2003 Accord Check Engine Light

Yes, I know that CEL is like someone waving their hand. But this did happen when I was on my way to pay my property taxes and I had my priorities. Anyway, thanks to many who suggested going to AutoZone to find out the CEL. Mine was P0141, which indicates a malfunction in the heater circuit for the oxygen (cough, cough) sensor. Given that I know zip about car mechanics, is this something that a local garage mechanic could fix? What should I expect? Please and thank you for any advice.

The problem could be any one of several things in the circuit but more than likely the heater coil is burnt out in the O2.
This is not a major repair and anybody should be able to handle this with no problem.

Before spending any money you might consider checking with the Honda regional office on this. Honda has been getting slapped around a bit as of late over emissions and they may cover this for you free. I think there is a program about covering O2 sensors but I just flat do not remember the details behind it as to year, models affected, etc.

One has to be careful when taking a vehicle in for a “covered repair”. A quick scan of the TSBs didn’t reveal a recall on oxygen sensors. : the emissions systems are covered by state and federal mandate for X number or years or miles. You may be charged (legitimately) for “troubleshooting” which is used to actually uncover the cause of the symptom. The DTC (Digital Trouble Code of P0141 is “O2 heater circuit (Bank 1, Sensor2)”. This is the O2 sensor after the catalytic converter.

I called Honda today b/c I do remember getting several letters about a recall or whatever that had something to do with cold weather. Since I live in Dallas where we don’t have very much cold weather, I ignored it. Anyway, Honda said that I was current on all my ‘fixes’ or ‘recalls’. So my next question is: Will this possibly be an expensive repair? Is the O2 sensor hard to get at and thus require more labor charge? Thanks.

If the O2 sensor is bad, it is an easy replacement. This O2 sensor is on the exhaust pipe behind the catalytic converter. A not-so-special O2 sensor socket on a standard wrench should be the only tool required. A quick check with the sensor still installed is all that is required to determine if it is indeed bad. I don’t know all the options for your car, but a new sensor will run anywhere from $100 to $300 for this car just for the part.

This sensor is strictly for emissions monitoring. This sensor will not cause any problems with the engine if not replaced immediately. But, it will not pass any emissions testing until fixed. Every car from 1996 on uses an ODB-II compliant engine management system, and this system monitors the engine for it’s emissions. Emissions testing for these cars is simply talking to the car’s computer to see if the emissions are still good. If an emissions sensor goes bad, the computer will not give the testing station an OK signal.

What a coincidence, my 2004 Accord CEL came on recently!
My mechanic mentioned something about the heater circuit.
Will check back with him to get the details & approx costs to fix.

I recently had this exact problem. I have the Honda shop manual, and I was able to measure the heater circuit in the O2 sensor. The heater was open. I bought the replacement sensor from a on-line honda dealer for about $75.00.

The tricky part is finding the connector for the sensor. It is located under the passenger seat beneath the carpet.