The modern vehicles make use of technology to ensure that they are always at their optimum operating condition. Onboard car computers and sensors are being used to keep an eye on every engine part’s performance. Whenever a problem is detected, the driver will be alerted by setting off the warning lights or gauges on the dashboard of the vehicle. You may see an illuminating check engine light or service engine soon that might lead you to ask “what does service engine soon mean?”. An illuminating service engine soon light means that there are some issues with your vehicle’s fuel, ignition, emission, or transmission systems. If the light is just turned on, it means that it has to be checked as soon as possible but if it is a flashing one, it can be an indication that the problem is something that needs immediate attention.
What Does Service Engine Soon Mean?: Is Service Engine Soon Light Bad?
Seeing the illuminating service engine soon on your dashboard can be scary especially if you have no idea what it means. You might wonder, what does service engine soon mean? Is it something I should worry about? It is totally understandable that you get scared, assuming the worst since repairing a car’s damaged component can be a hassle and can cost you a huge amount of money.
However, as scary as the service engine soon light may seem, it is not that bad. The purpose of this warning light is to alert or warn the drivers that the sensors in your vehicle have detected that there is a malfunction in some of the vehicle’s components or systems.
So what does service engine soon mean? It means that a problem has been detected and that you should have your engine serviced as soon as possible. There is a problem with one of your systems and it is best that you make an appointment with a mechanic to get the correct diagnosis and have it repaired when needed. In the event that you are still driving when the service engine soon light suddenly illuminates, you need to pull over and do some check ups to find out what triggered it.
What Does Service Engine Soon Mean? – Why is the Service Engine Soon Light On?
The answer to the question, “what does service engine soon mean?” might just be to warn the drivers that there are some minor issues on their vehicles’ components but it does not mean that you just ignore it. If you ignore the alert, the problem can become too severe and it can cause damages to the components of your vehicle that can become too expensive to repair. Make it a habit to have your vehicle checked and diagnosed whenever the service engine soon light comes on.
For people who are asking, what does service engine soon mean? They might also want to know what causes it to come on. Here are some of the most common reasons why the service engine soon light turns on:
- Loose or faulty fuel-filler cap or gas cap.
This might just be a simple issue but a loose or faulty gas cap can set off the service engine soon light. If your fuel cap is faulty or loose, your car’s onboard computer can detect it and will alert you right away through the service engine soon warning light since your fuel tank can be compromised if it is not sealed properly. It needs to be tightened securely so the fuel won’t get contaminated and also to make sure that its fumes won’t leak outside.
If you notice your service engine soon light coming on a few days after you have just filled up your fuel tank, it can be an indication that the light was set off by a loose gas cap. To correct this problem and to get rid of the illuminating service engine soon light, you will have to check your fuel-filler cap or gas cap and make sure that it is not loose or faulty.
- Your vehicle is due for its routine maintenance.
If you have been driving for a long time, you probably already have an idea how important following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules are. Since oil changes, tune-ups, check ups and other services are essential in making sure that the vehicle maintains its optimum driving condition, the service engine soon light will be used to alert you that your vehicle is already due for its next service maintenance.
The service engine soon light will illuminate depending on the service interval of the vehicle. A scheduled service is set by its mileage or usage. Sometimes, a mileage countdown is set by some car manufacturers that automatically sets off the service engine soon light. May it be for changing the oil, replacing air filters, or cabin filters. After the needed maintenance is done, the service engine soon light will be reset but if for some reason the mechanic forgets to reset it, it will stay on.
- The oxygen sensor is failing.
Vehicles equipped with internal combustion engines need to always have the right air to fuel mixture. This ensures that the engine will operate smoothly and efficiently. If the mixture gets too little oxygen, it can be harmful to your engine since it can run rich due to the gasoline that remains after the process of combustion. Too much oxygen can be harmful too since it can cause poor engine performance and in some cases, can lead to an engine damage.
To make sure that the right air and fuel mixture is achieved all the time, the vehicle is installed with oxygen sensors. Oxygen sensors are the ones that keep it in check. Together with the engine control unit, they monitor, determine, and adjust the ratio of air to fuel. When this sensor goes bad, it can cause the engine to burn fuel with too much or too little air. This can make your vehicle run poorly, consume more fuel, and will have increased emissions.
