Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2005 MINI "Service Engine Soon" light question - advice needed!

OK, so my “Service Engine Soon” light came on recently. I tried the gas cap tightening suggestion. It turned off. A few miles down the road it came on again. I had a recall/service schedule (2005 model) so waited until I took it in, however the light turned off (again) before I went in. They did a whole service and (I believe) diagnostic and nothing came up. That was about a month ago and suddenly the morning the light came on again. I have some repairs/maintenance scheduled for end of July (gasket value leak and the right side the axles). The car is driving fine, no difference in feel/sounds.

Any thoughts?

What OBD-II codes are stored? Post those and we can start working on it.

Can I get those codes myself, or do I have to go somewhere (other than the dealer which is not close by)?

Most auto parts retailers (Auto Zone, Advance Auto, O’Reilly, Napa) will “read” your stored trouble codes w/o charge.

& I’d suggest since you seem to want to be involved in keeping your Mini working well, to purchase an OBD II code reader which is compatible w/your Mini. Shouldn’t cost you more than $100. Then you can read the codes at your convenience, and know you are doing it correctly.

And this makes sense. After all, you paid for the diagnostic software built into the car’s engine computer as part of the purchase price of the car; you own it, so might as well use it.

Thanks all. Since I am in CA neither Autozone or O’Reilly can read codes without a service bay (apparently). I contact a local shop and they are going to read them for me. They did make it sound that it should be no big deal (I hope).

Someone here mentioned that there’s a State of Calif specific law that prevents auto parts stores from reading codes for their customers. What the purpose of that law is, hard to say. Niether of my cars is OBD II compliant, so I’ve never had to deal with it myself. Personally I think that since the customer-owned engine computer stores the codes, the law should instead state that the manufacturer of the car should provide a method to the customer to read the codes; i.e. either provide a code reader with the car, or a method to read the codes on the dashboard display. The second method is how it work on my OBD I compliant Corolla. No code reader or trip to the auto parts store required, can do it in my driveway.

I’ve often felt that. For all the trouble the manufacturers go with all the complicated electronics, it would take pennies to include a mode that reads the error codes.

There must be some liability reason they don’t do this.

The Feds won’t allow manufactures to display emissions faults, the vehicle owner might choose which faults to ignore.

With California emissions repair procedure, the parts store is not permitted to assist in the diagnosis.

Isn’t the “Service Engine Soon” light tied to mileage? A reminder to do some procedure that is required every X thousand miles. That’s what it is on my 2005 Lexus. You can reset it with a procedure that’s in the owner’s manual.

There are “maintenance needed” lights and “check engine light”. They serve different purposes. We all assumed the OP has a CEL.

As far as the CA law, the repair shops sued the parts stores claiming that they read the codes and sell “unnecessary” parts to the owners rather than doing a proper troubleshooting process. It does have some merit, but the motivation from the repair shops was not consumer protection IMO.

If you have a smart phone, you can get the torque app for free and then a $10 bluetooth dongle from amazon/ebay and read the basic codes.


“Isn’t the “Service Engine Soon” light tied to mileage? A reminder to do some procedure that is required every X thousand miles”


The “service engine soon” light is the MIL . . . aka the check engine light

there are 3 ways that I know of to display it . . .

“service engine soon”
"check engine"
an actual engine symbol

And they’re all orange

My 2005 Lexus is300 has both. There is the required engine symbol light that is switched on by the engine’s computer, and there is a “Service engine soon” which goes on 5000 miles after it was last reset, to remind you to change the oil.


Unfortunately, I kind of disagree with you

I have a 2005 Camry, and after 5000 miles a “MAINT REQD” light comes on . . . sames as in your Lexus :neutral:

The link is from the 2005 Lexus IS300 online owners manual

“service engine soon” ALWAYS means “check engine” light . . . NEVER “maintenance required”

I think perhaps in your case the “check engine” symbol and the “MAINT REQD” symbol came on at the same time. Perhaps you were due for the service, aka oil change, AND you had a problem which was affecting emissions

To turn on the “service engine soon” if the only issue was required maintenance would be in violation of several regulations

OK, I stand corrected.