1997 Honda Accord Check Engine Light

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The 1997 Honda Accord featured the second generation of computerized engine diagnostics, referred to as onboard diagnostics 2 or OBD II. This diagnostics technology was applied to all passenger vehicles manufactured after the year 1996 and standardized the equipment needed in order to diagnose check-engine light codes. While the diagnostic equipment that you hook up to your car's OBD port was once expensive to purchase, as the years have progressed, OBD II is now in full operation and the scanners and tools have been made affordable for home mechanics and do-it-yourself repair enthusiasts.

Tools Used[edit]

OBD II scanner OBD II trouble codes guide

Check Engine Light[edit]

  • Remove the ashtray from the center dashboard of the 1997 Honda Accord. Set the ashtray aside.
  • Connect the plug of the OBD II scanner into the diagnostic/data link connector (DLC) now revealed by your removal of the ashtray.
  • Place the key in the ignition and turn the key two clicks forward to the "II" position--also known as the KOEO (key-on/engine-off) position.
  • Follow the menu of the OBD II scanner to determine which code(s) have caused the Check Engine light (also known as the malfunction indicator light or MLC) to illuminate. While there are many varieties of OBD II scanners with differing operational procedures, most are quite simple to use. Most employ a scroll button or two to scroll through the onscreen menu of the OBD II scanner, and most offer a "read code" or "read DTC (diagnostic trouble code)" option.
  • Press the Enter or Send button to retrieve the code once the scanner has been selected to the "read code" or "read DTC" option. Some scanners may take a few seconds to retrieve the data through the Accord's electronic control module.
  • Refer the number(s) of the trouble code(s) to an online trouble codes site (see the Reference section below) to retrieve more information about the trouble code. Some high-end scanners will give a brief description of the trouble code on the onscreen menu.

Tips & Warnings[edit]

  • Honda/Acura is one of the only vehicles manufactured that placed the data link connector behind the ashtray in the first application of the OBD II phase. Most vehicles place them under the dashboard on the driver's side. Later Honda and Acura models now place them under the dash to comply with the universal application OBD II was intended for. While the DLC is supposed to be within 12 inches of the steering wheel, many mechanics had problems locating the DLC on some models.
  • Hondas use a security code for their stereo systems. If the battery is unplugged to temporarily erase a trouble code, you can lose the security code for the radio, rendering it inoperable until the code is re-entered into the radio. Most scanners will clear codes with an erase button or a menu option you scroll to. Clearing codes will not fix the vehicle, nor will it allow the vehicle to pass emissions testing. Once a code is cleared, the vehicle will go into a self-learning mode until all the inspection and maintenance monitors are reset. If the electronic control module detects the problem has not been fixed, the diagnostic trouble code will re-trigger the Check Engine light.