What To Do When You See The Service Engine Soon Light On Your Nissan?

in Service and Maintenance
nissan logo on an altima

Source: Pixabay

Innovations in the automotive world have made it easier to be a car owner. One of the best automobile innovations is the vehicle’s computer system. Most modern cars have an operating system that handles all sorts of electronic functions, from in-car entertainment to problem diagnosis. Nowadays, modern vehicles have electronic dials, gauges, and warning lights that provide critical information to the driver.

The warning light is one of the most critical elements of your digital instrument cluster. These warning lights let you know if there’s something wrong with your car, so you can stop driving and call a mechanic to get it fixed. For Nissan owners, one of the most concerning warning lights you can get is the “Service Engine Soon” light.

What does it mean if you get this warning light on your dash?

For today’s post, we’ll talk about the service engine soon light on Nissan vehicles. What does it mean? What are its causes? And how do you fix it? Let’s find out!

The Meaning of Service Engine Soon Light on Nissan Cars

You’re peacefully cruising down the road without a care in the world, and suddenly, a bright “Service Engine Soon” light illuminates your dashboard display. Immediately, you assume an expensive repair bill is waiting in your future. Just like that, your uneventful drive becomes a mini heart attack as you figure out the meaning of this particular warning light.

The good news is that the service engine soon light on Nissan cars isn’t a cause for panic or significant concern. When this warning light comes on, it’s generally a reminder for owners to take their vehicles in for service soon. Therefore, if your Nissan is due for an oil change or spark plug replacements, there’s a good chance you’ll see this warning light coming on.

On the other hand, the “Service Engine Soon” light may come on when there’s either a minor or major problem with your vehicle. Depending on the make and model of your car, the warning light indicator illuminates in two color categories: yellow and red.

  • Yellow “Service Engine Soon” light: A yellow color light indicates a minor issue or service due. You may head over to your nearest service station and have your vehicle checked before the problem becomes severe. If you know what you’re doing, you can probably make it go away with DIY solutions.
  • Red “Service Engine Soon” light: A red color warning light means there’s a significant issue with your Nissan vehicle. Your best bet is to pull over, stop your car, and have it towed to the nearest mechanic.

Again, this will depend on the make and model of your vehicle. In some cases, there are no color categories at all to help you differentiate the cause of the problem.


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Is It the Same as the “Check Engine” Light?

A common source of confusion among car owners is the difference between Check Engine and Service Engine Soon warning lights. No, they are pretty different.

Unlike the Service Engine Soon light that’s fully spelled out as a word, the Check Engine light is represented by an engine symbol. The check engine light usually illuminates an engine malfunction or other parts related to the engine. Similar to the service engine soon light, the check engine light has two color categories: orange and red.

When you see a steady check engine light, it usually indicates a minor issue. Conversely, a continuously flashing check engine light usually means a more severe problem, and you should get off the road quickly.

However, some manufacturers use the “Check Engine” and “Service Engine Soon” interchangeably, hence the confusion. We highly recommend reading your owner’s manual to determine which malfunction indicator light (MIL) your vehicle uses.

Common Causes of Service Engine Soon Light on Nissan

For the most part, the Service Engine Soon light is triggered by several minor issues, including:

Loose Fuel Cap

Before stopping by a mechanic shop, you may want to check on your fuel cap and see if it somehow loosened after filling up your tank. The culprit can be as simple as a loose fuel tank cap. With a loose cap, driving around will cause it to become looser, triggering the warning light.

What to do?

If your vehicle has an engine control module (ECM), it checks for potential errors in your car’s fuel system. If you have a loose cap, remove it and put it back tightly. Drive for a few minutes and see if it fixes the error. If the error persists, you may want a new gas cap.

Due for a Routine Service

Has it been a while since your last routine maintenance? If so, you may see that the service light came on as a reminder that your vehicle is due for routine service. Some car manufacturers integrate this warning light into mileage. Thus, once a specific mileage has been reached, your dash may display the warning light to remind you of an upcoming service schedule. This can be a handy feature since you don’t want to miss out on a routine service schedule.


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What to do?

We highly recommend checking with your dealer or mechanic if you have an upcoming service. They may find issues that need to be fixed before they get worse. This way, they can perform the proper maintenance steps to ensure your vehicle’s proper operation.

Low Fluid Levels

This is another potential reason that will trigger the Service Engine Soon light on Nissan cars. If you want your vehicle to run correctly, you should have optimal fluid levels. These include the following:

  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Motor oil
  • Radiator fluid or coolant

The warning light may illuminate if you have low levels of the fluids mentioned above. Also, this might be a good time to check for leaks within these components.

What to do?

As mentioned, check for possible leaks under the hood and your vehicle. If you can’t find anything, it’s best to check in with your service center so they can inspect your Nissan and find the root of the problem.


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