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6407 West Lake Street


Mon-Thu: 7am -6pm
Friday: 7am – 5pm

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Why the Service Engine Soon Light Might Come On

by | May 17, 2013 | Auto Repair, Check Engine Light, General Car Maintenance | 0 comments

When your service engine soon light comes on, many things may cross your mind.  Is there really a problem? What is causing this light to come on? How much will this cost?  How soon should you take it to the mechanic?  To answer these questions it helps to know the basics of the light.  This can help solve the issue instead of ignoring this important indicator.


Service Engine Soon Light – What is Wrong?


Before you can determine what needs done, you must first understand what the service engine soon light means and how it is triggered. The service engine soon light is often confused with the check engine light. The check engine light is a light to alert you to a possible problem with the exhaust and emissions systems. This will let you know when there is an excessive concentration of carbon monoxide being emitted through your exhaust system.  The service engine soon light can cover many issues, from minor to major.  Once you have determined that it is the service engine light that is illuminated and not the check engine light, you will have to perform an inspection to determine where the problem is located.   In some vehicles it simply means that it is time for an oil change.  Your car’s computer can keep track of engine rpm, temperature, and miles driven to give an idea on when the oil life has ran out.  The light can also tell you if the fuel to air ratio is not correct.  You will want to look in the owner’s manual or service manual to see what the light is telling you.  It is always a good idea to check with your local mechanic or auto parts store to look for problems for you.


How Soon Should You Respond to a Service Engine Soon Light?


Your service engine light should not be considered a panic button. Just because the light says “soon” does not necessarily mean that you will need to make a repair soon. It would be wise to have a thorough inspection done to determine if you have any serious problems. One thing you can do as soon as possible is to perform fluid checks. Make sure that you have enough engine oil, windshield wiper fluid, transmission, and brake fluids. Top off any levels that are low and check for any leaks or signs of wear or damage.  The severity of the problems found during the inspection would determine the urgency of the repairs that are needed. Any leaks and clogs should be remedied as soon as possible, as these issues can severely affect the safety of the car. For instance, a leak in the brake line could cause the brakes to fail, resulting in an accident. If your car has a leak somewhere, you should not drive it until you get it fixed.


Professional Assistance with a Service Engine Soon Light


Your decision to hire a professional depends upon your ability to perform the work yourself. If you have training in the car repair that is needed, then you can make the repairs. However, some repairs, such as engine replacement, are heavy jobs that would be very hard for a person to do in their garage. It is wise to take your car to a master technician and have a bumper-to-bumper inspection. The technician can connect your car to a computer and run various diagnostics to determine the origin of the problem. They will also do a physical inspection, top off any low fluids, and give you a more complete picture of the health of your car.