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Amedee, Former ASE Master Technician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 26645
Experience:  ASE certified tech advanced level specialist. Wisconsin certified emissions state inspector
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I have a 20210 V6 Honda Accord with 62K miles. Driving home

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I have a 2010 V6 Honda Accord with 62K miles. Driving home today, it began to run sluggish and the malfunction light began blinking. Is this the timing belt? Manual says this indicator light is emissions related

Hello and welcome to Just Answer!

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I can assist you with your question.

I am sorry to hear about your engine performance issue you are having. I have soon good news as this diagnoses will not be that involved.

That is correct. This check engine light is strictly for emission purposes only. It can come on with or without a performance issue. In your case, the engine is running rough causing the emissions coming out of the tail pipe to go higher than normal. This is why the light is on.

However, lets take this one step further. The computer flashes this check engine light when the computer recognizes a catalytic converter damaging misfire occur while the engine is running. It does this to alert the driver as a precaution not to drive the vehicle very far. If so, the catalytic converter can be overheated which can shorten the life of the converter so it is recommended not to drive the vehicle if the check engine light is flashing.

So you are going to want to get the engine performance issue fixed as this will stop the engine from running rough and the check engine light will no longer flash. In fact, once this is diagnosed and fixed, you can get the computer cleared and the check engine light will no longer even be on.

You are going to want to start by checking for diagnostic trouble codes in the computer. You can pay a tech to do this or you can do this yourself if you get your hands on a code reader or a pocket scanner. A lot of times your local parts store will even do this for free for you. Once you know the code in the computer, you can go after the root cause.

My experience has been that this will cause misfire codes in the computer (because the engine is misfiring). From there you can go after which cylinder is misfiring and fix or replace the root cause of the misfire. Usually when we see this in the shop it is just bad tune up parts but it would be a good idea to check engine compression and fuel delivery (on that cylinder that is misfiring) just to be sure there is nothing else going on.

The cost will depend on what is bad and the shops labor rate you bring your vehicle to unless you decide to do the work yourself. In that case, it would just be the price of the part or parts that are needed. Usually this is not an expensive repair especially if this is just bad tune up parts causing this rough running condition.

I am glad I could help! It has been a pleasure assisting you with your question. Please don't forget to rate my answer as "excellent service" so I get credit for the time and knowledge that I have shared with you in a timely manner.

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Thanks in advance!

Best Regards

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

there have not been any parts used on this vehicle. Are you certain this is not the timing belt? I live 2 miles from my service center for Honda...I cannot do this myself. To my knowledge parts have been Honda parts but are you saying they could be bad?

Anything that can cause the engine to misfiring can and will cause this light to flash as the engine is running.

YES.. it could be the timing belt and YES.. this should be checked. I was just explaining what my experience has been causing this condition.

YES.. any parts (tune up parts or fuel injectors) can go bad causing the engine to misfire.. even if they are Honda Factory parts. Factory parts still do go bad.. it is just less likely they will go bad compared to after market parts.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Should I risk driving it 2 miles or have it towed? The last thing I want to do is damage the engine. Could it be damaged already if I was driving 65 mph when the light came on?

How long did you drive the engine when the check engine light was flashing?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

2 miles maximum

Ok.. no.. I don't think this is enough to cause damage to the catalytic converter. I think you will be ok.

However, I would still recommend to get it towed to the dealership if the engine is still misfiring just to be on the safe side.

I hope this helps!
Amedee and 3 other Honda Specialists are ready to help you