What Does the “Please Service Engine Soon” Light Mean?

What Does the “Please Service Engine Soon” Light Mean?

“Please Service Engine Soon” is a warning light on your dashboard that indicates you should get your engine serviced as soon as possible. It lights up when there’s a malfunction detected in one of the engine’s many components and is an early warning sign that something could go seriously wrong if not fixed in time.

If the “Please Service Engine Soon” light is consistently on, not flashing, it isn’t a critical warning, and you still have time to fix the problem by getting your engine serviced soon. If, on the other hand, the light is flashing, then the warning is critical, and you should pull over pronto and call your service center as soon as possible.

What Should I Do When the “Please Service Engine Soon” Light Turns On?

The first thing to do when you see the “Please Service Engine Soon” warning light on, whether it’s flashing or not, is to stop driving as soon as possible. Once you’ve pulled over at a safe spot, perform cursory checks to gauge the severity of the situation.

The sensors that trigger this warning are usually located in the emission control system, so you might want to check the engine exhaust, crankcase, carburetor, and fuel tank. If you can’t find the problem yourself, or if the problem is something you can’t fix on your own, drive to the nearest service station or call the service center for professional help.

Possible Causes

Some underlying causes for when the warning light turns on can be resolved with rudimentary checks, while others might be more advanced and need an appointment with the service center. Here’s a look at a few reasons why it’s turned on:

Loose Gas Cap

The malfunctioning could be the result of something as simple as a loose gas cap. Just unscrew it and put it on properly to resolve the issue.

Fuel Contamination

If you’ve recently refueled your car and the “Please Service Engine Soon” light comes on, then the problem could be contaminated gas. If your vehicle performance is also impacted, this is another indicator that the problem is with the fuel. You can try to exhaust the fuel by driving around and then topping it up with fresh fuel to rectify the situation. Or, contact a mechanic to gauge the magnitude of the problem and fix it, to be on the safer side.

Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor monitors the release of unburned oxygen into the atmosphere. A faulty oxygen sensor should be replaced as soon as possible lest it causes further damage to the catalytic converter. It’s cheaper to replace the oxygen sensor and much more expensive to fix the catalytic converter, so the sooner you look into the issue, the less damage it does to your car and your wallet.

Now that you know why this light turns on, and when it starts flashing, we hope you can take the necessary steps to drive safely or get your car towed to the nearest mechanic shop when you see this warning sign.