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February 3, 2005 11:14 AM

Broken: Honda CRV warning light

Beth M. writes:

At the end of last week my 'check engine' light came on in my Honda CRV. I've had two friends who drove a few miles with this light on and burned up their engines. So I called my dealer on my cell phone to ask what I should do, and ask if it was safe to finish my trip to daycare and home. He told me it was probably safe to drive, but I finished my trip and didn't drive the car again until I could get it to the dealer for diagnosing.

Lo and behold, the problem was that I hadn't tightened down my gas cap after I got gas.

So my proposal to Honda is this - have a 'check engine' light for catastrophic things, and a 'you have a small problem' light for those non-critical warnings. Jeesh!


good ol' new jersey...full service gas stations ;)

Posted by: Carl Winslow at February 3, 2005 11:39 AM

I have a Honda Civic that does the same thing. If the gas cap doesn't click at least 3 times the check engine light comes on.But is doesn't do it right away, it waits for a few miles after you have left the gas station.

Fortunatly for me my Dad has the same car and it did it to him so he warned me about it.

Posted by: Kimm at February 3, 2005 12:05 PM

From what I can tell this will happen with almost every car made after 1996. The light comes on when there is any fault, not just a catastropihc one. While it would be nice for there to be a scale of badness associated with the light all that the EPA mandated was a light.

Posted by: Robert Jagger at February 3, 2005 01:04 PM

Most newer cars I've seen with this EPA-regulated "feature" also have a little warning on the gas cap or inside of the gas door.

Posted by: James Schend at February 3, 2005 01:06 PM

I wholeheartedly agree that this is broken, and it's not just limited to Honda. That "check engine" light comes from the OBD (on-board diagnostics) system that has been mandatory in automobiles for the last 10 years or so, and is used primarily to monitor the emissions control systems. The problem is that the light can mean anything, as Beth says, from "It's a little colder outside now than it was when you last started the car" (that happened to me last month), to "RUN! YOUR ENGINE IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE!" Not only is there no indication of the severity of the problem, the long-term effect is going to be to train drivers to ignore the warning light.

What's really frustrating is that the OBD provides all sorts of useful information for regular driving, not just abnormal situations. I've seen aftermarket devices you can plug in that will display things like your actual miles per gallon, amount of gas used per trip, etc., as well as telling you exactly why the "check engine" light came on, and even allow you to reset it if it's a correctable condition (like you didn't screw on the gas cap). These devices aren't expensive, but wouldn't it be nice if at least some of this info was just displayed on the dashboard? (I don't own one of these devices myself, but if you're interested, just Google "obd scan" or something similar and you should get some results.)

And before anyone protests that this isn't broken because it was designed that way on purpose to make you take your car into the dealer more often, let me head you off at the pass. That's a broken design, in more ways than one.

Posted by: E.T. at February 3, 2005 01:10 PM

Under what circumstance would a Check Engine light indicate that the engine is about to explode? The oil pressure light and the coolant temperature gauge (and/or light) are critical indicators, and are colored red. The check engine light primarily concerns the emissions control systems, and is yellow. I fully expect that the owner's manual tells you that you can drive the car temporarily when the light is on, and that you should check the gas cap when it comes on.

(What's really broken is that, on my '94 Honda (OBD-1), I can get the check engine code by jumpering an under-dash connector with a paper clip. On a newer car, I'd have to buy an OBD-2 code reader, which costs much more than a paper clip. Progress!)

Posted by: M.H. at February 3, 2005 01:45 PM

On my 2001 Jeep Wrangler, anyway, the dealer explained that the solid check engine light was for non-catastrophic problems. Blinking check engine light means stop, right now, shut off car, tow to dealer.

Posted by: Jim Stanton at February 3, 2005 02:14 PM

The service engine light will go out after 20-25 miles once the cap has been re-tightened if the gas cap is the problem. If not...head for a dealer ASAP.

Posted by: Steve at February 3, 2005 02:20 PM

OBD turns on a special warning light on the dashboard called a Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) when it finds a fault that may cause high engine or evaporative emissions. This lamp is reserved for emissions problems only and cannot be used for other failures. When the MIL is on, it means that something is wrong with the emissions system that requires repair. If the MIL is flashing, prompt service is required. This indicates a rather severe level of engine misfire. Severe engine misfire over only a short period of time can seriously damage emission control system components, especially the catalytic converter, which is typically the most expensive to replace. I think that the gas cap triggers the light because, if it is loose, the system is not sealed and it allows fuel vapors to escape.

Posted by: Brad at February 3, 2005 03:40 PM

I had this exact thing happen with my Mazda Protege. I was real thrilled about having to pay my dealer 60 bucks to find out my gas cap wasn't screwed on long enough.

Since the OBD is programmed to spit out diagnostic codes, how difficult is it to build in a simple if/than/else statement so that, if it's something like the gas cap not being screwed on tight, don't shine the light. Becauase odds are are pretty good that the gas cap's going to be taken off and put back on real soon.

Of course, now that I know this, the next time that light comes on, I'm unlikely to do anything other than rescrew the gas cap. Which means if something's seriously wrong, I'm going to miss it. The "check engine" boy only gets to cry wolf once before it's completely ignored. Which kind of defeats the purpose of the light.

Posted by: Steve at February 3, 2005 04:16 PM

"how difficult is it to build in a simple if/than/else statement so that, if it's something like the gas cap not being screwed on tight, don't shine the light."

It's not a question of difficulty, it's a question of the law.

And, BTW, going to the dealer to get a code read is like going to the doctor for a paper cut. Autozone used to read OBD-2 codes for free. Don't know if they still do.

Posted by: M.H. at February 3, 2005 04:28 PM

What's really annoying is that most new cars also have a maintenance required light. I know my wife's civic does and my IS300 does as well. When it's time for an oil change the light comes on and guess what.... the local lube shop can't turn it off, only the dealer can. Really anoying.

Posted by: Joshua Wood at February 3, 2005 04:45 PM

"the local lube shop can't turn it off, only the dealer can."

A moment's googling:'maintenance_required'_light_on_an_'03_Honda_Civic

Maybe not the right model years for your cars, but I bet the information is out there. Possibly even in your owner's manual, especially for the Honda.

Posted by: M.H. at February 3, 2005 04:53 PM

"the local lube shop can't turn it off, only the dealer can."

You can turn it off, I found my info in the owners manual. the second link above is the way I have to do it.

Posted by: Kimm at February 3, 2005 04:58 PM

Same "check engine" thing happened with my dad's toyota Tundra.

Posted by: Jeff w at February 3, 2005 05:38 PM

One of the auto parts stores, I believe autozone, will read OBD2 codes for free

Posted by: adam at February 3, 2005 07:20 PM

That light is the "Segmentation fault" of vehicles. It conveys no information other than "whoops", and you can't know whether you have to stop before it formats your hard drive or if the first thing the program did was try to access one beyond the end of an array because you used the wrong index.

Poor design, because a car certainly can give you a lot more information than "segmentation fault" when something breaks. At least the computer has the excuse that all of it is a memory access out of the legal range, so "Segmentation fault" is all it's able to say.

Posted by: Windrider at February 3, 2005 07:32 PM

even more interesting, i find it a bit misleading and innaccurate that the light specifically says, "check -engine-", yet the problem was nowhere near the engine.

Posted by: Alix at February 3, 2005 07:55 PM

I'm not a mechanic... but I had the same problem and this is what the mechanic said:

The light isn't coming on directly because the cap isn't tight. It's coming on because there's inadequate pressure in the fuel tank/lines. Apparently, this can be a problem.

A leak/puncture in the tank can be one cause. So can a loose cap. More often than not, it's the cap.

Posted by: Bonzo at February 3, 2005 10:21 PM

Speaking from personal experiance, Read the Owners Manual for your car / truck / motorcycle / . It will tell you to check the gas cap and a few other things if the check engine light comes on. You will also find out how to reset the change oil / service engine light. Read your owners manual, it has more ansewr's than the typical person you can talk to at the dealership.

Posted by: Chuck at February 5, 2005 02:11 AM

Woulden't it be easier to have a "gas cap not tightened" light next to the gas guage.

"check engine" is like saying "something is wrong, it may or may not be serious, it can be anywhere in the car."

I can't belive that it will tell you to "check engine" because the gas cap is as far away from the engine as possible.

Posted by: BOB at February 5, 2005 04:40 PM

the gas cap is irrelevant of its location, its check the engine because loose gascap means leaky fumes, and guess where the fumes come from? the engine.

Posted by: Dragon at February 5, 2005 04:59 PM

Happened to me and I had to pay $39 for the tech to check it with his tools! I can tighetn a cap in 6 seconds, and he gets $39 for it!

Posted by: Robert at February 5, 2005 09:38 PM

This is wacky. 2 days ago, I just bought a '98 CR-V - great (mint) condition, low miles - like new. Had the family out last night, and lo & behold, the (now famous, thanks to this string) check engine light came on. Freaked me out. But, I read here that it takes 25 miles, and elsewhere that it takes 3 "driving trips" to reset the light - so maybe by tomorrow it'll go out. If not, I guess I need to go to a dealer. Sure makes the seller of the CR-V suspect when this happens just 2 days after I bought it. Thanks for giving me some hope!

