How can I reset my service engine soon light?

Has this happened to you?

I recently had my service engine soon light come on. Nothing can quite compare for me, to the feeling of angst that occurs when this happens. I am always struck with a sense of concern about whether the issue is serious or not. I hate the feeling that I might be taken advantage of by an un-ethical mechanic or service shop.

Here are a few pointers that I learned along the way on my recent "service engine soon" adventure!

Lessons learned - Pointers

So what should you do the next time this happens to you.

1 - Don't feel like you're at the mercy of a mechanic.

I remembered when this happened recently that AutoZone has a free check engine service that they will perform for you. I've found them to be extremely friendly and helpful. They have facilities which are open 24 hours a day so you should be able to find one near you which can accommodate you even if you work odd hours.

2 - Get a test run first even if you end up having the repairs done by a service facility

If you're anything like me, you like having as much information as possible before going in to a service location / mechanic. Having the information provided through the AutoZone check enabled me in this particular instance to perform a relatively minor service myself. When you consider the hourly rate of mechanics these days (at least $70 - $90 per hour) then the effort is many times well worth it. I don't know about you, but that's more per hour than I make! :-(

So how did my story end???

I stopped by my local AutoZone and had them run the diagnostic check. Turns out that I had a bad mass airflow sensor. The new sensor ran me just over $100 and took me about 90 minutes to complete the job. That time by the way included a trip back to AutoZone to borrow a tamper proof star screwdriver to remove the old sensor.

If you didn't know it already, AutoZone offers a free tool loaner program. In my case, I had to run back to AutoZone once I got the air cleaner assembly removed from my engine which provided access to the mass airflow sensor. I just carried the assembly back in to AutoZone and they let me borrow the required screw driver to remove the old sensor and install the new one.

One last pointer - removing the negative battery cable from your battery will reset the service engine soon lamp.

Once I replaced the sensor, the service engine soon light was still on. I learned from the helpful clerk at AutoZone that if you remove the negative battery cable from the battery and leave it off for about 60 seconds that the computer resets the light. Once you put the battery cable back in place and run the car again,... if the problem hasn't been resolved,... the light will come back on. In my instance,... the problem was resolved and I was back in business.

I hope my experience will help you should you encounter a "service engine soon" illuminating for you on your way home.

IT MAY BE YOUR GAS CAP!

Another very common cause for Check Engine Soon lights to come on is your gas cap. Over time gas caps can become worn and don't seal properly. If your onboard computer senses that your gas cap isn't doing its job - your light can come on also. Double check that your gas cap is in place and that it is on tightly. The guys at AutoZone should be able to tell you if it's just a gas cap that's causing your problem. A gas cap purchase after a free checkout from AutoZone is probably MUCH less money than a trip to your dealership.

So did this hub help you or not. Please leave a comment. 40 comments

flread45 profile image

flread45 7 years ago from Montana

good advise


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 7 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Glad to know that someone appreciated the advise! :-)


bd 6 years ago

very helpful thank you so much


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 6 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Glad that the information helped you!


Donf 6 years ago

I'm off to Auto Zone.


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 6 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Good luck. I hope that my experience and sharing it here was helpful for you!


rick81p 6 years ago

Yes, your advice was so helpful! Also, you're correct that it's so hard to find a good honest mechanic. Thank you so very much !


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 6 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Thanks for your feedback rick81p!


MetalMediSINinjection 6 years ago

good deal!


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 6 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Glad to provide some help!


jim 6 years ago

Great advice and it really did work. Thanks for your tireless effort to bring us the information.


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 6 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Jim,... glad to hear that I was helpful. Thanks for your kind note!


Miranda 6 years ago

Thank you so much for the information you provided here about resetting the, "service engine soon," light...it really help. I do agree with you that it is so difficult to find an honest mechanic these days. Well, thank you so much for giving out this information to guide us how to better detect the SES light without making a trip to the autoshop :D. Thanks!


