Service Engine Soon for lack of fuel?



I drive a '98 Buick Century. Today my “Service Engine Soon” light came on, which worried me because we’re taking this car out of state next Tuesday, and my mechanic’s out of town for 2 weeks.

Then the light went off after I filled it with gas. Admittedly, it was a little low, but certainly not the lowest I’ve ever gotten it. The low fuel ding only went off 2 or 3 times, and actually, the light came on before the dinging started.

Perhaps I should also mention that I got an oil change today, but the light was on before that.


I forgot to phrase that in the form of a question: Is there any good reason that filling the tank with gas should alleviate something causing the “Service Engine Soon” light to be on?


most likely a loose gas cap if the light went out right after fill up. However, if you have an AdvanceAuto Parts or AutoZone in your area, head on down and ask them to have the codes read for you, they usually do this for free, so it’ll only cost you gas to get there and back. When you get that done, post the codes, if any, on here with the description they give you at the store.


Low fuel will not cause the light to come on. Your car is complaining about something else, probably a borderline reading at the computer.

It is in your interest to find out before going on a long trip. If the light should reappear while driving on vacation (it always does) you could conceivably consider the fault to be trivial and can wait until you return.

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code not just their translation into English and post it back here. It likely will have a format like P1234.


it could, if the tank isn’t venting properly. . .