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Discussion Starter #1
So my car (2000 OBW 2.5 5MT, 155K) has passed state inspection and just got registered, I am pretty sure Emissions will be coming soon.

I just noticed that I have no check engine light when I start the car up. Isnt it supposed to light up for a second when you start the car or turn it to the On position?

Left my gas cap loose and drove it twice. It hasnt turned on yet but I'm going to keep driving it for a bit to see if it'll turn on.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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I just went out and checked mine. The CEL only come on for a second (literally) and could easily be overlooked. It did not stay on as long as the other warning lights, like the AT Oil Temp light.

You are right though, when the key is turned to the second click, just before the starting position (ACC) all of the warning lights should come on including the CEL.

You might want to have the codes read using an ODBII reader. If you don't have one, the major auto parts stores like Autozone or Trak Auto will read them for free - most likely in the hopes that they can sell you something :)

It might be just the bulb. You might be able to see if there even is a bulb by shining a flashlight into the "hole" where the CEL text is located in the instrument cluster.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Much thanks for checking for me! You're right, I need to get out to autozone and get it scanned. Hopefully MD emissions only checks that you don't have any codes and that your light is not on, and doesn't specifically check to see if your light actually illuminates upon start-up. Thanks again.
 

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'14 Subi OBW, '18 Subi Forester
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It is an EPA requirement that the CEL (or more correctly MIL) light up to verify that the system is working. There is a chart in EPA420-R-01-015 that calls for an instant fail if the light is out. I've read thru our NY emissions test, and it has this step also, so I'd suspect that all states will be following this procedure. I'm sure somehow state highway funding is linked to uniform testing procedures.
 

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DIY-Turbo 2.2l OBS 12.89s 1/4mile @ 106.17MPH
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+1 NYS - no working CEL light / OBDII port = instant fail even if there are no codes / the car would pass a sniffer test.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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When I got mine checked here in MD the dude just sort of lackadaisically plugged in the ODBII and waited for the test to finish. I didn't see him make any effort to even look at the dash. So, look for the slacker when you get in line to get it done. lol

In MD you get another chance if it fails. On the third chance you have to prove you've spent some money trying to get it fixed. For a car our age I think the magic no. is $350. Show them a receipt and you are exempt from the test. Though I reckon it'll pass if there are no codes. You can get a cheap $20 code reader from Amazon or Ebay that also erases the error codes - just long enough to get through the test. But I am not recommending that because it would be wrong. (hint, hint)
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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You can get a cheap $20 code reader from Amazon or Ebay that also erases the error codes - just long enough to get through the test. But I am not recommending that because it would be wrong. (hint, hint)
The problem with that is, as soon as a reader is hooked up, even if codes were cleared, it shows an emissions status. Recently erased and uncorrected codes will show at least the amber light. That's a dead giveaway that the problem wasn't corrected, or someone's trying to hide something.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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If you just turn the key on and not start, the MIL should come on and stay on until its started and completes a bulb check.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Maybe I'll get lucky but I think I'll do a little work to figure out why the light is out. I know it's not tampered with because a few hundred miles ago it turned on and I thought....great what else is wrong. After some driving and a few restarts it went away. I guess I'll get the codes read to see if its throwing anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I finally got the codes checked and have a bad knock sensor and o2 sensor, but still no check engine light.

The light does not come on when the car starts, however it has come on one or two occasions (the second time just recently). After multiple restarts it does away, so I know the bulb isn't out or taped over.

Anyone have any thoughts?
 

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2014 Legacy 2.5i 6M
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You may just need to change the bulb. Either that or the wiring going to the CEL is faulty.
 

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The bulb filament is probably broken, but occasionally the ends come in contact with each other so the light can come on. Or, the contacts on the printed circuit board that the bulb holder mates with could be in bad condition. In either case, as others have suggested, replace the bulb.
 
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