Posted by: Kevin at February 5, 2005 11:01 PM

FWIW, I once read the technical specs on the this test, once. I can't find it, right now. (Curses, Google!) So, forgive me if my memory is flawed.

This is testing that the vapor recovery systems, including parts like the charcoal canister and fuel tank, are functioning correctly. This system is supposed to prevent unburned gasoline fumes from exiting your car. The test closes some valves, and tests how long it takes the system to lose pressure (or vacuum?). If it pressure falls too quickly, it means that you have a very large hole in your vapor recovery system, and could be leaking gasoline fumes. The EPA frowns on this, so the idiot light is lit.

Of course, a loose gas cap looks just like a big hole in the system.

So why doesn't it turn on as soon as you drive away from the gas station? Well, the test is only run when a number of things are true. One I seem to remember, is that the car must be at a constant speed for the past n minutes -- so it can assume that the pressure is constant, and the fuel won't be sloshing around.

Personally, I thought it was a fascinating -- if dry -- read. But that doesn't change the fact that the 'idiot light' is night useless -- especially when so many vehicles already have a character display of some kind!

Oh, many cars WILL turn the light off automatically, once the car passes a subsequent test... however, the same prerequisite rules apply, so it could be a while before the car gets a chance to run the test again.

Posted by: Michael Dwyer at February 6, 2005 02:25 AM

Oh, boy -- my Toyota Prius does the same thing, but with a higher degree of panic: the Prius has a touch screen display in the middle of the dash. If you don't tighten the gas cap, not only do you get a Check Engine light, but a big yellow warning symbol appears on the screen, scaring the bejeesus out of you. Oh, and the car won't start, either.

I learned this the hard way. I thought there was some complicated fault in the hybrid system, when in fact it was the emissions system worried about a loose gas cap.

With a computer monitor on the dash, you'd think they'd be able to display a specific message about the problem!

Posted by: Gene at February 7, 2005 08:32 PM

The Mercury Sable (and, I guess, the Ford Taurus as well) have a "Check Gas Cap" light that comes on, so you can tell the "Check Engine" idiot-light means "the gas cap is loose", rather than "YOUR CAR IS GOING TO BLOW UP! RUN!"

Don't see why that would be too hard to implement elsewhere... a simple touch sensor would do the trick. It's probably because the dealers *want* to charge you out the nose to find out the gas cap is off.

Posted by: Invalid Attribute Index Justin at February 8, 2005 03:25 PM

I posted a couple of days ago - My check engine light did not go out on its own after the "3 driving trips" specified in my owner's manual - trips of apparently indeterminate length - so I followed some advice found here, and I went to AutoZone - they brought out their OBDII (On Board Diagnostics II) reader, and read the "code" - it read "Cylinder 3 misfire" - what the heck does that mean? The CR-V was running just fine - the only evidence of any problem was the "check engine" lght. So the guy at AutoZone commented that while he could not "legally" turn off the light (it had to be reset by the dealer), he heard somewhere that if you disconnected your battery for a couple of minutes, that will turn off the check engine light. He said this in a "wink wink nudge nudge" sort of way. So I figured, I would go home, disconnect the battery for 15 minutes, then reconnect it. I did, and the light was off. I figure if I really do have a problem, the light will come back on again. Then, maybe, I'll consider going to a dealer to check it out. It's been 2 weeks since I've done this, and there have been no further problems.

By the way, I've mentioned this to a number of people at work, and many of them have had a run-in with their check engine light, and and they've all been gouged somewhere between $40.00 and $200.00 to have their light reset - the dealers claim they had to run all sorts of expensive diagnostics to make sure it was just a loose gas cap.

Oh - by the way - if you decide to go the battery disconnection route, and if you have a Honda CR-V stereo -make sure you know the code to reactivate the stereo - before you disconnect the battery - it won't work again without it.

Posted by: Kevin at February 16, 2005 11:14 PM

We own a 2002 Honda CRV, we purchased it used in October 2004. My husband drove it to work this past week, and I guess one of the days he lost the gas cap. So I start it up this morning, and see the Malfunction Indicator Lamp on. So when I ask my husband, he says oh , yeah thats been on a couple of days. So I take my manual to work and read up on it. I call him and he says yes, he lost the gas cap 3 days prior. So I go to my local auto parts store, buy an inexpensive gas cap that fits my make and model- get out to the parking lot, put the cap on, tighten it, start the car, drive away---the light is still on. So i think maybe I need to drive a bit more--nothing. What do I do now?

Posted by: wendy fenner at February 17, 2005 07:11 PM

Wendy, Your owner's manual probably says something like "the check engine light will go off after 3 "driving trips" That's what my manual states - but they give no indication of what constitutes a "driving trip" - is is 3 round trips from Chicago to Orlando? (If so, then I'm good to go!) - So you can wait it out, or, you can try disconnecting the battery for 15 minutes - that will reset the light. But a couple warnings: 1) Make sure you have the access code for your stereo before you disconnect the battery (if you have a Honda stereo) - otherwise you will not be able to re-activate your stereo. 2)I recommend buying a better gas cap, if the replacement version you bought is a cheapo - the CR-V emissions system is fairly complex, and looks for even minute pressure leaks which could indicate major problems - a leaky or improper gas cap could be interpreted by the CR-V as an emissions leak, and your engine light will continue to light up.

Posted by: Kevin at February 18, 2005 08:47 AM

I have a 2002 CRV (53,000 miles) and the check engine light came on week before last and I thought it was just the problem with the gas cap. While driving on the interstate I needed to get past another vehicle and pushed the accelerator and it would not shift into the lower gear. I called the dealter and made an appointment for the next day, before I got it there the light went off and the acceleration problem corrected itself.

Drove the car to Florida the following week and, yep you guessed it, the engine light came on enroute. Completed the trip to Florida and took it to a local Honda dealer the following day after experiencing unusual shifting with the auto trans. The light went back off and they said it is probably the gas cap and nothing else, even though we were very careful to tighten the gas cap as directed.

Drove back home from Florida a couple of days later and 200 miles into a 700 mile trip the light came back on somewhere in Georgia in the middle of the night. And again, would not shift down to accelerate. Took it my Honda dealer the next day, (light went off enroute to the dealer) they ran a diagnostic test and it was a "TP Sensor" that apparently tells the transmission when to shift. Total cost to replace the "TP Sensor" $800.00. Thank goodness I went with the extended warranty that covered the entire cost. If you don't have the extened warranty, check into getting it if it is not too late. A couple of problems like that one will ruin your day.

Posted by: Lea at February 22, 2005 10:27 AM

My check engine light came on with my 2001 Jeep Wrangler, the mechanic put it on the computer, and it said major vapor leak....he's checking it out now for problems, but hasn't found anything yet. We tried the gas cap first thing. I fear the worst!!!

Posted by: nadere at February 23, 2005 02:45 PM

Bonzo and Michael Dwyer are both right about the test and fuel and vapor system pressure. BTW, that's why you couldn't have a separate check gas cap light without an extra sensor that most cars don't have. In addition the (check engine) light is lit by anything that isn't normal but doesn't related to fluids, etc. That is the job assigned to those check oil, check coolant, etc lights. And there is no reason, other than extraordinarily bad misfiring, that an engine should be destroyed with only a check engine light. And if your engine has that extraordinarily bad knocking, you'll no by the continual banging and popping noise, and the lack of power when you put the pedal down, and the high vibration.

Posted by: Brian at February 23, 2005 08:57 PM

When I went in for an emission test for a CRV, it failed due to gas cap leakage. The mechanic said most of the 2002 Hondas of all makes fail. I won't say "defect" cause I loves my honda, but the dealer told me to drive around for a few days before re-testing, to reset. The cashier told me not to drop the new gas cap, inferring that was the problem with my original, in which case i did say "defect", letting her know that I know what she knows. I had mistakenly turned off the MIL light a few months earlier, per the owner's manual, thinking it was just a reminder of routine maintenance. This is only problem to expect after 50,000 miles of driving, besides the 3 recalls, so big f deal.

Posted by: tomas at February 27, 2005 01:32 PM

Hello -

I have been reading all these messages as I am out of state from my mother and she is well - you guessed it - panicing. She does not have a lot of income - actually still looking for work. She bought a 1998 CRV when her car died on a trip. She loves it - but just notcied the light ( I think the MIL) light coming on the dash. She says that it seems to "The light seems to be blinking and

dulling then goes back on--" and she has no idea where a decent mechanic is in her area. Any advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated. She is in Balitmore, Maryland.



Posted by: Jessi at March 7, 2005 07:40 PM

I had a 97 Chevy pickup that the gas gauge stopped working in about 3 months after I drove it off the lot. Took it to the dealer to get it fixed under warranty, they had to remove the entire gas tank. After I picked it up from repair and got a few miles down the road, the "check engine" came on. The operator at GM's 1-800 number advised me to have the truck transported back to the dealer, which was now closed. After having my truck towed, the next day they told me this could happen from a loose gas cap. Then they refused to pay for the tow, although THEY had just got done working on the fuel system, (hmmm, now how did that cap not get put on tight enough), and I had followed their operator's advice.

