Check Engine Light Honda Civic


The check engine light (CEL) is a common feature in modern vehicles, including the Honda Civic. It serves as an early warning system, alerting you to potential problems with your car’s engine or related components. In this article, we’ll discuss the common causes of a check engine light in a Honda Civic, how to troubleshoot and reset the light, and what you can do to prevent future issues.

Common Causes of the Check Engine Light

There are numerous reasons why the check engine light might come on in your Honda Civic. Here are some of the most common causes:

Oxygen Sensor Failure

A faulty oxygen sensor can trigger the check engine light. This sensor measures the amount of unburnt oxygen in the exhaust gases and helps the engine control module (ECM) adjust the air-fuel mixture. If the sensor fails, it can lead to poor engine performance and reduced fuel efficiency.

Loose Gas Cap

A loose or damaged gas cap can cause the check engine light to come on. The gas cap is designed to seal the fuel system, preventing fuel vapors from escaping into the atmosphere. If the cap isn’t properly tightened or is damaged, the ECM will detect a leak and trigger the light.

Faulty Catalytic Converter

A malfunctioning catalytic converter can also cause the check engine light to appear. The catalytic converter is responsible for converting harmful emissions into less harmful substances before they exit the exhaust system. If it fails, your vehicle will produce more harmful emissions and could fail an emissions test.

Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils

Worn or damaged spark plugs and ignition coils can lead to a check engine light. These components are responsible for igniting the air-fuel mixture in the engine. If they’re not functioning correctly, it can cause misfires and poor engine performance.

Mass Air Flow Sensor

A faulty mass air flow (MAF) sensor is another possible culprit. The MAF sensor measures the amount of air entering the engine and sends this information to the ECM. If the sensor fails, it can cause poor engine performance and reduced fuel efficiency.

Troubleshooting the Check Engine Light

When the check engine light comes on, it’s essential to find the cause and fix it. Here are some steps to help you troubleshoot the problem:

Use an OBD-II Scanner

An OBD-II scanner is a tool that connects to your car’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) system. It can read diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) stored by the ECM when the check engine light is triggered. By using an OBD-II scanner, you can identify the specific issue causing the light to come on, making it easier to address the problem.

Visual Inspection

Perform a visual inspection of your Honda Civic to look for any obvious issues. Check the gas cap to ensure it’s properly tightened and not damaged, and examine the spark plug wires and ignition coils for signs of wear or damage.

Check Engine Light Honda Civic

Professional Diagnosis

If you’re unable to identify the cause of the check engine light using an OBD-II scanner or through a visual inspection, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic. They have the necessary tools and expertise to diagnose and fix the issue.

How to Reset the Check Engine Light

Once the issue causing the check engine light has been resolved, you’ll need to reset the light. There are several ways to do this:

Using an OBD-II Scanner

An OBD-II scanner can also be used to reset the check engine light. Connect the scanner to your car’s OBD port, turn on the ignition, and follow the on-screen instructions to clear the DTCs. This should turn off the check engine light.

Disconnecting the Battery

Disconnecting the car’s battery for a short period can also reset the check engine light. Turn off the engine and disconnect the negative battery terminal for about 15-20 minutes. Reconnect the battery and start the engine. The check engine light should be off. Note that this method may reset other settings in your car, such as the radio presets.

Check Engine Light Honda Civic

Consult a Professional

If neither of the above methods works, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic. They can reset the check engine light for you and ensure there are no remaining issues.

Preventing Check Engine Light Issues

To minimize the chances of encountering check engine light problems in the future, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Regularly check and replace worn or damaged spark plugs and ignition coils.
  2. Keep the oxygen sensor and MAF sensor clean and in good working condition.
  3. Check your gas cap regularly and replace it if it’s damaged or worn.
  4. Schedule regular oil changes and use the recommended oil grade for your Honda Civic.
  5. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle.


A check engine light in your Honda Civic can be caused by various issues, ranging from simple fixes like a loose gas cap to more complex problems such as a faulty catalytic converter. Properly diagnosing and addressing these issues is crucial for maintaining your car’s performance and efficiency. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can help prevent check engine light problems and keep your Honda Civic running smoothly.


1. How do I know if the check engine light is a serious problem?

A blinking or flashing check engine light usually indicates a severe issue that requires immediate attention, while a solid light typically indicates a less urgent problem. In either case, it’s essential to diagnose and fix the issue as soon as possible.

2. Can I driving with the check engine light on?

While it’s generally safe to drive short distances with the check engine light on, it’s best to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent further damage or decreased performance.

3. How much does it cost to fix the check engine light?

The cost to fix a check engine light issue depends on the specific problem. Simple fixes like tightening a loose gas cap are inexpensive, while more complex issues like replacing a catalytic converter can be costly. Always consult a professional mechanic for accurate pricing.

4. Can a faulty check engine light cause my car to fail an emissions test?

Yes, a check engine light often indicates an emissions-related issue. If the light is on during an emissions test, your car may fail the test, depending on the regulations in your area.

5. Can I use a smartphone app to diagnose the check engine light?

Yes, there are smartphone apps available that can help you diagnose the check engine light when paired with a compatible OBD-II adapter. These apps can read DTCs and provide information on the issue, similar to a standalone OBD-II scanner. However, the accuracy and features of these apps may vary, so it’s essential to choose a reliable app and adapter.

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