If you are getting the “check system” alert every time you turn on your Honda Civic,
Then, this article will shed some light on what this message means, what could be causing it, and what you can do to fix it.
Without wasting any more time, let’s get into it!
What Does “Check System” Mean on a Honda Civic?
I get why the “check system” warning light seems confusing , it’s so vague!
But let me break it down for you in simple terms. When that check system alert comes on in your Honda Civic, it means the engine control unit detected an issue somewhere.
It could be anything from
- faulty ignition coils
- worn spark plugs
- clogged filters
- injector problems
- dead battery
You name it. The point is, some system isn’t working right.
Now, I know that sounds like a headache, but here’s the good news: these Japanese sedans and hatchbacks are really reliable.
Most of the time, it’s an easy, inexpensive fix. So even though that check system light sounds ominous, it’s usually nothing major.
What Causes Honda Civic “Check System” Warning Message?
Now let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of the check system message on your Honda Civic based on my experience as a technician:
1. Bad Battery:
The most common cause of the check system warning on a Honda Civic is a bad battery.
This can be caused by two things:
- Dead battery cell(s) caused by an old battery: If your battery is over three years old and has been used a lot, it’s likely that one or more of the battery cells have died. This can cause problems with the electronics as well as an illuminated check system warning light on your dash.
- Low Battery Charge due to infrequent driving: If you don’t drive your car often, the battery will slowly lose its charge. When the battery’s charge level has dropped below a certain point, the computer will pick this up and alert you.
2. Corroded Battery Terminals:
The second cause of the check system light on a Honda Civic is a corroded battery terminal.
Corroded terminals can cause the voltage to drop (since the transfer of electrons is not as efficient),
The low battery charge can cause the computer to think that something is wrong and display the “check system” alert to prevent complete battery discharge.
3. Loose Battery Terminals:
The last cause of this warning alert on your Civic is loose battery terminals.
Loose terminals can be caused by driving over bumps, hitting potholes, or any other jarring event that causes the battery terminals to move around.
This can also cause the voltage to drop, which triggers the “check system” alert.
As noted previously, this message can have several underlying causes. From my experience, a battery issue is the most common reason, though not the only one. Using an OBD scanner is recommended, as it can quickly pinpoint the root cause.
Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Table
|Check battery age and condition
|Inspect battery for cracks/leakage
Note manufacture date on battery
Test battery voltage and charge
|Inspect battery terminals and cables
|Look for corrosion or loose connections
Clean terminals if corroded
Tighten connections if loose
|Disconnect battery cables for 30 secs
Reconnect battery cables
|Scan for diagnostic codes
|Use OBD-II scanner tool
Note any trouble codes set
|Further diagnosis and repair
|Consult factory service manual
Repair issues indicated by codes
How to Fix and Reset the Check System Message
Now that I have explained what the check system message means let’s talk about how to fix it.
1. Check the Battery for Corrosion:
The first thing you should do is check the battery for corrosion.
If you find any, clean it off using baking soda and hot water.
This will remove any rust that may be present on the terminals, which could cause a poor connection between the battery and its respective cables.
2. Make Sure the Battery Cables are Tightened:
If the battery terminals don’t have any corrosion and look clean, disconnect and reconnect the battery cables to reset the system.
When reconnecting, tighten the cables securely but not excessively – use a wrench if needed to get a good grip. This may resolve the ‘check system’ message by resetting the electrical system.
However, if the message persists after tightening and reconnecting the battery cables, the issue likely lies elsewhere, and further diagnosis is needed.
3. Have the Battery Tested & Replaced:
If the battery terminals are free from corrosion tight and you continue to get the “check system” alert on your dash,
The culprit might be a bad cell on your battery.
You can have the battery tested at any Honda dealership or an auto parts store like Autozone or call a mechanic to have it done.
If the battery voltage is below 12 volts, it needs to be replaced, and this should fix the problem.
4. Take your Civic to the Nearest Honda Dealer/Independent Repair garage
If the steps above don’t solve the “check system” fault on your dash,
You will need to take your Honda Civic to the nearest Honda dealership or independent repair garage for a scan of your car’s computer.
The technician will be able to determine what needs to be fixed, and this should eliminate the “check system” alert on your dash.