive (+) symbol.
  3. Loosen the nut on the negative terminal with a wrench. Next, pull the negative connector from the battery. Keep it to the side for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Reconnect the negative cable and tighten it back up with your wrench.
  5. This should reset the check engine light for your Honda car. If all fails, just come by Penske Honda and we can help you out.

Count on Penske Honda for Certified Services

Time is of the essence, so schedule your service appointment now. If the Honda check engine light blinks while you’re driving or you’ve noticed a decrease in your car’s performance, bring it to our service center as soon as possible! Contact us if you need our help near the Indianapolis area.

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