2000 CRV "Check Engine" light

My 2000 CRV has just under 58800 miles on it. The "Check Engine" indicator came on yesterday. My owner's manual has apparently evaporated.
Does this light come on when it is time to loosen the owner up a bit so he/she will be more willing to bend over and let Honda do the 60,000 mile service package?
Can someone please list the malfunctions that can cause this indicator to come on?
What do I do to reset the indicator to normal "off"?
Thanks in advance!
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There are hundreds of possible causes so go to an Autozone or some other parts store that will read the codes and let us know what it is. First make sure your gas cap is tight Something as simple as leaving it loose will set a code.

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The owner's manual isn't a whole lot of help on this, I'm afraid, but the situation is pretty much the same with all cars sold in the US since January 1996 and some slightly earlier than that. The system that is offended is called OBDII (On-Board Diagnostics level 2) and is a required component of emissions control.
First, what the light doesn't mean: it doesn't mean any critical engine system has failed, although if the engine or transmission is misbehaving the light indicates the ECU has stored codes to provide some information. If the car drives normally it is safe to drive it around town, and if the fuel consumption didn't suddenly increase the car can also be driven on the freeway. (The owner's manual won't tell you that but will tell you to have the light checked out immediately.)
What it does mean: the ECU has stored a code that has to be read with an OBDII reader. If you don't want to spend the $100-$200 US for a code reader, you can take the car to most major auto parts chains and they will read the code(s) for free (in hopes it will point to a part they can sell you). They can also try to clear the code(s) with the reader. The code may come back immediately, indicating a part has failed hard; it may come back in time, indicating the system needed time to gather data to say it was bad; or it may not come back at all.
A common code will point to the "evaporative emission control" system. This means there is a leak in the vapor side of the fuel system. In that case, get a replacement gas cap and fasten it tightly. Loose or leaky caps are a common fault. If it points to an O2 sensor or the catalytic converter, check back before taking the plunge.
When you get the codes, write them down (they will be in the form of "P0123") and post them here - without those we are in the dark.
Mike
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