In an effort to help drivers, auto manufacturers use a service required light on the dashboard of cars. The computer counts how many miles you drive and at specific intervals will remind you to service the engine. Maintaining your car’s engine carefully will keep it alive and running for the long haul.
The service required light is mainly used to remind drivers when it is time to change the oil and filter, but could be used for other fluids or components. In the past, this light was similar to the check engine light and could mean that a fault has been detected by the system. Now, this light is mainly used to remind the driver to change fluids while the check engine light will show that a fault has been detected.
What the service required warning light means
As mentioned earlier, the service required light is mainly used to remind drivers to change the oil and filter. When the light illuminates, you should take the car to be serviced at your convenience. If the vehicle doesn’t tell you what repair work needs to be done, refer to the owner’s manual of your car for specific information on your car’s model and what the light means.
After the repair work is done, a reset procedure is usually necessary to turn the light off. On most cars, there should be a way to do the reset procedure using just the key and without any special equipment or tools. The owner’s manual of your car may have the procedure in it or you can look online to find the exact procedure.
Is it safe to drive when the service required warning light is on?
While your car’s drivability shouldn’t be affected, driving for extended periods with the light on will cause excess wear and tear on the engine. Especially with oil, not changing it at regular intervals will severely shorten your engine's lifespan. Engines are expensive so keep your wallet full by maintaining your vehicle on a regular basis.
If your service light is on and you are unable to find the cause, our certified technicians are always available to help with any necessary repairs.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as What Does the Service Required Warning Light Mean? and was authored by Spencer Cates.