What is resetting the indicator lights all about?
Since the dawn of the electronic age, cars have been fitted with service indicator lights. These are intended to remind the owner that the vehicle should have an oil change or inspection service. They should not be confused with the car’s diagnostic system, which checks for actual component or system malfunction. Most early indicators were simply time based, but many use an actual computer algorithm to analyze vehicle use based on the number of times it has been started, how often it has been run at wide open throttle, how high the revs have gone, and other operating parameters.
Sometimes, the light stays on even after the owner has had an oil change and an inspection, either because they are of the simple type, or because the light was not reset after the car’s service.
Some of these lights have to be reset by a diagnostic tool, but many can be reset manually. The procedure for this varies by make and model.
Keep in mind:
- Simply resetting the indicator light does not take care of a car’s service requirements.
- A service reminder light must not be confused with the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) system.
If a service light comes on, request one of our mechanics to take a look at it for you and reset it if required.
What is a common symptom indicating you need to reset the indicator lights?
- You’ve had a recent oil change or maintenance service, but the Service Required light remains illuminated.
How important is this service?
It’s advisable to have the indicator reset at the time of service so that its reminders are timed correctly, and oil changes and other routine services are carried out at the manufacturer-recommended intervals.