Service Engine Soon vs Check Engine Light

I own a 2002 Saturn SL1 and recently took it in for inspection and was completely outraged when I learned that it would cost $800 dollars for it to pass inspection. The reason I was given was because the “Service Engine Soon” indicator light was on. Now I understand that a car will fail emission test if the MIL(Malfunction Indicator Light) is illuminated. However after some research on my car I found that there are two service lights for the saturn, 1-Service Engine Soon 2-Check Engine. And the only one that is classified as the MIL is the “Check Engine” light. The “Service Engine Soon” light is for non-emission related diagnostic trouble codes. So my question is did I get swindled or is the mechanic is the right.

The “service engine soon” light is not for diagnostic related trouble codes…it’s not for anything other than to tell you your routine service interval is pending. All trouble codes show up as Check Engine Lights (CEL).

The mechanic is, IMHO, wrong. As a matter of fact your owner’s manual probably tells you how to reset this light yourself. Mine does.