Service Engine Soon Light: Meaning, Causes, and Solutions

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The service engine soon light is often a misunderstood signal. It’s important to note that it’s different than the check engine light. Also.

You might think its just a sign that you need to check your engine soon, this is not always the case, this light can turn on for more serious issues as well. 

So how do you know if the issues is series and how do you get rid of the service engine soon light? Don’t stress. The answers are here. 

In this post, I am going to go over everything you need to know about the service engine soon light. 

Let’s get started. 

What Does The Service Engine Soon Light Mean?

The most common meaning of the service engine soon light is that you require regular maintenance soon. Unfortunately, this is not the only reason the service engine soon light will turn-on.  

Some other common reasons that cause the service engine soon light to turn on include: 

  • Fuel line issues 
  • Faulty or loose gas cap
  • Exhaust issues 
  • Low fluid levels such as oil, coolants, or brake fluid. 
  • Emissions issues 

What Causes Service Engine Soon Light?

There are multiple things that can causes your service engine soon light to turn on. While most people think that this is just a sign that your approaching your normal maintenance schedule this is not the case. There are multiple reasons that can cause the service engine soon light to turn on. 

1. Regular Maintenance Required

One of the most typical reasons the service engine’s soon light will turn on is that you need regular maintenance done on your car.

In most cases, you might need to change your oil, coolant, or liquids inside your car. When your car senses that the oil levels are getting low or that you are hitting a certain mileage, it will trigger the light to turn on.

You should keep track of your maintenance schedule for your different car fluids. If your service engine light soon turns on just before you’re scheduled to change your fluids, this is likely the cause.

2. Loose or Faulty Gas Cap

Another common and simple reason that can cause your service engine soon light to turn on is when your gas cap is not on properly.

If the gas cap does not close properly or is not tightened securely, the warning can turn on.

You should always check your gas cap to determine if this is the cause of the service engine’s soon light turning on.

In some cases, if your gas cap is screwed on tight, it could be due to the sensor on your gas cap. The sensor can be faulty, causing a misreading with your car’s computer. This misreading can trigger your car’s service engine soon light unintentionally.

3. Spark Plugs Issues

Another common reason that might trigger your service engine soon light is if your car is having spark plug issues.

The spark plug issues can vary from a fully blown out spark plug or fouled spark plug.

Other common spark plug issues include faulty ignition wires or coils. If your ignition wires or coils are not working properly, this can cause your service engine light to turn on.

One easy way to determine if this is the cause of your service engine light is to use an OBD scanner.

An ODB scanner will tell you if any of your spark plugs are experiencing issues. It will also detect if there are any issues with the ignition system. OBD scanners can’t determine whether the cause is the wires or the coils, but you can determine what is causing the issues with a quick visual inspection.

Typically issues with wires or coils will be easily visible either due to wear and tear or physical damage.

4. Emissions Issues or Faulty Catalytic Converter

Another common reasons that will trigger the service engine soon light is a faulty catalytic converter.

Depending on how poorly your catalytic converter is performing this can trigger the warning light. 

If your catalytic converter has completely failed it will typically trigger the check engine light since this is a more sever issue.

You can expect the service engine soon light to turn on before and it will progress to the check engine light if its not addressed.

You can determine if this is the issue with your vehicle using an ODB reader. An ODB reader will give you codes to either indicate that you would fail and emissions test or that your catalytic converter is failing. 

This is a easy and effective way to narrow down the reason the light turned on in the first place. 

What To Do When Service Engine Soon Light Turns On?

The service engine soon light is not as dangerous as the check engine light. This typically means you can drive for longer before you need to address the issues. 

It’s important that you get your car checked relatively soon after the light appears. Many people ignore it and wait for the check engine light to come on. This is a bad process to follow as it will likely cause unnecessary damage that could have been avoided. 

There are two things you can do if your check engine soon light comes on: 

  • Use an ODB reader and determine the reasons yourself 
  • Take your car to a professional to diagnose the issue. 

I always recommend that you use an ODB reader if you experience any issue with your car. OBD readers are easy to use and with new Bluetooth ODB readers they connect directly to your phone and make it easy to diagnose your car. 

ODB reader will help you understand the potential reasons for the issue. You can use this to do more research and try to narrow down the reasons for the service engine light. 

Even if you plan on going to a professional using an ODB reader is a good way to stay informed. This will prevent mechanics from trying to tack on unnecessary repairs. 

Colors of The Service Engine Soon Light

Some cars, typically newer vehicles, have two different types of service engine soon signals: red and yellow.

Typically red service engine soon light are indicators of more serious issues. The yellow service engine soon light are indicators of less severe issues.

You should take immediate or fast action with the red service engine soon lights. With a yellow service engine soon light, you should get your car serviced soon.

Can I Drive With The Service Engine Light On?

Yes, you can drive with the service engine light on. Typically, any issues with the service engine light will not cause permanent or serious damage. 

When the service engine light turns on your can drive for moderate distances. You should not expect to drive your car like normal and wait for the light to turn off. 

If the light does turn-off you can typically expect the light to turn back on. 

While you can drive on the service engine light it should be taken seriously. You should try to determine what ceased the light to turn on in the first place 

Should I be Worried If My Service Engine Light Turns On?

No you should not be too worried if your service engine light turns on. Although, you should take the light serious and determine what cause the light to turn on. 

Most repairs are inexpensive and easy to complete to remove the service engine soon light. 

It’s important that you don’t ignore the light and wait for it to turn off on its own. This will likely cause the issues with your car to become worse. 

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