It is for these reasons why the service engine soon light is set off when your car’s onboard computer detects that your oxygen sensor is failing. It is to alert you that you have a malfunctioning sensor that can lead to a number of problems if not checked immediately. It can result in engine power loss and can cause potential problems to your spark plugs and catalytic converter. You don’t only ask “what does service engine soon mean?”, but you also need to make sure that when you know the answer and what causes it, you need to act on it right away.
- Low fluid levels.
Car fluids such as the coolant, engine oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid are very important in ensuring that all the car’s moving parts work smoothly. It also protects these moving parts from wear and tear. If it has been detected that the levels of these fluids are low, the service engine soon light will be triggered. If you notice an illuminating service engine soon light on your dashboard, you need to check all your fluid levels and top them up when needed. You also need to check for any signs of leak that might be causing the low fluid level. You need to have it fixed immediately.
- The spark plugs are due for replacements.
Spark plugs are the ones that ignite the compressed air and fuel mixture within the combustion chamber. Even though the spark plugs are built to last for a long time, it can wear out prematurely because of problems like overheating or oil contamination. When this happens a replacement will be needed. It needs to be replaced since a faulty spark plug can cause poor acceleration, poor performance, and a decreased fuel economy. If your spark plug is due for a change, you may know this when you see an illuminating service engine soon light on your vehicle’s dashboard. The condition of your spark plugs can sometimes trigger the service engine soon light.
- Failing mass air flow sensor.
The mass air flow sensor is the one that measures the volume of air that goes through the air filter. It works on the opposite end of the oxygen sensor and is just as vital. Once it is done measuring, it informs the onboard computer how much fuel the engine needs which can be determined by the amount of air entering the engine. Since the air that enters can vary, with its density changing depending on some factors like the pressure or temperature, it is vital that the mass air flow sensor supplies accurate data to the engine, alerting it how much fuel is needed to create an efficient and clean burn.
If the mass air flow is faulty, it can lead to a poor gas mileage, stalling, poor performance and other engine problems. So before all of these problems can happen, the system will alert you that there is a problem with your mass air flow sensor by setting off the service engine soon light. You will have to do your part and take heed of the warning and have it checked immediately and not just ask, what does service engine soon mean?
- The catalytic converter has failed.
When the catalytic converter has failed, it means that the problem that triggered the service engine soon light is too severe and ignoring the warning is something that you should not do. Catalytic converters are placed within the vehicle’s exhaust systems since they work to get rid of the harmful chemicals and pollutants released from the engine. Although catalytic converters are built sturdy, capable of lasting for a very long time, they can still wear out prematurely due to a lot of factors.
Can I Drive With Service Engine Soon Light On?
What does service engine soon mean? The answer to this question has already been answered and it is to alert the drivers if there are any issues with some of the vehicle’s components. So if the issues that prompt the service engine soon to light up are not too severe, can you drive your vehicle with a service engine soon light turned on?
The answer to this question can vary. There are vehicles that have a service engine soon light that has several different states or colors. It can illuminate in yellow, orange, or red colors. If the service engine soon light is yellow or orange, it means that the issue is not that serious. You can still drive to a repair shop or diagnose the problem yourself as soon as possible.
However, if the light is red or if it is flashing, it means that the problem is serious and will need immediate attention. You will have to pull over and stop your engine right away. You can get it towed to the nearest repair shop for a thorough inspection. To make sure that you don’t cause any harm to your vehicle, consult your owner’s manual to know the specific details on how your car’s manufacturer has programmed it.
It is advised that whenever you are driving your car and your service engine soon light comes on, you should be cautious while driving. If possible, don’t drive it. You only drive if there is no other option. The service engine light may warn you of some minor issues, but it can quickly become more serious if you will just ignore it.
The answer to the question, “what does service engine soon mean?” can be as simple as a loose or faulty gas cap that will require a simple solution, or it can be something as serious as failed sensors or failed catalytic converters that will need much complicated repairs and replacements. But whatever the reason is, all of the issues that can set off the service engine soon can be avoided by keeping your car in top condition. It can be achieved when you regularly follow the recommended maintenance and services set by your car’s manufacturer.