Posted by: Scrod at March 8, 2005 06:13 PM

A couple of notes. I have a 2002 Honda Civic and it has two lights. One is a "main't req" light and the other is a generic picture of an engine. Now let me see, which one was the one that means, "Broken" again. I mean, if it were broken certainly it would require maintenance, right? But then again, that's a picture of an engine right there on the dash! Hmmmm.

Well, the "main't req" light might as well be labelled a "go and spend money at the dealership" light and if you don't have a warranty, so could the little-picture-of-the- engine light.

Also someone here had the light come on and a code saying that there was a misfire in number 3 cylinder. Well I had the same problem except that the car was also idling rough. When I brought it in, they said they turnd off the light and were not able to duplicate the problem. I wasn't satisfied, but figured the light would come back on again. Indeed it DID come back on, so I scheduled an appointment. In the few days it took to get to the dealership the light went out, back on, back off and on again.

I think, if the engine light comes on and you have a complaint about a rough idle, the dealer codes it out as a misfire and then doesn't know what to do about it. . . the dealership's broken. Don't you?

Posted by: Russell at March 22, 2005 03:48 PM

This web site provides a good description of the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light) problems that may occur. Not all of them are related to the gas cap.

In my case, after the light came on, I tightened the gas cap and drove around for 7 days. The light went off and has stayed off. If it stays on after 7 days, have it checked out. If your engine idles rough or has unusual sounds before the 7 days, take it in SOON. This was free advice from the dealership mechanic.

Posted by: Wait a Week at March 22, 2005 06:49 PM

My father has a dodge ram 3500 van. he was having a problem with his auto trans. I was in his van with coming from Mass. and we were goin up a hill on the highway and his engine started blinking. He could not go over 60 MPH it just would not go any higher. he could only go over 60 going down a hill. the vans accelartion slowed down to about 0-60 in 5 1/2

hours. It was nearly impoosible for it to go up a hill. when ever he tried to go 60 his engine just kept reving higher and the check engine light started blinking. I think it was his to tourqe converter. I still don't know what was wrong with. a couple of months ago his front wheel nearly came off.

Posted by: unknown at March 25, 2005 03:02 PM

The first time my Malfunction Indicator Light went on, I was just beginning a five hour trip! I'm not even CLOSE to being knowledgeable about cars, but...I can read. So, on page 285 of my Honda manual (I have a 1999 Accord which I purchased brand new), I read the thing about the gas cap needing to be on. SURE ENOUGH, my gas cap was in its little round "nest" and not on the top of the tank! I was THRILLED that I was able to figure this out for myself! Malfunction Indicator Light is on again, but the gas cap is where it is supposed to be. The car did something two days ago which it has never done stalled! HOWEVER, there has been a deluge of rain in the area....five inches in one day and flooding, although not by my car. So, I figured it was probably just wet. NOW, of course I am concerned that it may be something more than that. Reading these comments is very helpful. I was really scared to even drive it at first, and I could not find a full service gas station. But, chances ARE, it's nothing major (although, I guess it COULD be as in that one case which cost $800.00 (ulp!). Hopefully not!

BTW I was also proud of myself for learning how to turn of the Maintenance Required Light. It's easy! You just have to find it in the manual and READ IT and follow the easy directions. If I can do this, anyone can.

Posted by: Jane at April 6, 2005 06:01 PM

Finally found out what is causing the "Check Engine Light" to go on in my 1999 Honda Ex! It's NOT the gas cap and it's NOT the oxygen sensor....


It has to be replaced. This is over $300.00.

The car can be driven safely, but the gas mileage is terrible and if you turn on the fan, the stench is incredible!

Posted by: Jane at April 12, 2005 10:03 PM

I have a 2001 Civic. When the check engine light came on I took it to the dealer and they said the torque converter had to be replaced and that would cost $1200. I took it somewhere else for a second opinion and they said nothing was wrong. So the light went out after I got it back from the dealer. Now a few months later, it's back on! What's up with that? Maybe I need a new gas cap?

Posted by: Dennis at April 18, 2005 03:31 PM

hi i just got a 1999 honda crv the light comes on about 3 to 5 min after i drive off. when i got it i had to redo the muffler cause it had run off the road and when the check light comes on the d for drive blinks any tips thank you.

Posted by: linus joseph at April 21, 2005 11:17 PM


Posted by: Tony at April 29, 2005 01:36 PM

I have a 98 CRV that has the infamous check engine light on always. I originally got a reading that the gas was too rich but figured out you have to click the gas cap and don't fill the car while it's running. More recently I had to have the heads redone because I was running on three cylinders. Now my check engine light came on again and it says random misfire. For a short period of time the light was flashing. It was reset and the day after I got gas the light came back on. Had it read again and it said misfire between cylinder 3 & 4 and random misfire. Got gas again tonight and am waiting to see if the light returns. Any suggestions

Posted by: Debbie at May 10, 2005 08:37 PM

Part of the fault is the owner of the car's. Because of the problem of the check-engine light meaning that pretty much any problem could have gone wrong, it is not good to freak out when it comes on. It's probably perfectly safe to drive and it doesn't matter really. All that's really necessary is to put up with it & when you have time, take it to the dealer so they can turn it off.

Posted by: Socrates at May 13, 2005 07:13 AM

My Check Engine light came on the other day, and I stumbled upon this place to see what it could be about. I ruled out the loose gas cap as it came on halfway thru a tank of gas.

Anyway, I had the quick-lube people get me the error code. Anyone know how serious this is:

P0740 "Torque converter clutch circuit malfunction"

It's a 2001 Civic w/ only 56k miles on it. I'm not having any transmission problems. They turned the light off, so I will have to monitor it to see if it comes back on.



[Remove "---" from email address]

Posted by: JG at May 16, 2005 04:45 PM

I'm back again (I posted in early Feb.) The Check engine light started coming on more frequently (with nothing to do about loose gas caps). The OBD II (On Board Diagnostics) meter that the nice people at Auto Zone have (They came out to the parking lot, plugged in their meter, and told me what the malfunction code was.) said "Cylinder 3 misfire" - Great. what the heck does that mean? Anyway, I got to figure it out. Because accompanying the Check Engine Light was a really crappily running engine this last time. It felt like it was only running on 3 cylinders (imaging that) and was idling really rough. I ended up taking it it to the shop, and it turns out the cylinder 3 fuel injector was shot. Dead. Or, "not ohming out" in the vernacular of the garage guy. And another injector was only "ohming out" at 50% of what it should be. I ended up replacing all 4 fuel injectors ($135 ea, plus labor) for about $796 total. Ouch. I really really hope I never see the check engine light again. The garage guy did ask me where I bought my gas - he strongly urged me to only buy from a brand name, and not to chase the lowest price around town, which I have been doing since the prices started going through the roof in the past year or so. So I guess I'll stick with Amoco or Shell -

Posted by: kevin at May 22, 2005 10:19 PM

Today I was driving home (100 mile trip) and filled up on gas. Left the gascap cover off for less than one mile, and the light lit, I replaced the cover and limped onto the freeway. I had read the manual, saying to give the car several rides. Stopped after 20 miles for a 15 minute cup of coffee and re-read the manual. I again started my 2nd ride to discover the light was still on and acceleration was still dismal. Drove the remaining 80 miles moderately to my local Honda dealer where the CRV is now being checked by the mechanic. The specialist drove the car and said there were more problems than a simple gascap cover missing for one mile. We'll see. I also have the extended warranty. Now we will wait for the mechanics to find out what is wrong with the car! Thanks for all the postings. I guess misery likes company, and I didn't know I'd have this much company.

Posted by: Clare Smith at May 23, 2005 10:00 PM

Just want to thank everyone for their input.

Posted by: Tony at June 1, 2005 01:13 PM


I have a 2002 CR-V. 94,000+ miles. Drives perfectly. On way home from LAX Saturday, Malfunction Indicator Light came on. Tried to accelerate to move to the right median, as I accelerated, power stopped in car. I put pressure on the accelorator, and it chugged along a little, and slowly gained enough speed to drive to a gas station, (which was closed). I let the car rest, filled up on gas, made sure gas cap was tight as always. Light remained on. Decided to try and drive it. As long as I didn't accelerate (i.e., gain speed slowly), and only up to 65 miles per hour, car didn't die. It felt like when I tried to accelerate past 65, the gas didn't get into the engine, or that it choked the engine. It's at the dealer right now. Any ideas?

Posted by: Intikilla at June 6, 2005 03:50 PM

I'm joining the 2002 (just hit 50,000 yesterday) CRV's engine light came on this morning on the way to work. My car is in for service every 2 months because I put over 200 miles/week for work plus the weekend stuff. So, I have it at the dealer's religiously for the maintenances as well as oil changes. I did stop and the gas cap was loose. Put gas in the car tuesday night so the tank is 3/4 still full. I did read the manual and my husband called the dealer and they, too, said to give it "3 cold starts". If the light doesn't go out by Sunday, THEN to bring it in. I have experienced NO problems otherwise. so, I was very surprised since my gas cap has been loose before. But it was really loose!

