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Honda Accord Sputtering On Take Off

Q. First, there is a both a "Check Engine Light" on the panel and a "Maintenance Required" toggle under the tachometer. What exactly is that "Maintenance Required" toggle? What sets it off and how does it differ from the Check Engine Light?

Honda Accord Sputtering On Take Off

Next, the car runs fine while cold, but when the temperature builds up to around 190°, the engine sputters below 2,000 RPM's. It idles around 500 RPM and, with the clutch depressed, will only sputter when the throttle is pushed heavily until it hits 2,000 and then smooths out, but when the throttle is pressed lightly, it will stay smooth all the way through.

When the clutch is released and the engine is put under load, it will sputter the whole way up to the 2,000 then smooth out regardless of how hard the pedal is pushed. The Check Engine Light is not on and it gave me no codes from a self-diagnostic, but the Maintenance Required toggle is red. My thoughts are either an EGR or air intake problem.

If it helps, the car had a no-start condition about a month ago in which I checked the entire fuel system from the pump to the injectors, compression of all cylinders and the ignition system. The plugs and wires worked properly and the problem was the distributor rotor and ignition coil, which I replaced. Any help with the "sputtering" is greatly appreciated!

  • 1990 Honda Accord
  • 2.2 liter SOHC
  • Manual transmission
  • 170,416 miles
  • P/S, A/C and Cruise control
  • Rack and Pinion



If equipped with a Maintenance Required Lamp/Indicator flag, the oil and oil filter service interval reminder flags will activate after every 7,500 miles of operation. To reset the indicators, insert the ignition key into the slots below the indicator flags at the lower right corner of the instrument cluster. Push the key in until the reminder window changes from Red to Green.

The ECU illuminates the "CHECK ENGINE" warning light, located on the instrument panel above the tachometer, if a problem is detected in any of the monitored systems. This light is the primary means of notifying the driver that a problem exists. The ECU also stores a trouble code in erasable memory, and flashes the LED on the ECU at the same time.

Honda Accord Sputtering On Take Off

As for the "sputtering", it sounds as if the engine is running a little lean. With that many miles the first thing I would do is give the throttle body and Idle Air Control Valve (IACV). Cleaning Throttle Bodies will take you through it.

Honda Accord Sputtering On Take Off

Then I would check the Coolant Temperature (TW) Sensor. That would be the next most likely cause. The Coolant Temperature Sensor is located next to the distributor housing. To test it, unplug the TW and measure the resistance between the two terminals. Then compare your reading to the chart. If it out of specification, replace it.

Honda Accord Sputtering On Take Off

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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© 2003-2004 Vincent T. Ciulla

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