I have a 1997 Accord LX with an automatic transmission and 118.5k on the
16 days ago, my check engine light unexpectedly came on, and has been on
ever since. I have not had the engine examined by a mechanic because the
engine sounds fine, and I have not experienced any loss of power or gas
mileage. Should I go to a mechanic immediately, or wait until my
scheduled 120k check-up? Thanks, in advance.
One_Great email@example.com (1 Gr8 Fan) wrote in
If in the US, AutoZone (outside of CA) will read the code for free. Report
The MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) can illuminate for any of literally
200 reasons, some of which can kill your $1,200 catalytic converter.
However, the most common MIL illumination reasons are 1) an insufficiently
tightened gas cap, and 2) intermittent misfire due to intake leaks and
poorly-maintained ignition systems.
This time I'll disagree with TeGGeR and vote for waiting. The crucial points
are the engine operation and fuel economy being okay. The light should
really be called "emissions system" light, but then nobody would ever have
it checked. In many models other fault codes are also piggy-backed onto the
mandatory emissions related codes, which complicates the decision.
As TeGGeR points out, some of the failures can cause the mixture to be way
too rich and can melt the catalyst. But even with those failures the car can
be driven around town without creating that much heat in the catalyst, and
can be driven gently at freeway speeds. Once you know the fuel economy is
normal the restrictions are unnecessary.
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