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2013 Honda Odyssey - CEL - Plugs

On a recent trip my engine light came on. The booklet said that meant I should pull over and contact the dealer. I did so and the dealer said I could continue to drive if there were no signs of an obvious problem. I didn’t care for that answer so I contacted AAA and they sent out a tow truck. The tow truck took me to the nearest AAA care center. After looking over the car, they said the problem was the spark plugs. After about 3 hours the work was done. We continued on our journey with no other problems. However, at the care center the representative told me that my problem was one many Hondas have that have over 50,000 miles (mine had 55,000). He said that when the car goes into eco mode it uses only 3 pistons which stops fluid(not sure if he meant gas, oil, or what) from flowing into the engine and that affects the spark plugs. After driving so many miles they go bad and the engine light goes on. Is this true? If so, why didn’t Honda warn me of this? I had taken the car in before my trip and they did a “vacation check”. They checked the fluid levels and the tires but nothing else. About 2 months before that, I had the car in for it’s needed oil change and check up. Should the dealer have done more or is this to be put in the category of “who knows what might happen on a long trip” ? I read your column weekly and I rely on what you say. Hope you can answer my question. Thank you Sue Elswick Car talk fan since 1978.

That was valid advice. You chose not to drive on, but you could have.

Because Honda doesn’t know how or where you drive and, even if it is common, it won’t strand you. Honda cannot predict when it will occur. The service tech told you generally when it occurs but even they can’t predict exactly when it may set the error.

The car does turn off 3 cylinders of the 6 to help fuel economy. That may cause those 3 spark plugs problems.

Checking the spark plugs for a “vacation check” would have added 3 hours (and $350) to the job and it would have been dumb for Honda to put the old spark plugs back in.

Yes, that is correct.

By any chance does your receipt show the actual codes the shop got from your Honda?
I would guess this is an extremely rare situation if plugs were fouled due to cylinder deactivation, other manufacturers also use this technique to improve fuel efficiency.
My service center provides a checklist of everything checked, on a car with this few miles and only 6 years old, that is normally all that is needed.
I don’t think anyone could predict this problem.

thanks for info

thanks for reply