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 6 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Miranda,

Glad that I could be of assistance. Nothing like the feeling of not knowing what you're faced with and feeling at the mercy of a mechanic you don't know. Hope everything worked out well for you.


alex 5 years ago

nice post. Autozone offers so many great things, you just have to be careful not to buy something you don't need!


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 5 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

When I need something auto related (service, maintenance or otherwise) I can generally find it there though. Thanks for your comment Alex.


Pinoy723 5 years ago

Wow! Great advise. I'm heading to my sister's house now

to reset the SES light on her car. Let you know soon.


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 5 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

thanks for the kind words Pinoy. You'll have to let me know how it goes.


ahmed 5 years ago

hi, I want to thank you before I do what you said.

Any way I will make in this advice on early morning.

And then I will reply my thank for you.


ahmed 5 years ago

hi i'm very sad my problem didn't solve


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 5 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Pinoy I'm curious to know of how things turned out.


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 5 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Jeff - the light on your car may be different than mine. On my car (2003 model) and many others, the service engine soon light indicates when the onboard computer senses a potential problem. The problem can easily be identified through obtaining the "service codes". Autozone can help in providing these codes for you. In addition you can purchase diagnostic equipment to pull the codes yourself.


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 5 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

I'm so sorry that your problems were not resolved. Did you go to Autozone and try to obtain a service code reading to determine what the onboard computer on your car was trying to tell you?


earl 4 years ago

Thais helped me


profile image

jcrich 4 years ago

Thanks dprice99,for the information.You might have just saved me a lot of money and some travel time to boot.I had planned a trip to an auto repair shop, but,will make a stop on the way at Autozone to see if they can scan my Ford V10 engine to see what ses code shows up.It is very possible that my problem may be a sensor such as yours and I may be able to replace it also.If not,the maintenance shop is still there and I do feel that the personnel are honest and wish to be helpful.jcrich


Shawn 4 years ago

Good advice, thank you for sharing!


Erin Y 4 years ago

Thankyou so much for the great advice. I've been a mess all day about my check engine light! But thanx to your words, im on my way to Auto Zone now. :)


Austin 4 years ago

Autozone doesn't offer SES/CEL readouts in California anymore, due to a lawsuit claiming that "mechanics" can charge for that service and it is an unfair business market environment for a parts vendor to offer it for free, blah blah blah... But call up sears auto center and ask them how much a SES/CEL readout will cost... They're mechanics. ; )


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 4 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

I am so glad that people are finding this information helpful.

Austin - I was unaware of the regulations in California. Here in Arizona we are still able to get the readouts performed by Autozone.


anthony 4 years ago

Thx for the advice.I appreciate the time u take to help others. Godbless & all it took was 60 seconds for my c/e light to go off.Thx again ;-)


Thi 4 years ago

Thank for the advice.


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 4 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Anthony - glad that it worked out for you!


Oscar 3 years ago

Very grateful at learning how to reset the engine light.


Jush 2 years ago

removing the negative battery cable from your battery will reset the service engine soon lamp.

IT WORKS PERFECT ,THANKS

I do not know do I need to go mechanic to fix it or not?

Thanks


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 2 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Jush - please have AutoZone perform a reading on your car to determine the specific cause that initiated the Check Engine Soon light being displayed. They can help you understand if it's something serious our not.


stanley 2 years ago

yes you helped me some one ,who said something without all the bull crap


dprice99 profile image

dprice99 2 years ago from Phoenix Arizona Author

Stanley - glad that I could help you out!


Tom 2 years ago

Thank you, dprice99. I was able to reset my SES lamb. Thank you so much.


RA TAVERNIER 2 years ago

So glad I Google's this problem. First I will check the gas cap. Hopefully that will address the issue. If not, I will follow the steps outlined begining with auto zone. Thank you!

.


tom 2 years ago

Fantastic advice! Thanks a lot!

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