Springtime is the time for getting out of the house and shaking off those winter cabin fever blues. You may have your entire spring itinerary planned out, but then you get sidelined by the service engine soon light. Before you spin off into a panic, you should take some time to decipher the meaning of that light and determine the possible problems. You may find that the problem is not as big of a problem as you initially thought.
What is the Problem?
Before you can determine what is wrong, you must first understand what the service light means. The service light is often confused with the check engine light, but they serve different purposes. The check engine light is a light to alert you to a possible problem with the exhaust system, particularly the emissions. It will let you know that there is an increased concentration of carbon monoxide that is being emitted through your exhaust system. The service engine soon light can cover many problems ranging from minor to major. The light will come on from something as simple as the gas cap being loose to something as major as the engine overheating. The problem with the service engine soon light is that since it covers so many problems, you may have to check several systems to determine the root of the problem.
Is This Going to Cost a Lot of Money?
The cost of the car repair will depend upon the problem. When you see the light come on, you should start with checking the simple things first. Check to make sure that your gas cap is secure. You should also check your fluid levels. If you find that you need an oil change, then you will not have to spend very much money. If you have checked your fluids and all of them are adequate, then you should check for any signs of leaks, wear, or damage. If you have recently had your general car maintenance and know that the fluid levels are fine and you do not have any leaks or damage, you need to check the other systems of the car. Repairs for the radiator, steering and suspension, engine, and electrical systems are more costly and can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Be sure you check all of the systems of your car to determine what is causing the service engine soon light to come on.
How to Avoid Seeing the Light
The easiest way to avoid seeing the service engine soon light is with regular general car maintenance. Some problems which cause the light to illuminate can be avoided by regular service. Know when to check your fluids, inspect your brakes and tires, and make sure that all caps, lines, cables, and plugs are seated securely and firmly. You can consult with your mechanic if you are not sure how to perform certain tasks or if you need more information about setting up a schedule. Your owner’s manual will also give you information about when to perform certain maintenance tasks and it will give the recommended amounts and types of fluids that you should use. You do not need to let the service engine soon light stop you from embarking on any spring adventure you plan.