I want to change when my car is serviced. Can I turn off the service light?

service light

As cars become increasingly intelligent, the more information they give us about themselves. And that includes a service light to tell you when they need their regular maintenance.

When does the service light come on?

When the service alert light comes on depends on the car and how you’re running it. Some simply operate on a mileage or calendar basis. They know that the car needs servicing every 10,000 miles or 12 months. Once the miles hit 10,000 after the service computer has been reset, the light will illuminate.

If you don’t reach the prescribed mileage limit, the indicator will come on, usually a month before the 12 months is up. The idea is this should give you enough time to book a service.

Why might you want to reset the light?

Before you owned the car, its service date might have been different to its MOT. For the sake of convenience, you might want to bring the two together. If that’s the case, you’ll probably have to reset the dashboard light.

service light

Be careful…

If your car has hit the mileage limit for its service and you want to reset the service light for a couple of months’ time, you probably don’t want to carry on driving it. Instead, why not talk to your garage about having the cheapest possible service? This will tide you over until you have the car’s proper service on the date you want the service light reset from.

How do you reset the service light?

If the car’s servicing is on a flexible interval – this is when the car decides that it needs servicing outside time or mileage constraints – it’ll probably need to be hooked up to a diagnostic machine.

If the service period is fixed (according to time or mileage) there’s usually a combination of dashboard buttons that you press to turn the light out. You can probably find out from the internet how to do this yourself. However, probably safest to leave it to the experts.

Once the garage has serviced your car, make sure it resets the light when you actually have the service done. This will ensure it goes off on its annual basis within your timescale next time.

service light

What you shouldn’t do

Don’t reset the light then forget to have the car serviced. Just because a service light isn’t reminding you doesn’t mean the car doesn’t need servicing.

Why is servicing important?

Having a car serviced is different to having its MOT done. A service is for doing things such as changing the oil  and filters. An MOT is an annual roadworthiness check. It’s demanded by law for all cars that are more than three years old. It checks things such as whether the lights are working and how legal the tyres are.

Ignore servicing schedules and if your car is still under warranty this may be invalidated. Cars that aren’t regularly serviced don’t run as efficiently as those that are. And make sure you have the service schedule updated. It’s a simple way of maximising the value of the car when you sell it.