Issues with your car can cause you stress, especially when you see your car service light on. The service light in your vehicle can mean a variety of things with your car. That annoying light in your instrument cluster can indicate several problems or issues that need your attention. If you see that you service light on, this guide will help you figure out what the problem is.
When you see your service light on, there are different symbols that mean different things. No matter what kind of service light you see, the bottom line is you want to know how to clear it.
Today we’ll be going through the various service or maintenance lights in your late model car, and showing you how to resolve it. Here’s a look at just some of the things that might cause your service light to turn on.
What it means when you see your service light on
This service light in your vehicle is a clear sign that something is wrong with your brakes. This is the ABS warning light and it could mean any number of issues. At any rate it’s not a good idea to drive your vehicle with this warning light on.
The anti lock braking system prevents your brakes from locking in an emergency stop situation. Because you can’t foresee these kinds of events, never drive your vehicle with the ABS service light on.
Airbag warning lights will turn on when your supplementary restraint system or SRS. This system governs your airbags and additional safety equipment, like your impact sensors, seatbelt locks and more. If this light is on it’s not going to cause your car to ignite spontaneously, however it’s not a good idea to drive with it on for long.
Take it into your dealership to have them scan your SRS system for possible errors, or update your firmware accordingly. It’s never a good idea to fiddle with your SRS system on your own. Mishandling or improper tampering could cause your airbags to fire, which will be an expensive mistake.
Traction control is a option that’s found on many late model cars. This feature helps to keep your vehicle under control no matter what the situation. When this light is triggered, usually it means that your engine computer sees a big disparity between the engine speed or RPM and the vehicle speed. This is a sign that you are losing traction and that something is wrong.
If this traction light is triggered on and stays on, it could mean that you have an issue with your throttle body or traction control. Most manufacturers use the throttle body to scale back on the fun when you lose traction. Other measures include transmission related mechanisms, so if you don’t have traction control incorporated into your throttle body look into a reputable transmission shop.
Battery service lights are a very common sign for many car owners. This warning means that there’s an issue with either your battery, or your charging system. This can be an issue with a poor ground, your alternator, or a loose cable. Inspect the cables and ground points around your engine bay. Check your terminals to make sure that the connectors look good and there’s no buildup or powder all over them.
Problems with your battery can range from a bad cell, lack of charge or corrosion on your battery terminals. Have your battery serviced and take your vehicle in to have your alternator output tested professionally.
This temperature light can be a warning for your engine overheating or a total lack of sensor input. Your engine is equipped with several temperature sensors, and the coolant temperature sensor is an important one. Because this is a basic thermistor type sensor, the chances of it failing are slim but it’s still possible.
Check to make sure that your car isn’t overheating, either from your coolant overflow tank or white smoke coming from the exhaust. If your car is overheating make sure to take it to a mechanic to check if your cooling fans are operational. Failure to take action could lead to your engine blowing the head gasket, and complete engine failure.
Much like your coolant temperature gauge, your engine computer monitors the oil pressure in your engine. Because this pressure is vital to the operation of your engine, when you see this check light on it’s a good idea to shut off your car.
Seeing this service light on is never a good sign, and if ignored could lead to engine failure. Loss of oil pressure can be caused from your engine, or problems with you oil pump. Either way you will need a professional to take a look at your vehicle.
Otherwise known as the Check Engine Light, or the Service Engine Soon light this means there’s a stored Diagnostic Trouble Code in your engine computer. This code is created when there’s a sensor output ( or lack of one ) that falls outside the manufacturer’s guidelines.
In basic terms it means that your engine computer senses that something could be wrong with your car. Any number of the sensors could be sending intermittent signals or the signal that the computer doesn’t understand. When you see this Check Engine Light on, you’ll need an OBDII scan tool to retrieve the stored code.
How Do I Erase a Check Engine Code?
The use of the aforementioned scan tool can help you erase this trouble code. However if you haven’t corrected the issue, chances are you’ll see this check engine service light on again soon.
What is the OBDII service light?
OBD stands for On Board Diagnostics and it’s a way for your vehicle to monitor the health of your engine and vehicle. It basically keeps an eye on the sensor outputs and makes sure that the car is operating how it should. There are lots of different OBDII codes that can range from your engine running lean to transmission or other powertrain related issues.
Most late model vehicles require your seat belt to be connected, and there’s usually an annoying chime to spur you into action. This service light is harmless although if you’ve put on your seat belt and this light remains on, you could have an issue.
If your seat belt is on and you are alone in the car, the only way you see this service light on is if your seat belt sensor is bad, or your car thinks there is a passenger in the car with you.
If you own a late model vehicle, chances are you’ve seen this service light once or twice. This is known as the Tire Pressure Monitoring sensor, and it means that you either have a flat tire or the sensor has an issue.
Unfortunately more often than not it’s a sign that you need to either re-sync your tire pressure monitoring sensor (TPMS) or replace it. If you don’t notice any of your tires flat or low on air, this means that you’ve got an expensive dealer visit ahead. Luckily we show you how to troubleshoot your TPMS sensor with this basic guide here.
The maintenance required warning light is just a friendly reminder that your car needs some regularly scheduled maintenance. If you prefer your dealership working on your car, take it in for the oil change or air filter replacement it needs.
If you like saving money and working on your own car, this service light can be annoying. After all just because you can change your engine oil doesn’t mean this light turns off by itself. If you are tired of seeing this service light on, browse our collection of comprehensive maintenance required DIY guides to see how to turn your maintenance light off.
Have any questions about your OBDII check engine light or your maintenance light? Can’t get rid of your trouble code light or you are tired of seeing that service light on? Leave us a comment below and let us know!