“Check Fuel Cap” — It may not be your fuel cap!

A common issue in the third generation CR-V is the “Check Fuel Cap” error message in the gauge cluster.

The common reaction is to assume it’s a defective fuel cap, then rush out to buy a new one and replace it.  Only to find that the error message still won’t go away.

In many cases, it is something Honda calls “Valve Assembly Purge Control Solenoid,” part number 36162-RRA-A01.  This is part of the evaporative emissions system, and the failure of this part triggers that error message.

So why doesn’t this trigger the malfunction indicator light (aka “check engine” light)?  Because some owners fail to tighten the fuel cap properly, rather than trigger the MIL, it displays this message.  If you ignore the message long enough, it will trigger the MIL.  And most likely it is stored as a pending or active code in the OBD-II system when that happens–if you have a scanner, you can hook it up and find out for yourself.

In this generation of CR-V, on the K-series engine, this valve/solenoid is located on the driver’s side of the engine, beneath a few lines.  It does not take much to remove it.  (The Honda service manual states you should discharge the fuel system, but you won’t need to disconnect the fuel rail at all–you can simply unbolt a bracket or two and shift things out of the way.)

If you buy this part online, you’ll pay under $40, plus shipping.  I’ve used an aftermarket replacement from Standard Motor Products and they have both worked perfectly since installed.  Here’s your culprit:

Once you’ve replaced it, use your scanner to clear the code, or wait a few drive cycles for the code to clear on its own.

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