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Check engine light came and went - 2000 Honda Odyssey

We have a 2000 Honda Odyssey with 125,000 miles on it. We had to replace the transmission last March and then had to replace the radiator. A few days ago, the ‘check engine’ light came on and I took it to a local mechanic who said that it seems the engine cylinders were not firing up all at the same time. Possibly, there was problem with the valve adjustments. FYI, in the morning when I started the car it was shaking quite a bit but as I would drive for a few minutes, the shaking would go away. In any case, a few days later the 'check engine ’ light stopped showing up. I am confused!! Did the car fix itself? Or is it something else like the bulb of the check engine light is not working. I appreciate any thoughts on this. I would like to keep the car if I can but if I have to spend big money to get this problem fixed , I wonder if it is worth the money. A couple of notes: we have already replaced the timing belt around 80k miles and have kept up with the routine maintenance.

Something is wrong (and not just with the bulb.) Cars don’t fix themselves either.

Was the engine shaking or did the van shake when you drove it due to the transmission?

Codes are stored in the computer. An auto parts store may help you read those for free. What you probably need though is a mechanic you can trust that knows these vans.

FYI, the cylinders aren’t all supposed to fire at the same time.

Maintenance means more than just changing the oil. What else have you done to keep up with the maintenance? When was the valve clearance last checked?

When the Check Engine light comes on it means the engine management system has detected a problem with the operation of the engine. When the Check Engine light turns off it means that problem no longer exists.

You can have the computer scanned for history codes to determine what caused the Check Engine light to come on. But if the Check Engine light has turned off and stays off, I wouldn’t worry about it.


We got the timing belt and valve clearance checked during our 80k mega check-up. BTW, as for the engine or van shaking, the van is no longer shaking (just as the engine light stopped showing, the van stopped shaking too). Makes it more confusing to me! As for you question, on van shaking before transmission got changed, no, the van didn’t shake before that - but it was slipping when I was moving from 3rd to 4th gear or so (speed between 30 and 50 miles an hour). It was making a sudden jerk when I was increasing speed above 30 or so. But if I drove under 20, it was fine.

Sounds good to me. Thanks. BTW, I will have the computer scanned for history codes to check what caused the light to come on.

  1. When you turn your key to “on” (but not to “start,”) all of the dash lights should light. This is so that you can check to see if any are burned out. If the CEL lights here, then it isn’t failing to illuminate because it’s burned out.

  2. It seem your mechanic was describing a misfire (from “engine cylinders were not firing up all at the same time.”) Also, the rough running when cold could easily be a miss.

What to do: see if the CEL comes back, particularly if the rough running returns. If so, take the car (immediately, before the CEL can go out again) to an auto-parts store that advertises “free codes read.” Then come back and report the exact code read, not the English translation. (It should be in the form “P0123.”) Then you can figure out what’s triggering the CEL, and why.