Car Dash "Maintenance Needed" Lights that Can Only Be Turned off by Manufacturers - C

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by WillG, Feb 3, 2005.

  1. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    I was speaking with someone at work today about how I am due for a car service appt because my Mantenance Required light is on. He told me that his is always on because he takes his car to a local mechanic for servicing. He told me that it is a scam by the manufacturer and that outside mechanics cannot turn these lights off because the manufacturer does not give out the code to de-activate the light. It can only be turned off if you bring it to the Manufacturer for service. This has never been an issue for me since I get free oil service from my dealership, so I found this practice interesting. But I do wonder how the Manufacturers can do this. It seems to me like you buy a car from them but they use this maintenance light to hold you hostage for their servicing, at inflated prices, of course. If this is true, I have some resentment toward that practice. I know a light on the dashboard is not the end of the world, but it can be irritating to have that light on all the time unless take the car to your manufacturer for service.
     
  2. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Have the car fixed (elsewhere), then bring it to the dealership and have them turn the light off.

    They shouldn't charge you to do this, especially since there is nothing wrong with the vehicle. [​IMG]

    I had an old Chevy and when I hit 80,000 miles, this plastic tag covered the mileage and said something like "Check Car" - The mechanic said it was some sort of reminder to have the car checked out after this length of time. It was annoying because it was their way of forcing you to have the car looked at (because you couldn't get rid of the tag), so I just left it there.

    After I realized that I was going to run the car into the ground, I took off the odometer cover, grabbed the plastic 'reminder' with a pair of pliers, and PULLED! [​IMG]




    Bart Simpson: "Dad, the "Check Engine" light is on!"
    Homer Simpson: "Whoops, the tape must have fallen off" (Homer puts the black tape over the 'idiot' light)
     
  3. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    My E36 BMW was like this, but sometime shortly, even the dealer refused to clear the light off even if you asked them nicely. However, the whole thing about having to go to a dealership to clear it is bogus, at least for the BMW. A simply lead with a resister on it (just so you don't blow up anything if you accidentally short the wrong pin) will clear up the "inspection required" or "oil change required" lights on the BMW. There is an access port in the engine of my BMW that I would simply take the cover off, and short pin XX to pin YY with the keys in the ACC position. I forget the exact sequance, but by following the directions, you would clear those dashboard indicators. You could find the same device selling for $60 on back of BMW magazines or car magazines but a simple wire and resistor is all you needed.

    I suggest you find a good car forum for your particular car and find out the procedure, the procedure is probably not difficult at all, once you find out where and what pins and the sequence.

    Jay
     
  4. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    If the dealer will eventually refuse to shut off your light, I wonder if the practice of putting these dash lights on cars could be considered an unethical business practice. After all, I paid for the car, I should be able to have it serviced anywhere I want without the penality of an annoying warning light constantly on. I should not have to resort to fiddling under the hood to turn it off.
     
  5. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Jay, here's an article about turning off the service light with one of those reset tools:
    http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...rvice_Lamp.htm

    It sounds a bit too difficult for me. I once had my oil changed (at BMW) before the light came on. Then, a few weeks later, the light came on and I had to go back to have them turn it off. They didn't charge me, but it was still a pain. [​IMG]I wonder if you can ask them to disconnect the light? Like you said, it's your car and it doesn't affect the way the car drives. If they give you a hassle, I wonder if claiming the car was 'defective'. After all, if there's nothing wrong with the car, the light SHOULDN'T be on.

    Claim the light is 'malfunctioning'. [​IMG]
     
  6. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Piece of black electrical tape works just fine. [​IMG]
     
  7. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    Will, are you talking about the "check engine" light? These lights can be turned off by any mechanic, but they do need to have the proper gear to do it, which is not cheap. And they need to actually fix the problem, or the light may come right back on.

    That dreaded light came on in my Jeep the other day, and by snooping around on line I was able to figure out how to get the actual error code (It used the digital odometer to display it) and looked it up. It says I have a very small leak in my Evaporative Emmission Control system. You may be able to do the same and find out what's actually going on.

    Now, if it's some other light, ignore the above.
     
  8. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    It's not the "Check Engine" light. It is the "Maintenance Required" light which some cars have to let you know when you should take your car in to be serviced. But thanks
     
  9. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    yes, mark, that was where I found the entire sequence...

    chris_everett: You can do that dashboard trick on OBDI cars (which is cars before 1996). OBDII rendered that dashboard trick useless, unfortunately.

    It would help if you would identify the make and model unless it is top secret info (you drive a Yugo at which point you'd probably wouldn't have a "maintenance required" light on the dashboard it would be a "new car required" light [​IMG] )...

    Jay
     
  10. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    2001 Integra

    But, as I said, it's not an issue for me since I get free oil service from my dealership. But I just frown upon the practice.
     
  11. Kevin_Spradley

    Kevin_Spradley Stunt Coordinator

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    Jay H... FWIW, I have a 2000 Dodge Durango which is OBDII compliant. I have access to a OBDII reader which I connect to the OBDII under the dash. However, when I do not have access to the reader, I can use the dashboard trick to determine the code. The digital odometer will display a letter and numeric code.

    The same light that is used for check engine (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) is also the maintenance required lamp. But this just be my model of Durango.
     
  12. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    My Jeep is a 2001 and it works. Different cars seem to vary as to what works and what doesn't.
     
  13. ClintS

    ClintS Stunt Coordinator

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    On my acura and my honda the reset code is in the owners manual you basically hold the odometer reset button with the ignition off and then turn the car on, hold the button down until the nag light goes off. The light is never in sequence with my oil changes so it just pisses me off[​IMG], but at least its easy to reset. [​IMG]
     
  14. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    I own one Honda (95 Accord EX), and one Acura (2002 TL-S), and both of them explain in the owner's manual exactly how to reset the light.

    Read your owner's manual. Honda is not a company that plays these silly games.
     
  15. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I work for a Toyota dealership service dept.

    The Previa vans of the early to mid 90s had one of these lights with a reset button behind a little rubber plug in the instrument cluster face. These Previas usually run 300-400k miles or more with no engine failures and I strongly suspect this nagging little light is one of the main reasons.

    The Previa was the last model with one of these lights for several years.

    More recently there was a bogus "defect" about oil gelling (sludge) on Toyotas, not a single case of which could be verified on one with a known decent history of regular oil changes. I've seen it myself, usually on off-lease cars with 25-30k that never had any oil changes at all.

    Toyota issued a policy whereby they would go ahead and repair or replace sludged engines if the owner could produce any kind of proof that the oil had been changed within one year previous to the complaint. They have accepted photocopies of handwritten notations in little notebooks as such proof, easily made up as needed by a neglectful owner.

    In the last couple of years, the "maintenance required" lights have started re-appearing on Toyotas, reset instructions are in the owner's manuals, no tools or special skills required other than an understanding of the better than average Japlish in the manual.

    The upshot of all this is that in today's Naderist society where any and all auto problems must be blamed on the mfr and common sense and owner responsibility for maintenance are ignored, these lights will become more and more common.
     
  16. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I just think that cars have become so reliable in the past decade that people expect to not have to do a thing. Spark plugs that can go 100k miles!? Synth oil changes reccomended at 7k on some vehicles?! Both of my vehicles are 1990 m/y and run like champs. My GF's 96 toyota is the one that needs a new head, or a whole new engine [​IMG]
     
  17. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    Well, it turns out, that in my car there is a button underneath my dashboard that will reset the light. Good to know. Thanks everyone.
     

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