Most Kia vehicles are equipped with an electronic computer system, linked to the dashboard, that tells drivers when maintenance is required. Whether the dashboard lights trigger to tell a driver the oil needs to be changed, or the tires need to be rotated, the driver must respond to the issue as soon as possible and resolve it. If the driver neglects a service light, such as the “SERVICE REQUIRED” light, he or she runs the risk of damaging the engine - or worse, ending up stranded on the side of the road or causing an accident.
For these reasons, performing all scheduled and recommended maintenance on your vehicle is imperative to keep it running well so you can avoid the many untimely, inconvenient, and possibly expensive repairs that come from neglect. Luckily, the days of scratching your head and performing diagnostics to find the service light’s trigger are gone. Kia’s Maintenance Reminder system is a simplistic on-board computer system that alerts owners about necessary maintenance schedules so they can address the issue promptly and without hassle. Once the Maintenance Reminder system is triggered, the driver knows to schedule an appointment to take the vehicle in for servicing.
How Kia’s Maintenance Reminder system works and what to expect
The sole function of Kia’s Maintenance Reminder system is to remind owners when to take their car in for a scheduled service. A message, “SERVICE REQUIRED,” will appear each time the ignition is switch turned to the “ON” position. The computer system tracks the engine miles from the time it was reset, and the light will trigger after a certain amount of miles driven (i.e. 5,000 miles, or 7,500 miles). When the system counts down to zero, your vehicle should have already been serviced, or it should be serviced as soon as possible.
Since the system is not algorithm driven, it does not take into account the differences between light and extreme driving conditions, load weight, towing, or weather conditions, which are important variables that affect engine oil life and other engine components. Because of this, the maintenance light might not be effective for those who tow often, or often drive in extreme weather conditions and need the oil changed more frequently. That said, it also might not be effective for those who constantly drive on the freeway in fair weather conditions.
The Kia Maintenance Reminder system can be manually disabled, set, and/or reset, depending on factors such as what oil you use (synthetic/conventional), your driving habits, and the conditions under which you drive (is it snowy and hilly throughout the year, or maybe flat and sunny?). If the system has been turned off, the service message will read “SERVICE REQUIRED: OFF.” Consult the owner’s manual for information about how to operate the system for your Kia’s model and year.
This is not to say that a driver should neglect the maintenance light altogether. Be aware of your driving habits and conditions throughout the year and, as necessary, have a professional determine whether or not your vehicle needs servicing depending on your specific, most frequent driving habits and conditions.
Below is a helpful table that can give you an idea of how often you might need to change the oil in a modern vehicle (older vehicles often need more frequent oil changes):
- Note: Engine oil life is dependent not only on the factors listed above, but also on your specific vehicle model, year, and what type of oil is recommended. Check the owner’s manual for more information about what oil is recommended for your vehicle, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our experienced professionals for advice.
When the “SERVICE REQUIRED” light is triggered and you schedule an appointment to have your vehicle serviced, Kia recommends a series of inspections that will help keep your car in good running order, and can help prevent untimely and costly damages to the engine, depending on your driving habits and conditions.
Below is a chart of Kia’s recommended inspections for different mile intervals you might encounter during ownership. This is a general depiction of what a Kia maintenance schedule can look like. Depending on variables, like the vehicle year and model and your specific driving habits and conditions, this information is subject to change for maintenance frequency as well as the maintenance performed:
Once your Kia has been serviced, the “SERVICE REQUIRED” light will need to be reset. Some servicers will neglect to do this, which can lead to premature and unnecessary service light triggers. There are many different ways this light can be reset depending on your vehicle’s model and year. Consult the owner’s manual on how to do this for your Kia.
While the Kia Maintenance Reminder system can be used as a reminder to the driver to have the vehicle serviced, it should only be a guideline based on how the vehicle is driven and under what driving conditions. This does not mean Kia drivers should ignore such alerts. Proper maintenance service will greatly extend the life of a vehicle, ensuring it is reliable, safe to drive, covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, and it can also provide a greater resale value.
Such maintenance tasks should always be performed by a qualified technician. If you have any doubts as to what the Kia maintenance system means or what services your vehicle may need, do not hesitate to contact our experienced professionals for advice.
If your Kia Maintenance Reminder system is indicating that your vehicle is ready for servicing, have it checked out by a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic. Click here, choose your vehicle and service or service package, and book an appointment with us today. One of our certified mechanics will come to your home or office to service your vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Understanding the Kia Maintenance Reminder and Service Indicator Lights and was authored by Brent Minderler.