Recently the check engine light has started coming on every time I drive on the highway. At approximately the 5th mile of my ride, the light comes on but I cannot detect any symptoms, the car runs great. This rarely if ever happens when driving in the city, only on the interstate. My car is too old to be hooked up to the fancy diagnostic machine. Can anyone offer some advice what I should check to resolve this problem?
Well, the cheapest route might be hooking it up to some fancy code reader. If you are not in CA, most auto parts stores will read the codes for free. Have it read and post. It might be as simple as a loose gas cap or needing new spark plugs.
Unfortunately, because of the age of the car, that is not an option.
This car is pre-OBD-II. But it did have OBD-I
My wifes 87 Accord had OBD-i. If it’s the same as my wifes Accord…under the drivers seat is a black box. There’s an LED light that will blink if there’s a problem. I forget the procedure…but I think you just turn the key t the on position without starting it. Then count the number of flashes the black-box is flashing. It’ll keep repeating the code with a long pause between codes.
Then you have to determine what the code means. Might still be able to find that info in the net.
Thanks, Mike. I’ll check it out after work to see if I have the black box.
You’ll need those diagnostic codes to provide a clue to the cause. Otherwise it would be pure guess-work. And it is easy to run out of money before running out of guesses.
I expect your car has that OBD I LED blinking feature. That’s good actually, you don’t need to purchase no fancy OBD II scanner. Your car’s computer, on its own, should provide you the codes, no problem. On my Corolla, which is OBD I also, I have to install a jumper wire, then the codes blink out on the check engine light. But I think on Hondas they blink out on that LED instead. You may have to search around using Google to find the procedure to initiate the blinking. Once you have the codes, you are welcome to post them here. The experts here can weigh in with some opinions anyway.
279 K is a big accomplishment, good for you. And I hope once you get this issue resolved you can go further still.
I thought for most cars you can use an adapter to read the OBD I codes.
I’m not aware of any adapter for reading older Corolla OBD I codes using an OBD II code reader. The two systems – OBD I and OBD II – are an entirely different design, both in the connectors they use, and the sensor data they make available to monitor.
I’m going to be a pessimist . . .
Considering the check engine light comes on only while driving on the freeway, and considering the high mileage and age . . . perhaps the catalytic converter is the problem
Even though this car may not be OBD2 compliant . . . some 1994 and 1995 models were, though . . . many OBD1 cars had downstream sensors. And the purpose was the same . . . to monitor the condition of the cat
My 1995 49 state Corolla had a downstream sensor, whose purpose was to monitor the cat’s condition
If you want to proceed with this in a DIY manner you might consider checking the AutoZone website and registering on there. There is a repair info section after you enter the vehicle particulars that should show you how to run diagnostic codes on this car. It involves a 2 pin connector near the glove box which can be jumped with a paper clip.
Then you have to carefully watch the blinks to obtain the number(s) and go through the DTC list which should also be on the site.
At 279k miles anything is possible. A very wild guess might be an EGR system fault.
If the owner’s manual is still in the van, the procedure to check the OBD-1 codes might be in there. You also might find a repair manual like Haynes or Chiltons at your public library. Those repair manuals probably have the OBD-1 check procedure.
An observation . . .
I’ve never seen an owner’s manual for an OBD1 car that instructs owners how to retrieve the blink codes
Maybe they’re out there, but I’ve never seen them