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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 32360
Experience:  20+ yrs. experience as repair shop manager and technician.
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2005 Honda Civic: Indicator Light..Sedan..gas cap..emissions controls

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My Malfunction Indicator Light just came on. I amdriving a 2005 Honda Civic Sedan.

I do not think I had a loose gas cap (one posible cause according to my manual), thoughI did fill up a couple of days ago.

My dealer is about 25 miles away, but I am hesitant to drive the car in because the manual says driving could damage emissions controls or the engine.

Advice? Suggestions?

the MIL comes on when the onboard computer detects a fault in the engine management system, transmission system or evapaorative emissions system. there are over 800 fault codes that can set and cause the MIL to come on. They range from a loose gas cap, vacuum leak, engine misfire, transmission slippage, and a wide range in between.

The only way to know the area of concern is to have the onboard computer read with a diagnostic scanner. at that point pinpoint diagnosis can be done to isolate problem and then repair.

as there are no outward symptoms such as engine running rough, transmission slipping or harsh shifting, it is safe to drive the 25 miles to your local dealership for diagnosis and repair.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Before I got to you, I did enter "Malfunction Indicator Light" into Google, and I read a couple of post suggesting I go to Auto Zone to get the diagnostic check. Is that a good idea?


My local garage is just a mile down the road--would they be able to diagnose? Just wondering if Honda requires special diagnostic equipment?


If I take a couple of short trips (less than a mile), and the light goes off, then is that an indicator that it is a gas cap problem?


Will I be able to drive to and from work (30 miles each way) before taking the car to the shop? Not saying I will, just asking....


Is there anything I should be looking for besides the symptoms you have already mentioned?


any shop with a diagnostic scanner is capable of retreiving the fault codes, so if you have a local shop nearby that you have used, they will be fine to do this. No Honda specialty equipment is needed.

If you take short trips and the light goes off, it can be either due to loose gas cap or there is an intermittent fault.

As long as there are no outward symptoms, it should be safe to drive that mileage for a few days.

Look for anything unusual- engine misfire, hard starting, idling up and down, harsh or delayed shifting of the transmission, transmission slippage, fuel odor when idling, stalling out
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