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1999 Honda Civic OBD won't reset

The car has almost 92,000 miles on it. My wife and I can’t get the car inspected because the OBD computer keeps giving the message “Not Ready” for the Catalyst, Evaporative System, and Oxygen Sensor when connected to the DMV computer.



This has been going on for TWO YEARS. It all began when we moved from Connecticut to NYC. The check engine light came on, and we took it to the shop. The diagnosis was we needed to replace the oxygen sensor. We did that, but we needed to go ahead and get the car inspected for NY State since we had just changed our registration. However, the OBD needed to reset after having the O2 sensor changed.



So, I drove the car like crazy for a few days to make sure it got enough miles on it to reset the computer. I went about 160 miles those first few days after having the sensor replaced, but when I took it back to the shop, it still said “Not Ready.” So, my wife and I took turns driving places we wouldn’t normally drive, just hoping it would reset, but aware that we were melting ice caps and causing asthma. It would all be worth it once we got the coveted inspection sticker. Next time we went in…“Not Ready.”



So, we went online and downloaded the CRAZY steps for running it through a “drive cycle,” which by the way, is impossible to do in the City. So, my wife took a needless trip to visit some friends in CT, where, after allowing the car to cool over night (one step of the 139-step process), she followed the instructions to the letter. We took the car back to the shop more hopeful than ever, but to no avail…“Not Ready!”



Since the O2 sensor was replaced, we?ve put over 4,000 miles on the car, which is not much for two years, but which is about 97.986754% more than the original shop told us we would need to put on the car for the computer to reset. And, most of those miles were put on the car soon after the O2 sensor was replaced. We have since settled into a NYC lifestyle with less driving (especially following getting tickets any time we park on the street ? yes, for not having an inspection sticker). However, we do need our car since we have two young children who we take to visit family in Juweezy. Now the car?s registration is due, and we cannot renew it without getting the inspection.



So, today, fighting against every cell in my body screaming, “don’t do it man, don’t do it,” I took our Civic to the dealership. They called back with an offer to provide us with the 90,000 mile service, which the car “really needs,” for $1095. Oh, and it needs a timing belt for an additional $695. Are these recession prices? When pressed about the “Not Ready” issue, the service advisor told me he can drive the car and make sure the computer resets for $200.



Needless to say, I am skeptical about dropping $200 bucks for someone to repeat what I’ve done for TWO YEARS that hasn’t worked.



Any suggestions would be greatly, greatly, greatly appreciated.

I can’t help you with the OBD problem, but the car does need to have its timing belt changed. If they’re installing a new water pump, which should also be replaced, for the $695 it’s reasonable, but an independent mechanic could probably do it for less.

There is a maintenance schedule with the owner’s manual. It will tell you what the car “really needs.” The dealer adds all sorts of stuff to jack up his profit, recession or not.

Skip over the dealer. In the NYC area there are likely multiple Honda specialists around and have them address the problem. While you are at it have the timing belt replaced too.

First of all, considering your situation, $200 sounds like a bargain. … If the guy can really persuade to car to complete its “drive cycle”. Can he? Who knows? I sure as heck wouldn’t pay him until he can demonstrate that the Not Ready condition is cleared.

OBDII was introduced in 1996. A few vehicles in the 1996 and 1997 model years simply can’t reset some monitors no matter what you do. Maybe some 1999s do as well. I know that some states have exceptions for some tests for certain models and model years. Perhaps NY does also and is just too disorganized for the test stations to know it. How to find out? Maybe call the DMV in Albany? Want to bet on whether they answer phones and provide useful answers?

As for 90K service. If I only drove 2000 miles a year, I’d probably skip most of it. Odds are that it’ll be many years before lack of that maintenance causes you any trouble. You might consider having an independent mechanic check the fluids, accessory belts, change the oil. Your call on how much you spend.

Timing belt? In principle, you ought to change it because when it breaks – and it will break eventually – it’ll almost certainly destroy the engine. http://www.gates.com/part_locator/index.cfm?location_id=3598 But you drive so few miles that I suppose, drive it until the timing belt busts then scrap the car might be a rational strategy. If you decide to drive more miles or plan to keep it more than a few more years, get the belt replaced.

I have the EXACT same problem. Can get registered, although there is nothing wrong with the car, because the computer says “NOT READY.” Did you ever find a solution?

Follow these instructions http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_reset_the_drive_cycle_on_the_OBDII_computer_on_a_honda_civic

Tester

I do not know about Honda, but on my Toyota, they recommend inspecting the water pump. Do not imagine they will tell you not to replace it out of kindness even if it looks bad, and in my case they said the water pump is good for another 90,000 miles.

They tell you they will replace it if you want, but with proper cooling system maintenance, it is not automatic the Toyota water pumps need to be replace with the timing pump.

I do worry about it, though I believe them. I figure if only one person in the world will have a Toyota water pump go bad after passing inspection at 90,000 miles, it will be me.

Probably at 180,000 miles I will have it replaced even if they say it is good.