Posted by: ckempste at June 9, 2005 07:55 PM

YES, my engine light went off this morning!!! It was the gas cap. I had made an appt at the dealers for Tuesday just in case it didn't go out by tomorrow morning. What a relief.

Posted by: ckempste at June 12, 2005 12:22 AM

I'm responding to Intikilla - your symptoms sound exactly like what mine were - no power, chugging, sluggish acceleration, bad idle etc. It was the fuel injectors (see my post a couple above yours)

The other comment I have is that if the engine light is on (not blinking), then it is letting you know that something happened, but is not currently still happening (like a loose gas cap) - It should turn itself off after a couple cold starts. If the light is blinking, that means the problem is still happening, and you should get it taken care of ASAP to prevent damage to your emissions system. How long is ASAP? I don't know.

Posted by: kevin at June 14, 2005 01:16 PM

The engine light on my 2002 (UK) Honda CRV came on Sunday (around 64,000 miles - just 4,000 miles since last service and 16,000 since last airfilter change). I took it into the dealer last night (before I read about loose "gas caps"). They just read the error (apparent a "V-tek problem" & they want £140 (about $260) just for 2 hours to investigate it further. So much for Honda reliability.

By the way, when the light first went on, I looked at the engine and noticed that the large (4"?) hose-clip holding the air-inlet duct to the engine block had more than 1cm of slack in it. So I tightened it up & told the dealer -- I wonder if that could have been the cause?

Still waiting for feedback from the dealer.

Posted by: Mr. X at June 21, 2005 08:34 AM

I have a 2003 Honda Element and one month ago had a state inspection at Kwik Lube and failed because of a gas cap failure so they had me purchase a new one to replace the Honda gas cap. Now my MIL light has been on for 4 days and I went back to Kwik Lube to complain about their gas cap since I never had the light come on before. They retested the cap for me and said there was no problem with it. So I took my car to a Honda dealership and they say upfront that it might be because it's not a Honda gas cap. I have new car warranty for them to check it out but I might have to buy another gas cap from Honda. This really sucks. Kwik Lube claims that 9 out of 10 Hondas fail because of a faulty gas cap. Honda tells me that others purposely fail the test when there is no problem and change the gas cap to a non-Honda. I know nothing about cars and they are blaming each other so who is right and who is just trying to save their own butt. Either way I'm paying for 2 gas caps and there is nothing wrong with my practically still new car.

Posted by: EY at June 22, 2005 03:07 PM

Well, we had a bad experience with the check engine light and our 99 crv. We had nearly 87,000 when the electronic gizmo inside the distributor (which took the place of points) died. This unfortunatly occured in the middle of the intersection so there was a lot of fruitless cranking the engine before we decided it wouldn't start. Got it to the dealer they replaced the defective module (we had bought the extended warranty and good thing it would've cost nearly 600 bucks) a few hours after getting it home the check engine light came on. Our honda seemed to run ok, so I thought a wire might have come loose or something, on the way back to the dealer she died again. Well, we got it back to the dealer, and this time it turned out to be the catalytic converter was turned into a big block of cement by all the raw gas pumped into it due to the ignition malfunction. The catalytic converter unfortunatly is NOT one of the items covered by the extended warranty, so they were wanting over a grand to replace the entire exhaust system. We went to Meineke and opted for the generic catalytic converter for less than 200 and thought ourselves lucky to come out of the experience relatively unscathed.

Posted by: big G at July 3, 2005 01:38 AM

One week ago I took my Honda CRV 2002 into the dealer. 37,00 miles. The engine light was on. For the tune on $85--I was told that I had a loose gas cap. Will now a week later it's back on again. I checked the gas cap and tightened it down. Now the manual says it will reset in ome "Driving Trip" whatever that means. How far is that?

Posted by: Bonnie Runnels at July 10, 2005 06:51 PM

This is so a mechanic, I'll try to explain.

That check engine light comes on ANYTIME something is wrong with your car causing it to FAIL emissions tests(aka polluting our air).

And all of you thinking your gas cap being loose is no big deal, it is. It puts pure HC's(Hydrocarbons, unburned fuel) into the atmosphere. And without getting into science, that creates ozone, and acid rain.

Bonnie, its called a Drive Cycle. They should have cleared your engine light, take it back and make them do it. A drive cycle is a series of driving techniques the computer uses to run a test on any given part of the car.

All of this stuff is in place for a reason, and that reason being to make the air we breath cleaner.

Big G, that sucks about the cat, but thats what happens when you dump raw fuel in there. :(

Posted by: Kirlain at July 15, 2005 05:45 PM

2002 CRV 46,000 miles. Teenage daughter filled the gas tank for the first time. MIL now on. Hoping it's that gas cap! Thanks for all of the previous posts.

Posted by: Ed at July 21, 2005 01:37 PM

Help...I filled my 2004 civic with gas Friday and it's now Saturday and my Malfunction Indicator Light came on. I tightened my gas cap to see if that works as the manual long should I wait, 3 trips or 3 days?? I am worried!

Posted by: Jessica at July 23, 2005 11:07 PM

My Mercury Marauder has a "CHECK FUEL CAP" lamp that would illuminate if the PCM detects a loose cap. Other than that, any other type of OBD-II fault would illuminate the "CHECK ENGINE" lamp. It's just a matter of having a sensor at the fuel filler opening, not that hard to implement. If Ford can do it, why can't Honda?

Posted by: Pete at August 5, 2005 07:14 PM

I have a Civic 99, bought 2nd hand. MIL came on this morning. However, I was in a car accident a little over a month ago (their fault). The front of the car is slightly damaged. Will let you guys know whats up.

Posted by: Mike at August 8, 2005 12:10 PM

I have a 98 CRV that I've had since high school with no major problems at all. About a month ago, I had the same check engine light/gas cap problem that seemed to be fixed when i tightened the cap. On the very next trip, the light didn't turn on after the engine started. Then last Thursday the check engine light started blinking as soon as I turned on the engine. I thought it was just the gas cap again, except that acceleration was severely lacking, and there was an unusual amount of vibration from under the hood when idling. Since it's kind of old with a hefty 142k miles on it, I thought it just needed some much needed regular maintenance, especially since I've always been good about changing the oil and fluids regularly as well as getting the regularly scheduled maintenance done ever since we got it brand new.

When I got it to the dealer, they told me the number 3 cylinder had no compression and it and the catalytic converter needs to be replaced. The service guy said fixing the cylinder would run about $2k and the converter another $1k, plus labor. He also told me that it would be a waste of money to try to fix it all and to just buy another car (how convenient that I'm at a dealership to pick out a new one!). Also, he said that even if I got it fixed, the cylinder head would start burning oil for some reason that he didn't really explain.

As I drove it home this evening, it just seemed to get worse and worse. I went 50mph max on the highway, and it wasn't too bad except for the acceleration. But at the stoplights, the engine was chuging so hard it felt like it was about to bust out from under the hood. My dad's coming down next weekend to take a look at it and get it checked out by another mechanic. Hopefully we can get it fixed for a lot less than the service guy at the dealer said it would cost.

Posted by: sdjoe at August 9, 2005 02:11 AM

i have a 99 honda civic lx and my check engine light came on and i have paid a lot of money to fix it but the light is still on. on my last try i guess they broke the computer cause now they cant even reset it and on top of that mhy maintenance required light is on too i need help on how to reset the maintenance light and please give an advise about the check engine light pleaseeeeeeeee.

Posted by: stephanie at August 12, 2005 11:20 AM

Honda Accord 1999 LX. Drove over some rough object on the road causing a loud screeching noise as it brushed against the underside of the car check light came on after. Took car to service right away.

Turned out error code PO 141 Bank 1 Sensor 2.

Some cables measuring exhaust composition before

catalytic converter were dislodged. Paid $80 to diagnose and fix problem (plugged cables back in), which I thought

was fair. Before taking to service I read other messages on this page which gave me a good idea what to expect (exhaust system damage/problem) so I decided to share my experience as well. I was happy there wasn't any major damage and expense involved. I hope the problem is fixed

for good.

Posted by: rascolnicov at August 17, 2005 04:46 PM

Well, you see, when the gas cap is off, the car "thinks" something is wrong with its evap system. Gas, well gases, build up in the gas tank and the evap takes care of the pressure. When the tank isn't air tight, the evap system can't do its job.

Posted by: unknown at August 17, 2005 07:34 PM

My '98 CRV is exhibiting the same problem as noted by "sdjoe" above...blinking "Check Engine" light, very rough idling and often stalling on the highway. Right now, it is being fixed by a local repair shop instead of Honda since Honda wanted $3,400 to replace the cylinder head supposedly damaged due to injesting an exhaust valve (?). My local shop will instead be refurbishing the head...much cheaper ($1,200) and they said the repair should last as long as the car.

Posted by: Jim at August 23, 2005 03:43 PM

quick notice.

