Honda Element Owners Club banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hate to be the first do have done something stupid...but I seem to be good at it! Last night on my way to work, I passed someone on a two lane highway. After passing I noticed that my check engine light had come on. So, of course, I freaked; figuring I had already FUBAR'd the new car. So after reading the manual I made the one adjustment it suggested (ie tightening the gas cap ?!?!) and now I'm not sure if I should drive it anymore. The manual said if it's a gas cap thing, the light will go off on it's own in 2-3 days...then in a previous sentence, the manual states that you shouldn't drive the bugger at all if the light comes on. Anyone have any ideas? I am, of course, calling the dealer but I would like some real world type advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
remf,

Ouch, did you just come from a fillup? Were you just pumping gas?

Yes, the gas cap being left a few turns short can cause the lights to go on, and freak you out.

However, if you were not pumping gas, and the cap was tight, I would worry about it, take it to the dealer ASAP. I would not want to drive it, if there is going to be a problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO TO FIND OUT WHATS GOING ON !!!
I had been told on my last vehicle to ignore the check engine light by a qualified technician.......he said that most of the time they don't mean anything. I even got a new gas cap! WELL, I learned the hard way. It took a while for the real damage to occur and I got the run around for 3 years :shock:
It ended up having to do with carbon buildup and valve problems. Almost a $1000.00 later I ended up having to sell the thing only 2 months after I sunk all that money into it. I know your vehicle is still under warranty and you wouldn't consider ignoring such a thing with a new vehicle. But it's crazy how certified mechanics can sometimes be of no help at all. Be vigilant. I forgot to say my check engine light went on and off when it felt like it so that complicated matters a bit I suppose. I will never let anyone tell me again that it doesn't mean anything when it comes on.

LittleDogBox
Arlington, Va.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
I seriosly doubt you have FUBAR'd anything. If you had driven just a short distance from a gas station, then i would strongly suspect insufficiently tightening the gas cap (my son did this to my wifes accord and freaked!!). You can always try resetting the light by pulling off one of the battery cables (the negative is usually the best one) and slowly count to ten and then replace the cable. The light should go off. If it doesn't then run dont walk to your favorite Honda store for them to look at it. After pulling off the battery cable you have to reset your radio per your owners manual and reset the AUTO feature of the power windows. You do this by pulling up on the drivers side window switch and when the window is at the very top, you continue to hold it for 2 seconds and then release it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
My checked engine light came on one day after I parked my E out over night in 14 below degree weather. The light came on I freaked out and called the dealer's service department who said that it could be the vent pressure sensor it was common to go on new vehicles. Also that I could keep driving it until I could bring it in. However, after driving it during the day the light went off so I cancelled my appointment and it has not come back on since that time so I figured maybe the cold may of affected it.

I think in the worst case it is the pressure vent sensor you should be able to drive it until you can get it checked out at the dealer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
The Check Engine light came on in my Chevy S-10. I took it to the dealer as soon as I could - they hooked on a diagnostic compuer and pronounced that it had had a misfire on starting up. The Honda Service Technican will be able to do the same thing for you - it takes jus a second to find out what the real problem is.

Iskie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well...I started her up last night just to check..it idle'd for a second and the engine light went out. So, I'm just going to keep an eye on things for now.

Thanks for the advice all!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
Simon,

Well, from what I understand, fuel (as most things) expand when it is heated. That being said, when you pump gas from the ground it is at one temp. When you warm it up it expands and needs to get some of the vapor out. The pressure vent is how the excess pressure is released.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
I spent a 3 year stint as a service manager at an auto repair shop in California. Here's the skinny: on OBDII vehicles (including the Element), if the light is on steady, make an appointment to get it checked (assuming it does not go out within a day, and after rechecking the fuel cap) at -YOUR- convienience, and drive the vehicle normally. If the light is flashing, don't drive it, something (often in the emmission system) is being damaged. This is a generalization, but this is standard across all vehicle manufacturers on newer vehicles (which have ODBII emmission systems).

Also, the problem with resetting the computer by the old tried-and-true removal of the battery cable method, is it also resets the adaptive learn (and stored history) from your ECM. The main problem with this is, if you do have a real problem (especially an intermittent one), you just erased the one chance your service tech had of finding it. The modern scanner shops use today are very powerful tools, and the new OBDII systems are awesome for troubleshooting problems, but they require the vehicles ECM history to be accurate and complete. The ECM's are continuously running tests every moment your engine is running, and will not trip the light on the dash, until it sees a fault "trend". Every fault (ie. engine misfire, high transmission temperature, or any monitored system parameter that falls outside the norm) is recorded and is available for retrieval, but may not trigger a light if the system corrects itself or there is no "trend", or pattern.

I have no idea how this applies to our northern friends (Canadian models), but this is how it has been in Sunny California for years. Just remember...The MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light) is your friend. hehehe.

-Anthony
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Simon said:
What is a pressure vent?


I don't believe there is any actual "pressure vent", the pressure vent sensor senses if pressure is being -vented-, which it should not be. A large portion of our smog emissions where from evaporated gasoline vented out of our fuel tanks. I don't know if any one remembers, but a lot of earlier cars had vent tubes right out of the tank into open air to allow for expansion due to temperature changes. New cars have closed systems, and balance the pressures internally (different manufaturers have different systems and ways of doing this).

-Anthony
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
The ECM works in exactly the same way in Canada. There are very few differences in vehicles sold in Canada apart from the kilometres listings on the speedometre and the odometre.

Iskie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
[quote:a0fa8f53d9="isketerol"]The ECM works in exactly the same way in Canada. There are very few differences in vehicles sold in Canada apart from the kilometres listings on the speedometre and the odometre.

Iskie[/quote:a0fa8f53d9]

Hey, on a side note- is the Canadian model available with an engine block heater? I hear it can sometimes get a little chilly up there...

-Anthony
(Element Drivre) :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I always interpreted the "check engine" light as an alert to the operator to periodically open the hood and confirm that the engine is properly situated in it's compartment. My check engine has illuminated dozens of times and I do not think that any damage has occurred. My '89 Toyota Corolla still gets about 12 to 15 mpg and it has over 80,000 miles!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Here is one alternative to costly repairs involving the dreaded "check engine" light. I used to have an old Chevy Malibu that had a problem with that darn check engine light. After careful consideration, I managed to cover the light with a small piece of electrical tape that fit perfectly into the dashboard. I then sold the car and moved to New Jersey.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
You may have been lucky but I certainly wouldn't recommend to anyone to put tape over their check engine light. Sure I had thought about it on my now deceased 94 Isuzu trooper after looking at it for 3 years. I had many people tell me not to worry about it and that it probably wasn't anything. Well 3 years later hence bad advice, the revenge of the engine light raised it's ugly head.
It cost me nearly $1000 for letting it go too long. Apparently carbon buildup had been the culprit and had ended up causing expensive valve damage that possibly could have been avoided with proper advice from a good mechanic. ( less city driving and a hight octane gas wouldn't have hurt either ). THE LIGHT DOES MEAN SOMETHING and it doesn't mean to check under the hood to see if your engine is properly situated or perhaps completely missing altogether. Ignoring your check engine light can prove very costly and may result in having to get rid of your vehicle if the damage goes too far.

LittleDogBox
Arlington, Va.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top