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Old 08-16-2016, 04:36 AM
 
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Can anybody explain the specifics on whats the difference between the 2.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:42 AM
 
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It's just vocabulary or wording.


Although each manufacturer may use both. One for regular scheduled maintenance and one for the engine is about to blow up.


Best to read the owners manual.
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Old 08-16-2016, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Log "cabin" west of Bangor
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The Check Engine Light warns of engine conditions that are out of 'normal' parameters, there are two conditions of warning- if the light is on steady, it indicates a problem that is not immediately critical. In most cases, when the light comes on it is due to a fault with one of the oxygen sensor units in the exhaust system.

A flashing CEL indicates a more serious and immediate condition, such as spark plugs misfiring. The CEL will stop flashing if the malfunction clears up (but the code will remain in the OBDC). If you have a steady on CEL, it will flash if needed.

You will need a code reader to check and clear the codes related to the CEL (should be built in to the freaking car, but...).
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:01 AM
 
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Check engine = something is wrong

Service engine soon = you have scheduled maintenance approaching
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:29 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX USA
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Check engine light, means there is a problem, and the computer is throwing a code, alerting to said problem. Service engine soon, means just that. Based on your mileage it is time for an oil change or a scheduled service.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:00 AM
 
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theres no difference. Do you have a Nissan? the "service engine soon" is the check engine light for my Nissan. Just to be sure you can go to Pepboys or if you have a code reader and get the code
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
12,778 posts, read 19,404,488 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zymer View Post
The Check Engine Light warns of engine conditions that are out of 'normal' parameters, there are two conditions of warning- if the light is on steady, it indicates a problem that is not immediately critical. In most cases, when the light comes on it is due to a fault with one of the oxygen sensor units in the exhaust system.

A flashing CEL indicates a more serious and immediate condition, such as spark plugs misfiring. The CEL will stop flashing if the malfunction clears up (but the code will remain in the OBDC). If you have a steady on CEL, it will flash if needed.

You will need a code reader to check and clear the codes related to the CEL (should be built in to the freaking car, but...).
CELs do not always flash for a misfire.

In my experience, a solid light means get it checked as soon as you can, but you can still drive it. A flashing one means stop driving now until it is fixed, and better call a tow truck!
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:30 AM
 
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Olden days.
Before OBDII.


My pickup truck from the 1980's. Truck was a tad old when this happened.


Some yellow/orange warning light came on in dash module.
"Emissions" or some such wording.
This older truck is running perfectly.


So I go to manufacturer dealership. I ask what it is. I'm told that it is "emissions".
I ask what is broken.
Nothing is broken.
Nothing is broken?
Correct.
So why the light.
The service manager states that this light comes on around 80,000 miles and that manufacturer wants service department to replace some emission components in engine bay.
I ask if they are broken.
"No way to tell."
The cost was well over a days wage at the time to replace parts.


So I state if nothing is broken and truck is running fine why should I replace parts.
The answer is that the manufacturer wants me to. Broken or not broken.


So I ask to leave alone and turn off the light as truck is running fine.
Can't do that.
So I am standing inside the dealer service area and complaining.
Some random mechanic walks by. Overhears conversation. Reaches in under dash. Pull out connector to this dedicated bulb.
Light is OFF.


And away I go. No charge.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
9,099 posts, read 9,545,476 times
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It's semantics between the different manufacturers. For the most part, check your owners manual as to what the individual lights mean.


For the most part, the SES = CEL.


It gets a little confusing because SES is sometimes misinterpreted as a "service" light when they are different. Some vehicles will use a light that says "Man't required" or "Service" with a wrench to indicate you need an oil change.


Nissan uses a "Service engine soon" light, like this. It's the same thing as your standard check engine light. This light, in this car, does not mean you need an oil change. It means there is a fault with one of the various sensors and you need to plug in an OBD2 scanner to pull a code and troubleshoot







My advice....read the owners manual. There is a section where they go over the various warning lights
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Log "cabin" west of Bangor
5,618 posts, read 6,592,454 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkf747 View Post
CELs do not always flash for a misfire.

In my experience, a solid light means get it checked as soon as you can, but you can still drive it. A flashing one means stop driving now until it is fixed, and better call a tow truck!
Well, I suppose that since I have not driven every single vehicle to see if the CEL will flash for a misfire, it might be remiss of me to claim that this is so. However, having driven *some* vehicles with a code reader in use in order to diagnose an intermittent flashing CEL, I can state with certainty that *some* vehicles will flash the CEL during misfire conditions, and given substantial standardization of OBD systems and codes I find it likely that many others would as well.

An intermittent flashing CEL does not necessarily mean you must call a tow truck immediately, but if it continues flashing (and won't stop) then it might be a good idea...although I suspect that the vehicle may be running so crappy at that point that you won't need the light to tell you that you're forked.

If you get an intermittent flashing CEL, then it's a good idea to read the codes to find out why, and correct the issue...otherwise, you *might* find the situation worsening to the extent that you *will* find yourself needing a tow truck at some point.
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