Everyone like to talk too much! here's quick notice.

if you have 2003 CR-V Honda. if your engine light on, don't panic! it either: gas cap loose or sensor 02 failure.

mine was sensor 02 failure so they replace the sensor which I have warranty cover it. Sensor is a computer the read meter for air/fuel.

now the engine light is off. Make sure that you keep track on oil change and try slow down when driving over the steep, it can damage the timing belt and oil pan.

that's my quick notice.

Posted by: unknown at August 25, 2005 01:37 AM

2000 CRV that just completed the 105,000 maintenance a couple of weeks ago. The Engine Check light came on yesterday at the start of a long drive (4 hr round trip) so the trip was aborted. It's the first time ever the light came on.

Gas cap was checked, and it looks okay. Today was first full cold start.

Anyway, thank you for pointing out that Autozone and others can diagnose the OBD output. I have an appointment with the Honda dealer just in case, too. Will let everyone know what's up.

Posted by: alphajay at August 28, 2005 06:21 PM

I posted several times earlier about my check engine light - I'm responding to sdjoe, and Jim above - my '98 CRV had your exact symptoms, down to the cylinder # 3 misfire (the code off of the On Board Diagnostics) - but my problem was a dead fuel injector - my compression was fine on the cylinder (actually I had the guy check all four cylinders). I had the garage replace all 4 fuel injectors ($800.00 total, parts & labor) and I have been completely problem free since May. So hopefully your garage fixed the right thing - if not, you'll figure it out pretty quickly!

And to others posting on this thread - it would be smart for you to read the whole thread (maybe 20 minutes for a slow reader) than to post questions that are answered in previous posts. Questions like "how long do I have to drive before my CIL light goes off". And "is it 3 days?"

Just a suggestion.

Posted by: Kevin at September 2, 2005 01:29 PM

Autozone ran the OBD and the computer called out P0122 TPS Low Output. Did a little bit of research and the fault translates as a sensor on the throttle not giving out electrical signals in the acceptable range.

I sent my car to a non-dealer Honda specialist, who confirmed the fault (I didn't tell them that Autozone had done a diagnostic). They re-set the check light, and told me to come back if it comes on again. If the fault is the same (TPS related), they'll replace the malfunctioning part.

Unfortunately Honda does not provide just a sensor and wiring as a replacement, you have to get the higher assembly, a Throttle Body. That costs about $600 to $800.

Posted by: alphajay at September 2, 2005 04:46 PM

to alphajay, I have your problem, no ext.warrenty and no $800. laying around for the Throttle Body Assy.,this doent happen that often according to the dealer,can bad gas cause the tp sensor to fail? Can I clean it somehow? My 2003 CRV bearly has 40,000 miles.

Posted by: boilini at September 14, 2005 10:26 AM

I own a CRV 2002 REG and am from the UK Been fine until yesterday when I got the MIL lamp come on - oddly enough just after I'd got petrol. Got it home and checked the cap. It seemed ok but tightened it anyway. Started her up and the light went out. Rang Honda UK and they (so they said) had never heard of the petrol cap thing. I did notice the revs had dropped a bit when idling but seems fine now.

Posted by: Will at September 19, 2005 08:36 AM

hi all, i am a ASE certified mechanic working at an independant shop, i also do work on the side for friends and famley. a few months ago i did a maintenance tuneup for a friend she has a 2001 honda CRV, i installed spark plugs wires cap rotor and a gas filter, sugested a timing belt. everything was fine, no running problems before or after. just a week ago she called me saying her check engine light was blinking, i asked her to bring it by, it was late and i did a quick check of everything i installed, at this time i noticed cylinder #4 is not firing. so i tell her to bring it back to me the following weekend for a closer diag. after spending just about 5 hours checking everything i was left with doing a compression check, my compression tester was at work so it would have to wait untill the next day. so the next day i go to work and had some free time and loaded "all-data" into the computer and checked for any "TSB's" and just like that i found it!

it says for customer concerns of rough idle MIL on and missfire codes first check the valve clearance, if valves are not in specs REPLACE THE CYLINDER HEAD . seems the valves are receding into the head and this is a known problem with these suv's. it also said that honda will replace the cylinder head under "goodwill" even if its out of warranty as long as maintance can be proven.

we took it to a honda dealer in ann arbor and the service wrighter was somewhat heasatent to wook with her, then i showed him the TSB and my ASE certs and he changed his tune pretty quick, he said "looks like you have done your homework" i laughed, she didnt. so i get a call about 20 mins later from him telling me i was right, they used a bore scope and number1 and 4 exhaust valves have receeded into the head, they have to get the ok from honda, we'll see what happens. he said he has done a few of these in the last 10 months, i personaly think they have done more then a few. all were out of warranty and honda covered most of the repair bill, he said one was no charge and one was 200 dollars. this is a hush hush deal that honda does not to address and it could hurt them.

Posted by: mark at September 26, 2005 10:42 PM

At 128m our 98 CRV's check light came on steady. This was a day after we filled up it up. A week later we brought it to the local dealer and they diagnosed the problem with test computer as a bad catalytic converter at $1,200. I decided that was too much to put into this auto. We continued driving with the check light on.

After four days check the light went off and has been fine since. So much for the dealer check, I decided not to use this dealer again. The problem I have now is that my wife doesn't trust the CRV anymore. The CRV really runs as well as it always and I would not like to replace it at this time.

Posted by: al at September 30, 2005 10:33 PM

I have a 98 Civic lx with 185k miles. A week and a half ago the check engine light came on about 2 miles after filling up from almost empty. I checked the gas cap and it seemed fine so I figured maybe I got bad gas. I took it to my mechanic to have the codes read and he came up with Code PO420 (CAT efficiency below threshold) and told me I need a new catalytic converter and one o2 sensor - repair estimate $900. Not wanting to spend that much money on a car that drives perfectly fine, I did some research online and called around for quotes. When I called Meineke, the guy told me that I probably do need the converter but that I could still drive my car for a long time - unless I need to pass inspection (Mass). I've driven about 120 miles since the light came on and it just went off on its own this morning. WOOHOO! So I hope it was something small like the gas gap. (crossing fingers and toes)

Posted by: louise at October 5, 2005 09:44 AM

2000 Honda Civic second hand 10k miles. The maintenance light was on a week ago. I thought it was not a big problem, because I just changed the oil one month ago. Yesterday, the check engine light turned on when I started it in the evening. I didn't know what to do. Because the engine seemed all right, I just tried to drive home. But at a stop light, the my car stalled there, and the oil and battery lights turned on also. I was not driving fast, just about 40mph. I restarted the car. The oil and battery lights turned off, but the check engine light was still on. I drove it off the road, and found the engine was idling rough and there was a lot of verdigris around one of the poles on the battery. It's late, so I drove back slowly. This morning, she stalled twice at a stop light and a stop sign. It sucks. I don't want to block the way. I don't think it is a problem of gas cap, although I hope so. Do you guys have any idea about this? My friend will come over here to check it for me, I will post the result later then. Thanks.

Posted by: Geer at October 5, 2005 10:23 AM

Continue my previous post. One of the O2 sensors does not work, that is the problem. I also replaced the battery, because it could not pass the battery test. O2 sensor tells the computer give how much air and how much gas to engine to optimize the engine performance. If it does not work, the engine can not work correctly. That's why I can start the engine smoothly, but always stall at a stop light or stop sign, and idle roughly. Most cars have more than one O2 sensor. You can cut off the power for one, and see if the check engine light turns off, if yes, you find the right one you need to replace. You can even replace it by yourself, if you can find it. But I am not a mechanic, so I will leave my car at a place where it should be.

Posted by: Geer at October 6, 2005 08:30 AM

Does anybody know what a blinking D for drive indicator light means on a 2000 CR-V? Thanks.

Posted by: Geri at October 14, 2005 09:58 PM

fyi, most cars after 98 you can do a self test for mil codes. for example, for my 98 acura cl 3.0, all i had to do was hook up a wire to my obd-2 plug (behind my ash-tray - how they do emissions testing) and the check engine light will flash in morse code fashion the number of the fault. mine was "1", whcih meant o2 sensor. took me 5 minutes to do it and saved me $200. i imagine you could do the same for any car after 98.

Posted by: chris at October 21, 2005 02:09 AM

I have a new Honda CRV which is making odd clunking noises from the drivers side front wheel area - when going over potholes. It doesn't always do it. I took it to a Honda dealership who checked it and said it was a 'characteristic' of the car. Yeah - great!!!

My old one didn't do it. They said nothing was loose underneath or anywhere and aked me to 'monitor' it. Not that it bothers me that much but I would be interested if anyone else has come across similar anomalies.

Posted by: will at October 27, 2005 01:51 PM

I just discovered this site and everyone's information is very useful. Thought you'd care to know I am having a check engine light problem too. I have a 2001 Honda CR-V with just over 80,000 miles. I paid for the extended warranty and I bring it to the dealer for all scheduled maintentence. Last week the check engine light went on and has not gone off since. The car even stalled in reverse the second day the light was on. I brought it to be checked by the dealer and it has been in the shop for FOUR days. They said they are waiting for the warranty person to come and verify the problem (one of the cylinders are not firing?). Is this common to wait so long for assistance? The dealer hasn't even had a "courtesy" car for me. Any advice? Am I getting screwed? It figures they also suggested a timing belt change for a few extra hundred dollars, more scheduled maintenence. The car is now open and in the process of being checked. Should I get another opinion?

