Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What does the Service Engine Soon Light mean on the dash?

asked by on

What does the Service Engine Soon Light mean on the dash?

A: The Service Engine Soon Light is tied into ...

The Service Engine Soon Light is tied into your car’s Emissions system, which includes a broad range of sensors and components in the engine, your Fuel system, and the Emissions system.

When you first crank the car, the Service Engine Soon Light should turn on briefly. It will go off after a few seconds. If it does not go off, it means there’s a malfunction code stored in the computer that needs to be checked by a professional. If it flashes while you’re driving, it means there has been a misfire and you need to pull over and turn the engine off. Start the engine again, and if the light does not flash (it’s off or stays solid), then you should drive the car and have it inspected. If it flashes again, you should tow the car.


During misfire situations, extreme heat can occur. Don’t park over flammable materials or a fire may start.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Truck shutting off when running AC

Knowing what code is being stored and causing the Check Engine Light to come on will greatly help with diagnostics. I would ask for help from one of the mechanics at YourMechanic to come to you with a scan tool,...

Q: Engine System Service warning

Hi. The vehicle has experienced a situation where a fault has been detected. There will be a message or code stored in the system describing the malfunction. Have an experienced technician retrieve the message from the vehicle and take the...

Q: Something wrong with the front door

What you describe sounds like you have either a defective Door-Ajar switch or faulty ground in that circuit. It supplies a signal to the Smart Junction Box, which controls the dome lights and Door-Ajar indicator. Have the components tested by...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.