How do I reset my "Service Engine Soon" light

I recently had an issue with an air duct between my air filter and engine in my 1999 Cadillac Seville; this was fixed. Now my problem is my service engine soon light is still on. Do I need to reset this some how? If I do how do I do that? If the problem was fixed correctly should that light go off by itself?

You can try to disconnect and reconnect the battery. Then after a few start cycles the light should go away if the problem was fixed. The other option is to go to an Auto parts store (Auto zone is one) and they can reset the light for free. They Can read and reset trouble codes via the OBD II connector

I disconnect the battery for an hour or so on my 93 Caprice and 2000 Blazer to reset the SES/CEL light.


I will try to disconnet the battery…and if that doesn’t work I will head to Auto Zone…thanks.

I forgot mention to disconnect the negative cable.


Let’s get a few terms sorted out here. The “Service Engine Soon” light usually means it’s time to change the oil and possibly some other routine maintenance is due. The “Check Engine Light” means the computer has detected a problem and you need to get the codes scanned. The first can be reset, but maybe you are due for service and it was just coincidence that it came on at this time. The second could be leftover codes from the service that was done. So, which light is it, really?

You can get into the diagnostic system yourself. Push and hold the off and warmer button on your heater control. The dash will display the system codes and then you can clear the codes by scolling thru the menu and choosing the clear codes option. It can take a number of attempts to do this but you use the heater control buttons to access the system.

The “Check Engine Light” & the “Service Engine Soon” light serve the same purpose. They indicate a problem with the computerized controls. They DO NOT mean to change the oil.
Different manufactures use different labels but they serve the same purpose. Some vehicles are equiped with an oil change minder but when it is time for service it does not turn on the service engine soon light.

No, Dartman, I have had cars with “Service Engine Soon” lights that just came on as an oil change reminder, some were just tied to mileage. That is why I asked the OP to clarify. Obviously, he should check his manual to find out what his car’s lights mean. But, definitely there are “Service” lights that are just service indicators and they don’t mean there are any codes set or any actual problems. As far as I know, “Check Engine” always means a computer code is set.

One minute will do it…

The “Check Engine Light” & “Service Engine soon” serve the same function!!! They do not indicate the need for an oil change. I am aware that some vehicles have an on board system for oil change reminder but they do not iluminate the service engine soon. This light is a Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) that warns of an emmision problem. It is not a maintanence required light.

For more info visit:

If you want more I can provide them.


And I’m telling you I have owned cars where the “service engine soon” light was not the same as a “Check Engine” light. It was only a service indicator. This varies with different manufacturers.

Please elaborate on what cars you have OWNED that turn the “Service Engine Soon” light on when you need an oil change.

I own a 2001 Chevy Impala. The Service Engine light is different from the check engine light, and comes on when the oil needs changed.

And to reset the service engine light in the Impala, turn the key to on, but don’t start the car. Then push the gas pedal to the floor and release it completely 3 times in 5 seconds to reset the light.

i am scratching my head to recall, but the years have dulled my mind… however, at least one car i owned (a subaru i think) had both lights.

the EML would come on for errors,

and the service engine soon light came on at specific intervals. 30k, 60k 90k for transmission reminders;
75k (i think) for timing belt;
and one more set, which i have forgot.

the odd thing was that the light just came on, and you had to go into the manual for the info, to read the schematic to get the info the light was referring to.

the lights were red for the EML, and amber for the service soon light.

doh, i remembered, a buick riviera

THE 2001 Impala has a “Check engine” light to notify that the ECM has detected a problem with an emmision control. It also has an oil change minder that says “Service vehicle soon”. This “Service Vehicle Soon” light should not be confused with a “Service ENGINE Soon” light (your car does not have one).

Doesn’t the Owner’s Manual tell you how to do it (if, in fact, this is just a reminder for scheduled maintenance)?? My Dad drove his 2004 Camry for several months (almost 500 miles!) with the “Maintenance Required” light on after Chain Lube forgot to reset it when they changed the oil. I finally got a chance to look in the manual, and there it was! Completely non-intuitive, but simple.

What years were these vehicles?

One I remember was an '86 Nissan Sentra. It may have said “Service Engine” without the word “soon,” but I’ve seen other cars that have a yellow “Service” light which is different than the red “Check Engine” light.

After some reading, it appears that GM uses “Service Engine Soon” as what I normally think of as the “Check Engine” light. I am pretty much biased against GM and so I’m really unfamiliar with their specifics.

Again, I asked for clarification to make sure it wasn’t just a coincidence of a “Service” light coming on.