Posted by: Dana at November 7, 2005 09:01 PM

It's the first time I can remember not putting the gas cap back on my '97 Honda Civic. But it did take 3 days for the Check Engine light to come on, scaring me nearly blind on the freeway. Then I remembered that it's not necessarily a "GONNA BLOW UP" notice. After discovering my gas cap was gone, I remembered what happened a few days prior. A new cap did not turn the the Check Engine light out after another 3 days so I took the advice above and disconnected the battery, believing that if it WAS more than just the missing gas cap, the light would come back on.

No light. Yay. But then, I knew it was a direct result of my missing gas cap. Some of you may have other, more serious, real problems. Just be sure.

Posted by: CC at November 8, 2005 09:44 AM

i fell in a pathole with my honda crv, the lights on the dash board went out, the elecrician says that the computer is out, the problem is my vechicle is from Europe and my vechicle is in Jamaica, can you give me any suggestions as to where i can get one to buy.

Posted by: michelle at November 15, 2005 11:47 AM

anyone can help please guys, i have a blinking D on my drive indicator for 92 honda accord.

Posted by: tommy at November 19, 2005 07:03 AM


Posted by: RENNE at November 22, 2005 02:22 PM

My 99 CR-V with 90K mi had a check engine light then a blinking check engine light. It began running poor. Honda diagnosed two burned valves. They charged me $2,200 to repair and said these engine need to have the valves adjusted every 30K mi or this will happen. Because the valves become tight!

So glad I bought a HONDA and not another Buick like the one I have with 130K miles.

Posted by: dhwrd at November 23, 2005 11:10 PM

i've just had this same thing occur in my 2004 problem is at the same time my trans-

mission started acting up, doesn't seem to want to shift gears at normal speed, will not go into passing gear, and when coming to a complete stop,

the transmission seems to be resistant or slipping dropping from 2nd to first....any ideas?

Posted by: chuck at November 26, 2005 01:55 PM

sorry, guess i should have said my problem started with the malfunction indicator lamp coming on, at the same time my transmission started acting up as stated above...

Posted by: chuck at November 26, 2005 01:57 PM

well just tighten the gas cap and you dont have to worry about the light comming on, But yes nice cars have a seperate light that comes on saying to tighten the gas cap. There is a way to tell if the check engine light being on is serious or not. If its flashing pull over as soon as possible and have it towed in. If not take it to the dealer when you get the time. Honda have transmission failures and burnt valves commonly. Honda pays for some of the transmission if you call them. You buy a $20,000 and you get a $20,000 thousand car. You want a fancy light telling you to tighten the fuel cap buy a nice car.

Posted by: jon at December 4, 2005 12:39 AM

i have a 96 honda and i have almost the same problem my car starts fine on 1st then its like it jumps to a higher gear and i lose all power and slowly speed up and i have a blinking D light i had it looked at and it was said to be the shift solenoid

Posted by: caezar at December 7, 2005 01:01 AM

Thought I would add my rant to this post about the check engine light. I have a 2002 Civic, and about 5 days ago the engine light came on. I had just gotten gas, so I assumed the gas cap scenario. Tightned the gas cap, and have gotten gas since then, and the light was still on. I had called the dealer the day it happened, and they said to give it a couple days after I tightned the gas cap. Since the light was still on, I thought I should get this checked out. I took it in, and like everyone else I am reading, got ripped off $50 to have them read the code and "diagnose" my problem. They came back with a code 1457, some vent cap needed replacing and was gonna cost $500 after labour and parts. I was not happy at all, and jumped online and found this is quite a common occurance. I have found on the Honda Canada website, that the Check engine light falls under the Emmisions system warranty of 8 years/130000km. I am checking with the dealership to check if this is the case. Also, after they cleared the code, the light has not come back, so I may just chalk this up to a glitch type fault. If this is not covered under warrant, Honda will be getting a call from me. I have nothing but good things to say about Honda, as I have only ever owned Honda's, from my 84 civic, a 90 civic, and now this 2002. I was not expecting any "major" repairs for quite some time.

Posted by: Thumper at December 8, 2005 12:34 AM

Owners of 95-97 CRVs should check their records:

There was a notice sent out Sept 2001 to "owners of certain 1995, 1996, and 1997 vehicles" regarding "Emissions Warranty Extension and Free Service Reminder". If you are such an owner your emissions warranty is extended by 14 YEARS or 150K miles and Honda will cover all costs related to such repairs. The notice explicitly states that if your check light comes on the dealer will repair any problems free of charge including diagnosis, parts and labor. It does say to make sure you are following scheduled maintenance procedures.

So -- if you get stuck with this problem check to see if you are covered.

Good luck!

Posted by: Scott at December 13, 2005 05:22 PM

Can anyone tell me how to go about replacing an O2 sensor on a 2002 Honda CRV? I hust went to AutoZone and get the error P1164 when I took the diagnostic.

Posted by: Dan at December 29, 2005 03:17 PM

Check Engine light on my 89 Tempo is almost always on, even though i've tried resetting it with OBD tool after repairs. If a passenger mentions the light I'm going to say, "Oh, that means the car is really really old."

Posted by: Timm at December 30, 2005 02:54 AM

The information provided from the previous messages helped alot!

My 2003 Honda CR-V at 49K had the MIL in amber. I thought the cause would be the loose gas cap, but I wasn't certain. I visited AutoZone and for a deposit for the cost of purchasing the OBD II Scanner ($170 + sales tax), I used it. I connected it and by turning the ignition switch on, it started the link (no link when in OFF position) to read the DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code). It read "P1456" with scrolling text. Then, I read it again and the display returned "Pass - No Codes". I noticed that the MIL did not display so it must have reset.

AutoZone didn't have the manual available, so, on the Web, I found out that P1456 is a code about fuel emissions which implied the gas cap. I drove over 100 miles and the MIL did not reset on its own. The second scan did reset it.

I have tightened the gas cap for recent fill-ups and will monitor the engine and fuel performance, but the information and people's experience were very helpful. At least, there is no need for any major repair.

Posted by: Darryl at January 1, 2006 01:52 PM

I have a 99 Honda Civic 140K kms. The check engine light went on two weeks ago. I read the manual and check the gas cap is in place. Went to my mechanic. He changed spark plugs and o2 senser. Cost me $200. Yesterday the light was on again. Car's been running fine. I'll go back get it checked. Don't know how much time and money I'll spend on this. Already making me headache... Will let you know what's happened.

Posted by: Bill at January 10, 2006 05:45 PM

Hi guys

I have a 2001 CRV. Last evening, my Fuel and Temp gauge lights (yep, you heard right) went off. Everything looks fine, the gauges work and every other light works in the dash, except the two gauges. Now I can't see where the gauges are pointing at.

Any suggestions? Is it a fuse/bulb? I'm in Fiji, and the service with the dealer isn't a reliable option.

Posted by: Shaneel at January 12, 2006 02:57 AM

I have a 99 Honda CRV with 121k. The check engine light was on steady for 2 days so I took it into my mechanic. The codes were reading misfire on numerous cylinders. He put in new ignition wires, rotor cap and said this should correct the problem. It was fine for a week and a half and then the check engine light came on again. It then turned itself off after 4 or 5 days. The next week it came on again now reading misfire in cylinder 1,2,and 4. Definitely starting to get a headache over this... I'm taking it into my mechanic again, he said he wants it for a whole day... The car is running fine! Don't know how much I should worry about this but its driving me nuts... we'll see! Anyone had a similar problem let me know!

Posted by: Amy at January 17, 2006 02:53 PM

I have a 2003 Honda CRV. Last night the Check Engine Light came on after it bucked when coming to a stop. Starting out, it wouldn't shift out of first gear. I limped to the Honda dealer and they checked it today and said that the Throttle Sensor was going bad, but that it was okay to drive until the part comes in next week. They didn't find any problem with it not shifting. When I asked what I should do if it fails again, they said to manually shift the gears. Yeah, right--it's an automatic-- that would be a trick. I only have 29,700 miles so the repair should be covered under warranty.

Posted by: Susan at January 19, 2006 10:06 PM

I have a 96 civic ex with an 99 acura ls motor smog legal and the check engine light turned on and I check the code and it gives me code 90 Evaporative Emission Control System leak detected in the fuel tank area, can this be my gas cap?

Posted by: Droid at January 21, 2006 12:42 AM

I have a 2001 Honda Civic w/ 71K miles. I was driving down the road today and the check engine light came on. I checked the gas cap- it appeared fine but tightened it again anyway... It has had all the required service and I change the oil like clock work. I am going to let it drive 3x and then if the light does not go off I will take to Autozone to have it checked. Seems a little rough and the transmission is not as smooth as it was....although my husband says he cannot notice the difference. It's my car and I can tell it's not running the same. Will follow up on post once I find out more.

