What Does Service Engine Soon Mean?


Service Engine Soon is a terminology which is associated with the automotive industry. It is a term which is understood and used by the people who have hands on knowledge about the vehicles. Service Engine depicts the lights that are on the dash board of the any vehicle.

Basic concept of “service engine soon” light:

What does “service engine soon” mean? This is what you should know if you regularly manage a vehicle. When you see this light on your dashboard. Basically, this is a warning for the driver that there is some problem in the vehicle, so you should be ready to take the necessary measures.

There are different lights and signs, which are important to understand if you manage a vehicle, such as, “service engine soon” light; this article will highlight what this light means and what should be the precautionary measures on this.

Since this light is a representation of a malfunction, the operator has to be alert as the sensors of the vehicle have identified an issue. The new drivers generally get nervous about this caution by assuming a high expense for repair, however it is not necessary that the case may be that much serious.

If there is a serious issue with the engine, regarding one or more important parts of the engine, it may cost a little higher, however in most of the cases, the problem is so simple that it could be managed by the driver himself, without involvement of a mechanic.

The very basic measure is get to know your vehicle:

According to Thomas bay, avoidance to getting awareness has no excuse. So, there can be no reason why you are not aware what is inside your vehicle. Try to have basic understanding about the parts of engine and its systems through user manual, internet or your friends.

What can be the possible issues which you should be checking at earliest:

All you need to understand, and get to know your vehicle and find out, which part may be causing the problem. According to Ardot, the very first reaction to this problem should be checking the gas cap. Only a loose gas cap may create such panic, which could cause you fear of losing hundreds of dollars in repair.

What are the possible solutions for this problem:

In such a situation, you should check the gas tank which must be more than half, before you close the gas cap tightly. After doing this you should drive the vehicle up to half an hour and check if the light turns off. If it does not, you should replace the gas cap immediately.

If this does not resolve the issue by turning off the light is it the emission issue??

In case the light is fully on, it is possible that there is an emission issue which may be of urgent nature or also it could be opposite case. But if the light is blinking, there may be an urgent need to attend the issue by taking the vehicle to the mechanic.

How can we solve this problem by ourselves?

It may be resolved by checking the oxygen sensor, which is responsible to check the amount of oxygen that has not burnt as yet. This is not an expensive component, but if you don’t change it on time, you may have the catalytic converter damaged, and bear loss of 1000s of dollars

Can I change the oxygen sensor myself?

Off course you can; this is not a very tricky task. The method of changing the oxygen sensor is usually mentioned in the user manual of the car and is so simple. All you have to do is to pull the old sensor and pop the new one; this will cause you saving of both; money and time.

Are these lights same in all the vehicles?

No, these lights are variant; as the these differ according to make and model of any vehicle. The moment these lights show any indictor; it informs that there is some need of the car, due to a malfunction, however the style may differ in each vehicle.

There may be two different cautions in some vehicles; Dependent upon the make of the vehicles. Several vehicles show “Service Engine Soon” Light, or “Check Engine” Light. Both of these cautions should not be takes as same; these two require different measures.

How much should you worry about the light

Panic is not the solution to anything, but this light is a clear indication that the vehicle requires regular maintenance and this is the right time. This may be identified through yellow or red light. In this case, all you have to do is to take to a mechanic, which was already due & delayed by you.

What else may be the possibility if service engine soon light is on?

It may also occur due to lower level of oil, water or battery issue; hence all of these indicators may be checked. All are important considerations; however; as per Joe Ben at car talks shortage of oil may even cause seized engine; yet a great loss, which requires higher budget.

Electric systems require great care:

Off course, you must agree with me that you cannot blindly depend on the electric systems. Electrical systems may fail anytime due to small negligence. Since the cars are entirely dependent on the electrical systems; any error in the system is highlighted to the user.

No need to fear from this light; this is a blessing in disguise:

Service engine soon light shows to the users that computer or system of the vehicle has detected a fault in the electrical section; which can lead to the mechanical error like burst, breakdown or any related issue. That means timely identification of this error may prevent a great disaster.

It may also be linked with the alignment of coding

The codes starting with P zero or P one may be linked with the Service engine soon issue. This electrical signal of lesser or greater values to a sensor shows that the designed coding is not aligned and there is some bug in the system and this shows that there is something wrong with code of the work.

