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Engine needs service soon--light

I keep getting the Engine Needs Service Soon light on my dash but with my work schedule and commute I don’t have time to schedule a check immediately and then by the time I get it to the mechanic the light has gone off. The service manager says he can’t look at it unless the warning is on at the time because the computer won’t know why it was on. The light stays off for two months and then comes on again for about a week and then goes away. We have a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer. The service manager says they never have to crack the engine on them because they last forever. It runs fine, no untoward noises anything. Do I need to take the warning light seriously if it goes off for over a month at a time?

Those lights do not have to be illuminated to determine if there is a problem. The ECM does have a memory in it and this is where the codes are stored. The service manager is either dead wrong or brushing you off for some reason.

Drop by an AutoZone, Checkers, etc. and have them scan the car for codes. It only takes a few minutes and it’s free. Post any results back for discussion.

We get so many of these posts that relate experienced people (not you Khun) don’t know about history codes. It has started to make me think I was imagining the potential for viewing history codes as the last time I looked at a scanner was 2005.

Some cars have BOTH a “Service Soon” light and the more serious “Check Engine” light…

Most parts stores will check your codes for free if it’s the OBD-II warning light. The computer remembers why the light came on…

a lot of whether it can be scanned for codes has to do with the amount of start cycles after the last time the computer detected a malfunction. Too many and the codes are erased. Can’t remember just how many cycles that is but with domestics it’s usually 50 or so.

What does the owner’s manual say the light means? Is it an oil change reminder, or an indication of a different problem? I agree with the others that a local auto parts store can tell you if any codes are set in the ECM. It won’t cost you anything to check the codes. Call first to make sure that the store has a code reader and that it is working.

FYI just spoke with AutoZone, in California they stopped free checks over a year ago. Now “generic” check for $40

Checked with Kragen, they say the State of California made it illegal for them to run checks??!!