About 1 yr after I bought it (NEW)I took the car in for Emissions and it failed because of the gas cap. Went to Autozone and Paid $5 for a new one and the car passed. Told the dealer and they said they have never heard anything like this.... I found out from a mechanic from the dealer though (as he is my friend) this is a known problem and the Honda caps do not seal properly to establish continous pressure.

Posted by: Korry at January 31, 2006 08:08 PM

I just bought 2006 Honda CRV, only drove 250 miles and have found two things I feel uncomfortable with --

Gas mileages -- According to Honda's specification, the gas mileage is 22-27, I only got 20 in all free way driving.

The temperature guage's pointer stays on the middle of guage or little above that. I tested two other 2006 CRV, their pointers only in the lower 1/3 area of the guage. My CRV obvisouly has a higher engine temperature. Can something tell me if this is 'normal' or not?

Posted by: Wayne at February 5, 2006 05:32 PM

My wife's 2003 CR-V's check engine light came on today. About 40,000 miles on the car which was bought new. Not a fuel cap issue; she's halfway through a full tank. Car seems to be running smoothly. We will go through the 3 cold start cycle to see if it re-sets. If not, I noticed that there were a couple of NHTSA technical bulletins. If this turns into an issue, I'm trading the thing in for a Hyundai or Suzuki with a 100K warranty.

BTW Wayne, gas mileage drops pretty quickly on the highway if you do much over 65 mph. I usually get about 22-25 hwy when I drive it. Wife usually gets 20-22 on the hwy (she drives faster than I do usually) 18-20 in the city seems to be the norm.

Posted by: Mike Lloyd at February 6, 2006 04:57 PM

I just took my 2000 Honda CRV in for a servicing; radiator flush,transmission fluid change, oil and filter, new air filter, and fuel injection service. After driving it 10 miles, the check engine light came on, so I return the next morning and informed the mechanic. He hooked up a scanner and returned code P0420 "Catalyst Deficiency Low Bank". He says I might need a new catalytic converter. I asked the opinion of other mechanics. They state it is a strong possibility that the fuel injection service may have pushed some chemicals/compounds into the catlytic converter which is preventing it from catalyzing? Is this true? I have resetted the PCM several times by disconnecting the battery. I am able to drive 15 to 20 miles before the check engine light comes on. After reading the above articles, I should probably check the gas cap. I have pulled out the oxygen sensor on top of the converter and cleaned it with carburtor cleaner. This did not have any effect. Some say just to keep driving the vehicle and all the bad stuff will work its way out of the converter.

Feedback is appreciated.

Posted by: Glenn at February 6, 2006 11:53 PM

This is a follow-up to my earlier post 0n 2-6-2006 concerning my wife's 2003 CR-V w/ 50K miles. Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL)- looks like an orange engine - remained on after 3 driving trip cycles. Took to Autozone, rented the diagnostic tool recommended by Darryl on Jan 1, 2006 to check and clear the codes. Cleared the codes, but light came back on almost immediately. Code P1126 Fuel/Air Ratio Error. Did not know what this meant so took it to Honda dealership. Oxygen sensor had shorted out. They replaced charging $241.66 for part, plus $99.00 for labor. Later learned part could be purchased aftermarket for about $19.00 and the repair is basically unscrewing one sensor from the exhaust pipe and screwing in a replacement. Also learned from Bosch that life expectancy of sensor should be approx 100K. So now that Honda has fleeced me for $340 to replace a light bulb that shouldn't have burnt out, I'm done with them. There reputation for quality is pure marketing bunk.

Posted by: Mike Lloyd at February 7, 2006 01:09 PM

This is a follow up to a 6 Feb 06 post. I experimented with the gas cap loose check engine light problem by leaving my gas cap off. On the way to work, I took off my gas cap and went 15 miles before the check engine light went on. On the way back, I did the same thing and went 17 miles. I reset it again and went 30 miles. These are the approximate mileages I go before the check engine light comes on when the cap is on tight. I wished I had a scanner to to see what the code is for a cap off. Anyway, since a gas cap is a lot cheaper than a catalytic converter, I am going to try getting a new gas cap. However, I suspect that the gas cap off might just be masking the problem of a bad catalytic converter. However, I think its worth a try.

Depsite everything the car is running well. I also suspect that the oxygen sensor on top of the converter may be bad, or unable to get a good reading. If the oxygen sensor was bad, wouldn't the scanner return the appropriate code indicating it is? The code I am getting is P0420 "Catalyst Deficiency Low Bank" after driving 15 to 20 miles with the gas cap on. I would like to replace this sensor, but the wiring goes through a wall under the vehicle. Does anyone know how/where the connector is on the other end of this oxygen sensor.

Feedback is appreciated.


Posted by: Glenn at February 7, 2006 11:13 PM

Hi can anyone tell me how would u find the access code for your stereo for the HONDA CR-V

because my honda Cr-v has a CEL and i'm trying to reset the CEL by disconnecting the batterys.


Posted by: Tommy at February 8, 2006 05:54 PM

Hi I was woundering if Anyone know if u can download or were i can find The Owners Maual for HONDA CR-V 2000 because i just bought the car used and didnt come with one.


Posted by: Tommy at February 8, 2006 09:15 PM

The first step in owning ANYTHING is....


Every car I've ever driven says in the manual, "after refueling, replace the gas cap or

the check engine light may go on!"

Don't be a lazy, sheepish American. Read and understand your owners manual!

Posted by: Corsair at February 17, 2006 12:40 AM

2001 Toyota Tundra. The "D" Drive Indicator Light on dash board went out. ALL OTHERS work fine. How hard is it to change or is something else wrong?

Posted by: Dave at February 19, 2006 06:30 PM

I have a '98 Civic DX coupe with only 40K miles on. The other day the 'check engine' light came on, scaring me. I drove into the nearest shop and for $35 they put the diagnostic terminal on and got back 'forward o2 sensor heater' as the problem source.

Looking around on the net, I too noted that Bosch imply that the 2nd-gen O2 sensors should still be functioning at 100K miles, so the fact that this one failed at 40K seems like an unusual problem for which Honda should take responsibility (which, needless to say, they aren't. Out of warranty, too bad, so sad).

Of course, my less-than-happy feelings toward Honda might be due to the number of problems I've had with this car. I bought the car new, my first Honda, and though I've put only 40K miles on it, I've had to replace the exhaust system 3 times, parts of the cooling system twice, and the air conditioner once. That's not what I was led to expect of a Honda.

It's definitely not the gas cap (I was taught to always twist them til they go krkrkrkrk), but I'm wondering whether having the sensor replaced will really fix the problem, or whether this is a 'tip of the iceberg' kind of thing and something else is breaking down. Being retired and scraping by on social security, any repair bill wipes out my budget.

Posted by: Margaret at February 21, 2006 12:04 PM

Thanks fot your guys great input.

It happens on my 2005CR-V with 10K. My wife found that is a "check fuel cap" first, then the MIL was on. I tightened the cap after refill the fuel. according to the manual, the MIL will diappear automaticaly after three trips (days). Now it has been driven more than a week the MIL is still on. Everything on the car seams well, any tips?

Posted by: Oliver D at February 23, 2006 06:27 PM

Earlier this month, I took my 96 Civic EX in for an emission test at the local gas station. To my surprise, the car failed. Not for emissions failure but it was the ODBII system. It was a bit odd because my check engine had not come on to indicate any failure in the system. I was a bit bothered about this since I had not disconnected my battery in the previous days.

The tester suggested I drive around for a few days to reset the computer and come back for a retest. A few days later, I failed the test again.

Shortly after, I scheduled an appointment at the local Honda dealership for a routine tune up and check on the ODB II computer. The result on the ODB II system showed no error codes. This was two days ago.

This afternoon, I went for my 3rd test at the local gas station. This time, I drove straight from work and pulled up to begin the test without turning the engine off. Lo and behold, it passed!

Now I'm not sure if the previous failures were the result of not properly warming up the car to allow the system to go through its drive cycle since i live around the corner from the test location. This time, I wanted to make sure that my car had an opportunity to go through its drive cycle before the test.

Posted by: Dave at February 25, 2006 01:00 AM

98 civic, engine check light.

Had brother get reading from the passenger side with paper clip.(light blinked 6 long 1 short code 61 maybe)

Supposedly, it was the primer 02 sensor, he reset it, to clear memory;light came back a week later.

Went to honda dealer to replace primary o2 sensor $225 parts $60 labor... light came back a week later (I think the mechanic didn't reset the fuse under the hood... I am really hoping) suggestions?

Posted by: downshiftgirl at March 12, 2006 12:14 AM

I just purchased a 2002 Honda CR-V the end of Feb, and had trouble starting it last wk and the gas gauge stayed on E even though I knew I had 3/4 tank. When I took it to dealership where I got it, they ran tests and the only problem they could find was some 'goop' around battery post. They cleaned it up, I brought it home and today it started after slight hesitation but gas gauge again stayed on E. Anyone have any ideas on this issue?

