Service Engine Soon Light

I have a 1996 Geo Tracker with 56,000 miles on it. It has always been properly serviced when needed (not by a dealer). Approximately 9-10 years ago the light on the dash that says “Service Engine Soon” came on and has been on ever since. The car runs just fine. How do I go about not having that light on? Thanks and I know you have all the answers because I listen to you on the radio every week. Could not get on -"“busy, busy, busy”". You shouldn’t be so popular-(smile).

Thanks for your help,

Barbara- Maine

9-10 year ago? Wasn’t it under warranty when the light came on?

Going under the assumption that the word “years” is a typo… Take it to an auto parts store that scans engine codes for free (most stores will do this) and find out what the code is. Then you can “google” the code to find out the problem and solution. Good luck.

Why worry about it now?

For ten years your car has been trying to tell you something, but you have ignored it?  By now there may be several problems.  Even if they are all not really too important, how are you going to know if it is  trying to report a new very important problem that could cost you some very big dollars if you ignore it?  

 It is best to find out why the light is on and take care of the reason the light is on.  The problem is not the light, it is only the messenger.

“Approximately 9-10 years ago the light on the dash that says “Service Engine Soon” came on and has been on ever since.”

I guess that this just proves that different people have vastly different ideas of what “soon” means!

As Mr. Meehan stated, when the light first lit up, it could have indicated one problem. By now, there could be a myriad of problems because…and I hate to shock you with this revelation…automotive problems rarely fix themselves and maintenance or repairs that are deferred invariably wind up costing much more in the long run.

And, as to the OP’s other statement, “It has always been properly serviced when needed”, this certainly calls the competence of the servicing mechanic(s) into question. If it has really been properly serviced, that CEL would not have been continually illuminated for 9 or 10 years. This approach to vehicle maintenance is a very good example of why I don’t buy used cars.

All I can suggest to the OP is to have the codes (probably MANY of them) read at an auto parts store, and to report back here with the list of codes in order to get some guidance in this matter. And, she should also be prepared for a fairly expensive maintenance/repair bill, based on deferring this matter for approximately a decade.

9-10 years? That’s a lonnnnnnggggg time eh?

Do what the guys said, if you don’t, when something happens you won’t have any warning to prevent trouble because there won’t be any CEL to tell you.

You have an interesting definition of “properly serviced”.

Good thing you didn’t reach the show. Some people hang up on them.

Many of the problems that trigger a CEL reduce your gas mileage. I wonder how many gallons of gas you’ve thrown away over the past ten years.