Are these two codes enough for identification of the error?

There are hundreds of possible codes, and they only provide the general location of the problem. More specific troubleshooting must be done on the area to determine the root cause. These may be understood only as a sign, but not any instant problem which may be drastic.

Service Engine soon is guiding towards the potential danger

Service engine soon is leading towards the potential danger; thus, you can stay safer due to timely warning by the sensors. If you are a new user, you may be confused over the possible issues. In such cases, don’t take a risk and take the vehicle to a trust worthy mechanic for identification.

Don’t panic; find the root causes of the problem

It is important to note that there must be some causes that lead towards the Service Engine Soon and some of them are bad spark plug, old, torn and bad wiring, bad oxygen sensor and the damage in the Catalytic convertor. Always try to find the correct root cause in order to deal with the issue.

Every vehicle has its own mechanism and even computer coding

Every vehicle has its own mechanism and even computer coding that indicates the malfunctioning in the system. For example, as per Pfaff in Nissan it can lead towards the low gas or emission issue. Try to find the right one for your car model and make for correct identification.

Always keep ready to involve the service center

It is better to see a service center because the break down is dependent on the code that is generated during the service engine lights. The scanner helps them to read the code for identification; in case of erasing this code; the technician might not be in a position to locate the exact problem.

Have you checked the Mass Air filter?

Mass air filter (MAF) can also be one of the reasons for service engine soon light on your dashboard. This is the area which is mostly neglected however this cheaper component of the vehicle can also be the root cause and can easily be addressed at a very low cost.

Do not forget to check plugs as well:

Generally, the common drivers are not careful about checking plugs; in the older vehicles this may be the main problem because as suggested by Ardot it should be changed by forty kilometers, however, in the modern automotive, it may last for a longer period.

On Board Diagnostics II (OBD II) can be a great idea to save money

Do you know that this simple OBD II scanner is available in the market at a very cheap cost of around ten dollar, and the potential saving caused by this equipment is highly significant? This is a one-time spending which saves you from various high expenses to take place due to different errors.

You can even buy parts yourself if you want perfection:

Sometimes it happens that you are not happy with the parts installed in your vehicles. If you have some experience regarding vehicle and installation of the parts, you can even buy the new parts on your own and get a mechanic to fit those as per your supervision and guidance.

ECM (Electronic Control Module) is a great help to facilitate emission regulations:

The modern age is blessed with the latest automotive technology, and everything is computerized. The ECM (Electronic Control Module) has become a great help to facilitate emission regulations.

Since the rules are highly strict, the maintenance of the vehicle demands the same level of care.

How to ensure compliance of emission regulations:

In order to ensure the compliance of the regulations, the engine must be continually and surely tuned in accordance with the various conditions, among which, speed, load-taking capacity, heat capacity of the engine, the quality of fuel, surrounding temperature, condition of the road conditions, are important.

Poor fuel can be a cause of this problem?

Definitely yes, if the quality of the fuel is not up to the mark, there is a high possibility that the vehicle will face the higher level of emissions and thus there will be the service engine soon light displayed at the dash board as a sign of the potential problem in the vehicle.

Should we turn the light off and take another week to check

This is never recommended in any case; people do so an in return, they cause a small problem into a bigger challenge which may harm the vehicle even more thus due to this mistake, you will need a higher amount to settle the identified problem or even face a severe loss and threat.


The entire issue may be summarized, saying one simple thing; nothing can be ordinary when you talk about the problems in a vehicle. One should never leave the issue un addressed unless he is pretty sure about the ordinary nature of the problem, that it may not lead to a disaster.

Even on identification of the small issues, the owner of the car must not prolong maintenance and avoid enhancing the issue due to delay. This may cause him a great loss, because small problems may give birth to the severe error, which may demand expensive vehicle maintenance.

Driving is not only about just moving a car from one place to another, there are several important aspects, related to the automotive which must be kept into consideration while maintaining the vehicle. That is why it is highly recommended, that you should seek precise information about your specific vehicle to stay safe from the potential problems

To avoid such issues, I suggest; never ignore “Service engine soon” light and pay a quick attention to the matter, so that you ensure, not only a lower cost maintenance, but safety as well. This is the basic objective, for which these technologies were introduced in the modern world.

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