Posted by: Sunshine at March 13, 2006 10:05 AM

need to know how to re-set "battery re-activation code" for 98 cr-v radio, after power loss

Posted by: shauntiago at March 13, 2006 10:42 PM

I agree with you the way you view the issue. I remember Jack London once said everything positive has a negative side; everything negative has positive side. It is also interesting to see different viewpoints & learn useful things in the discussion.

Posted by: penis enlargement at March 19, 2006 04:16 PM

Recently, my '2000 Honda CRV check engine light lit up and I didn't have any idea what to do. Normally, I would have just taken it in for servicing, but I decided to do some research. I found some of the information here very useful. I went to AutoZone and they let me use a diagnostic tester...and I saved myself about $40 bucks testing it myself. I was able to pin point the problem in just a few seconds. But I am still confused as to what it all means. The diagnostic reading said, "P-0172...System Too Rich (Bank 1)" Does anyone know anything about this....any information is greatly appreciated.

Posted by: Ray at March 19, 2006 08:20 PM

forgot to mention that after i finished the diagnostic testing on my '2000 Honda CRV...the "check engine" light went out....what's that all about??

Posted by: Ray at March 19, 2006 08:24 PM

98 civic, engine check light.

3/12/06 posting, response to my own posting.

O2 sensor-slow response bank 1 sensor 1, maybe be caused by vacuum leaks causing car to run rich and the 02 sensor to go bad due to unbalanced air fuel ratio. fix replace vacuum hoses; they are about a dollar per foot. :)

Posted by: downshiftgirl at March 27, 2006 03:23 AM

I have a 2004 Honda CR-V. I need radio code to reset stero system

Posted by: Clem at March 28, 2006 05:37 PM

My 2005 CRV had the MIL go on. Then loose power while driving on the interstate. Then the Drive indicator starting flashing "D." Then it sounded like a boom strange sound. CRV ran at very high RPM's just to move it. MIL dashboard light stayed on along with the flashing "D" on the shift indicator. Limped to the Honda dealer. Dealer had to replace two transmission solenoids cylanoids sp.? and had to reset and check things. Luckily the CRV was still under warranty. We'll see what happens next. Its too bad, bacause the CRV was getting almost 30MPG on the highway with the A/C on full blast running medium grade fuel before all this. Tighten you gas caps! Make sure it is at least three clicks. But not more than six clicks. Don't do it too fast or too slow. Make sure to count and cross your fingers. It helps to be a safe cracker if you own a CRV. Pain in the ass. :-(

Posted by: Bombas at April 14, 2006 04:33 PM

At 1-1-2006 I bought a 2001 cr-v with 175k kilometers. After 3500 km the check engine lamp started burning. My garage fixed it but after 200km again the check engine started burning again. According to my garage the sensor checking just after the katalysator said that the kalalysator was not working OK. I got a new katalysator (Eur 700,=) which solved the problem. However now at 180k km the light is back again. The garage wants the car in for one day to diagnose the problem. Am I the first with this problem?

Posted by: Jaco Polet at April 16, 2006 03:51 PM

Hi all, 2000 CR-V. No problems until this past winter. Stalls when the weather is cold and engine is cold. Check engine light on intermittently also. Ended up having to use my auto-start to have the car run for 10 minutes every two hours so I wouldn't have to warm up the car for 15 minutes in really cold weather.

Dealer told me code was either "too rich" or "too lean"- I can't remember which, but he said it could be the valves, but he would expect the code to be the opposite if the valves were bad. Had the DNR talk with me- it's an older car, will take $4G to fix, might consider replacing it, yadda yadda. I just ordered a cheapo ODBII device to see for myself what the reading is. Anyhow, the post above that really hit home for me was from Mark the mechanic- talked about finding the honda service bulletin where failing valves are a known problem and they may replace under goodwill if pressed. Does anybody know where I can get a copy of this service bulletin?? I'd like to show it to my service dept. and get their take on it. I need to get another 3 years out of the CR-V, and it this rate I won't make it without spending the $4G. Thanks!

Posted by: Bucky Swider at April 17, 2006 11:20 PM


I have a 2002 Honda CRv. My check engine light came on several months ago and I took it in to the dealer's to have it checked out. They said I needed to replace my Primary O2 sensor. They wanted to charge about $500.00 for part(s) and labor, and said if I didn't take care of it within 6 months or so, I would be looking at $1000.00, due to damages that I will be causing to my car. I am considering buying the part from a discount store and having my boyfriend put it in. I am concerned as my car has had a strage (moth ball) type smell out of the exhaust. Can someone let me know what this would mean?

Posted by: Sandra at April 18, 2006 10:19 AM

I have a 2001 Civic and found this site after my first engine light trauma. I just completed my second. Both times I had driven away from a gas station without my gas cap. OK, no wise cracks.

The first time around, I spent $60 at a gas station to have my thingamajig read and learned absolutely NOTHING. At the time, I didn't know I was missing the cap. After my second lost cap incident (oh stop it), I've found my own solution for getting rid of the light, because the recommended technique hasn't worked. Here's what you do (you'll need 2 gas caps):

(1) Engine light comes on, scaring the crap out of you (in my case because I've been driving around with a NEW GAS CAP for 3 days).

(2) Get out and click the cap shut until you've sprained your wrist. (I keep a wrist brace in the car for this purpose.)

(3) The light will still be on, but don't worry, keep driving for about 2 weeks. Fill up tank as many times as required during that time.

(4) After 2 weeks is up, fill up and change to the other cap, clicking it closed until just before you strip the plastic thread.

(5) Drive around for another 2 weeks, get fill-ups, and so on. By this time, you will be only vaguely annoyed by the warning light.

(6) When that 2 wks is over, fill up the tank. Then, switch back to the ORIGINAL cap. Screw it back on, really putting some weight into it. As you drive away from the station - look - THE LIGHT IS OFF!!!

So, you might agree that a 2nd gas cap is a good investment.

Posted by: Diane at April 30, 2006 04:40 AM

Code:PO420(on honda Civic-1999Ex)1.6, Description(Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold(Bank1), this is my issue: went to the Inspection and they told me my : Check Engine Ligth is not ligthing up during the intial turning on the ignition, he said light bulb is bad and also failed the BULB Test. Intially I had issue with the CODE: P0171 and PO137 my Mechanic replaced my O2 Sesor After and Before and My Mechanic said it should pass the Test now. And now I am getting the Code:P0420. Please Advise.

Posted by: meil at May 31, 2006 06:22 PM

My wife and I purchased a CR-V in June of '04. Just a few days ago we drove it and everything was fine. The very next morning we got in and and started the car; the malfunction light came on. We tried to drive it hoping the light would go off. It was interesting with the several things the car was doing. It sounds similar to several of the postings mentioned. When I drove it the speedometer and odometer were not working at all. When we got onto the highway the engine seem to have difficulty changing gears (it is an automatic by the way). The RPMs would shoot up to about 4 or 5 and stay there for a few seconds before finally switching gears. When we brought it back home I couldn't get the car to go into park. It would only go into neutral until I turned the car off. With the car off it would go into park. The drive light also had a flashing twinkle to it (it would get bright and dull as if it were blinking). Is it a sensor, several sensors, or what?

Posted by: Kennith Ramey at June 8, 2006 10:28 AM

2002 CVR. I bought it new but has already had several problems. So much for Honda quality. I don't think it comes standard on the CRV.

Last Jan in the dead of winter here in frigid Minnesota the SRS light came on and stayed on.

Long story short, the cheap OE car battery was no longer providing enough volts so a new battery fixed the problem. Only 4 years for a battery is pretty poor. My Tolota is still on its original battery after 8+ years. Honda really cheaped out on the CRV. Too Bad.

Posted by: C.E. at July 10, 2006 01:51 PM

UPDATE: Finally a potential breakthrough. After having a $600 tune-up, $169 "emissions service" and the DNR talk with my assigned service rep, I bucked the line and talked to another service rep who is the brother of a friend. He showed me some burnt valves he had on his desk from other CRV's, told me if it needed new valves best case would be I pay for labor and Honda would pay for parts. So he has his mechanic go in and check valve clearance (WHY DIDN'T ANYBODY DO THAT BEFORE!!!) and found 3 of the exhaust valves "REALLY" tight. Was able to adjust all out (he said sometimes they're so tight that the won't come out) and now all valves are at spec...and the CR-V runs like a top again!!! I'm now 1000 miles out from this, and all is still well. We're aware that the valves *may* still be burnt, but only time will tell. So I'd call myself cautiously optimistic. Call to arms for 99-01 CR-V owners: GET YOUR VALVE CLEARANCES CHECKED AT EVERY INSPECTION!!! If you see other 99-01 CRV's in parking lots, etc., put a note on their windshield!! I'm totally not excusing Honda, as they should have made this widely known to customers and technicians alike, i.e. SOP is to check CR-V valves at every opportunity, even when the customer doesn't ask, but at this point we can only do what we can do. It seems like we can potentially save ourselves and other CR-V owners real headaches down the road by advocating this.

Posted by: Bucky Swider at July 12, 2006 08:12 AM

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