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The dashboard of every car produced after 1996 has the ability to communicate messages of various severity and importance to the driver through warning and indicator lights.
The Service (or Service Engine) light is a warning light that is connected to the engine control unit (ECU) of a vehicle. The ECU is the brain of the car and monitors a number of systems, including:
Emissions: There are sensors throughout the engine management system on all cars manufactured since 1996 that alert the driver of any malfunction that will lead to unacceptable amounts of emissions entering the air.
Engine temperature: Sensors in and around the engine can alert the driver to excessive operating temperatures, which may lead to engine damage. Typically, this warning will be accompanied by a Temperature, Engine Overheating, or Check Gauges light.
Mileage: While vehicles have recorded mileage for many years, the ECU can also keep track of mileage between oil changes and other routine services.
There are many other components the ECU is capable of monitoring, and those also vary depending on the manufacturer and year of production.
The Service light is a vague warning and can indicate something as simple as too many miles between oil changes to potentially serious faults in the engine. The problem could be totally benign or very serious, and a professional inspection is the best course of action if the light is persistently illuminated. A mechanic can catch problems early that, if left unattended, could lead to costly repairs down the road.
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine why the Service light is on, and will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
A Service light is important to diagnose shortly after it illuminates, given that the underlying issue could be mild or severe. Book a mechanic to perform a thorough inspection as soon as possible.