Malfunction light

Last night as I accelerated quickly, my 2001 Honda Odyssey hesitated and then the malfunction light came on. My manual says there is something wrong with emissions control. What does this mean and how much will it cost me? I am female and don’t want to get screwed by the mechanic. I am in Denver.

It could mean almost anything, and it could cost from very little to very much to fix. It may indicate that some damage is being done, so you should look into it quickly.
You can get generic trouble code read at some auto parts stores, but be warned that the codes don’t indicate a faulty part for sure. They indicate where a mechanic should start his testing at.

Until you have the OBD system scanned for trouble codes, nobody can tell you what this means or how much it will cost you. If you go to Auto Zone, Advance Auto, O"Reilly, or some other parts retailers, you can have the system scanned for trouble codes without charge. Then, come back here and post the codes for further guidance.

Just don’t be surprised if the codes result in you having to get some neglected maintenance done on the vehicle, as that is the most frequent source of situations like this.

Don’t panic. Wait a few days and see if the malfunction light goes off by itself. If the vehicle is driven for a while and the problem does not recur, the light may go off.

There are dozens of possible reasons for the malfunction light to come on. Until someone scans the vehicle’s computer the reason will remain unknown.

You can have the computer scanned at many auto parts stores, but you’ll probably only get a 4-digit code, such as PXXX, and then you’ll need someone to interpret the code, or codes (there may be more than one).

Another option is to let your mechanic scan and interpret the code(s), and then diagnose and repair the problem.

Sometimes the problem is minor and the cost is low. Other times . . .

Sounds like you need to find a trusty independent mechanic based on your post(screwed … female…). If you visit them regularly (even for oil changes) you get a comfort level and sometimes free checks on this stuff(code read).

Ask coworkers/friends/family.

That being said it can cost between $0-a few thousand dollars. That all being said you need the codes read like others said, written down, and posted.

Alternatively visit a trusty shop for a diagnosis(fee) at least.

I assume the light stayed on. If not, forget it. If yes, you need to have it put on the machine so the little computer can identify the problem. Go to a Honda service center. You are right to be concerned about being cheated. Actually your better off being female. Most guys don’t know crap about cars but won’t admit it. For that reason they are much easier to cheat. When you go in, come right out and tell them to their face that you are looking for honest treatment. Tell them that’s important to you if you are to be a REPEAT customer and someone who, if treated well, may come back and BUY a car from them in the future. As a woman, you already have the ability to read the face of the person you talk to. Good luck.