Description: An orange indicator light labeled CHECK ENGINE or SERVICE ENGINE SOON, also known as the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) in technical jargon. The importance and function of this light became more critical beginning in 1996, when the second generation of onboard diagnostics known as OBDII became standard equipment on all makes and models of cars.
Purpose: Required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for tighter emissions control, OBDII has the ability to monitor a diverse range of engine-related functions and record critical information. You can think of this information as your car’s electronic “vital signs.” OBDII information has proven to be so credible that it is now being used by some states as part of their emissions testing programs. The SERVICE ENGINE SOON or CHECK ENGINE LIGHT has several modes and can indicate a normally functioning system, a system that requires prompt attention, and/or a system that needs immediate attention.
Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: If your car’s OBDII system is functioning properly, the CHECK ENGINE or SERVICE ENGINE SOON light should flash briefly when you turn your car’s ignition key to the on position. After the brief flash, the light should go out and remain off while you are driving.
A glowing CHECK ENGINE or SERVICE ENGINE SOON light alerts you to problems in your car’s onboard diagnostic system or emissions system. There is no reason to panic and in many cases, you will not notice any difference in vehicle performance. This should be checked out as soon as you are able to get the car into an Authorized Volvo Dealer.
First, check the gas cap to make sure it was not left loose after refueling. Sometimes, this can trigger the light. Most OBDII-equipped vehicles have a gas cap that simply snaps in place, when turned to the right. On the other hand, some OBDII-equipped vehicles have threaded caps. On these, just turn the cap to the right until it begins to click. If the gas cap was loose, the light should go out after a few short trips or drive cycles.
If the gas cap was not the problem and the light remains on steady, have the system checked out at an authorized Volvo service facility as soon as possible. A light that flashes requires more prompt attention, indicating a more severe condition that must be checked out immediately to prevent damage to the catalytic converter. When you experience a flashing light, minimize driving at high speeds or under heavy loads. These cars should be brought in right away. It is highly recommended that you call roadside assistance in the case of a flashing check engine light with a decrease in performance. Here at Volvo of Santa Monica our factory certified and trained technicians use only original equipment parts to guarantee the optimum results. We invite you to experience the Volvo of Santa Monica difference.
Remember prevention is always cheaper that correction. Go to our service appointment screen and schedule a visit today!
For Further Information,
Eric Stephans, Service Director
Volvo of Santa Monica
Office (310) 656-5427
Fax (310) 451-3748