Service Engine Soon Light Nissan Altima (Meaning, Causes & Fix)

Do you have a Service Engine Soon light on Nissan Altima? What should you do? Do you need to halt and tow your car to the garage? What is the cost of getting it fixed?

If you have these questions or there is more in your kitty, read on to know more about this issue.

Motorists often misunderstand the possible meaning of this, coupled with the appropriate actions to be taken if this light comes on. The “service engine soon light” isn’t as dangerous as you might think.

This article would provide comprehensive coverage of everything you need to know about the service engine soon light, its causes, and how to reset the service engine soon light.

Let’s get started!

Nowadays, vehicles come equipped with sensors, gauges, and dials, some lights that can even warn the driver of any malfunctions, in the entire vehicle’s working system is also installed on it, thanks to advancements in the automotive industry. The service engine soon Nissan warning light, is one of the most significant signals or warning lights. Typically, Nissan’s line of automobiles is connected to this.

Most motorists experience a panic attack when there’s a flicker in these lights. The dilemma can typically be whether to continue with the ride or pull over instantly for your vehicle to be towed to any nearby station, for servicing.

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What Does Service Engine Soon Mean on Nissan Altima?

Several vehicles produced by Nissan, the Nissan Altima too, have a light on the dashboard that reads, “Service engine soon.” What does that message mean?

The Nissan Altima’s dashboard “Service Engine Soon” (SES) light, is a sign that the Onboard Diagnostics System, has identified an issue with the system in charge of engine emission. The Onboard diagnostic system is an automated system, that keeps track of cars’ emissions, the engine’s performance, and additional functions.

This light’s presence suggests the car’s inspection, by a certified mechanic to ensure it complies with emissions regulations.

Although a malfunctioning sensor in charge of oxygen is a frequent reason why the Service Engine Soon light will illuminate, extra issues like a broken catalytic converter or mass airflow can also be the cause.

Your car should be checked by a trained mechanic, immediately after you notice the Service Engine light has come on, to get it evaluated, fixed, or stabilized. Ignoring the Service Engine Soon light may result in additional significant issues like engine failure or damage.

Service Engine Soon Light Nissan Altima

What is the Distinction between “Check Engine Light” And “Service Engine Soon”

The terms “check engine light” and “service engine soon”, are frequently used interchangeably. To be clear, both of them should be interpreted differently, and they represent separate things in terms of the execution of your car.

Check Engine Light

The term “check engine light,” which can be used to describe a malfunctioning lamp, is used to help identify the engine’s (or components directly related-to-the-engines) malfunction in a vehicle. Typically, the light can be seen on your car’s dashboard, above the wheel.

The “check engine light” indication, which frequently represents an engine, typically glows red or orange and indicates danger. This light has 2 distinct illumination options;

  • A constant light that denotes a rather modest engine problem
  • While a continual flash signals a serious issue, so you should stop driving immediately, and have the car examined.

When the check engine flash comes up, that only denotes a slight or significant issue your car’s engine or other engine unit has.

Service Engine Soon

The “service engine soon light” typically indicates to the vehicle’s driver that the car needs to be serviced. Many automakers, added mileage counting capabilities into the construction of these automobiles.

Therefore, the “service engine soon light” turns on spontaneously, reminding the car user to see a mechanic for check over, when the predetermined miles specified before servicing are achieved.

The service “engine soon light” is distinctive, and thus appears as a message rather than a symbol. When it illuminates, a “SERVICE ENGINE SOON LIGHT” or “SERVICE DUE”, will flash in yellow or red hinging on the car dashboard. As this happens, it is easy to distinguish as it’s the only indicator light that comes up this way.

  • Yellow light: This suggests a little problem. This has to be addressed before it becomes worse, it should be taken to a service bay closest to you. If the required tools are available and you have little fundamental expertise, you may also fix it at home.
  • Red light: A red light indicates a serious problem. Park the car right away, and tow your automobile to the closest repair facility, for a proper inspection.

After clearly defining the differences between the two, let’s see the reason people confuse the “service engine soon light” with the “the check engine light”. The terms “check engine light” and “service engine soon light”, are used interchangeably by various automakers, including Nissan.

We now need to examine a couple of the small issues in Nissan, that could cause the “service engine soon” light to activate, as we know that Nissan utilizes the “service engine soon” light rather than the “check engine” light, to denote trivial issues.

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What Causes the Service Engine Soon Light on Nissan Altima

A Nissan’s “service engine soon” light, may come on due to several small issues. Several of these little issues are:

  • Minor issues with exhaust emissions
  • Low fluid levels (low transmission, brake, oil, and coolant levels)
  • Minor concerns with the engine, like a loose fuel cap
  • A due routine service.

Loose Gas Cap

The car’s “service engine soon” light may come on for several explanations, firstly, a loose gas cap. When the gas tank is refilled with gas, the cap in question can come to be loose, if it isn’t firmly put back in place.

Your “service engine soon” indicator comes up when the cap appears loose after a specified time.

This is made possible by the engine control module (ECM), whose main duty is to guarantee that the vehicle runs as efficiently as possible. In addition, the ECM controls your car’s emissions and examines for irregularities in the air-fuel mixture.

It first pinpoints the precise issue, before conducting an interior examination. Then, when it occurs, either buy an OBD II scanner and perform it on your own or visit your local service center for assistance in clearing the memory.

Solution: Remove the gas cap, and replace it. Then, ride for a short while. The light may be reset and turned off using the onboard OBD II. But if it doesn’t work and the issue continues after a short ride, then a cap for substitute made specifically for your car will be necessary.

To start a reset, ride for a short while again. An experienced service technician will be needed to perform a correct diagnostic if it continues to malfunction after being fixed with a new gas cap.

Low Fluid Levels

The next problem that could cause the “service engine soon” light, is this one. Several liquids are used by your car during operation, to keep its moving parts from corroding and causing traction. These fluids consist of;

  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Windshield fluid
  • Engine oil

Solution: You must survey the oils’ statuses and look for any potential leaks in the parts. It would be wise to stop in a service bay facility if you cannot locate the source of the issue and the “service engine soon” light continues illuminating for a qualified service technician may examine the automobile using a device and consult the owner’s guide to diagnose the issue.

A Due Schedule Service

As the owner’s guide recommended, making your vehicle available for regular maintenance inspections is crucial. The detectors in today’s cars take note of the number of miles, that must be driven before the next regular maintenance appointment. Indications will be transmitted automatically to the car’s onboard computer, when necessary.

As a reminder that the vehicle should be taken for regular maintenance, after a predetermined number of miles, the “service engine soon” light automatically comes on. To find out the moment the subsequent service is expected, you may constantly consult your vehicle’s owner’s guide.

Regular maintenance inspections are crucial since it is during these routines that the car is examined, and can assist in identifying additional less serious issues, and enable their early repair. Such issues could comprise:

  1. Transmitting problems
  2. Issues with the fuel injection
  • Leaks of fluid
  1. Gas spills
  2. Problem with the engine.
  3. Emission issues.

Misfiring Spark Plug and faulty Wiring

Concerning internal combustion procedures, spark plugs can be quite essential. They assist in providing the sparks necessary for an outburst to occur, when the fuel or air mixture is ignited, which assists the engine in generating power.

The spark plugs and electrical wires are an element, contained in the ignition system. When the car has a severe case of misfiring spark plugs, it will eventually lose the ability to drive.

Wires and spark plugs in your car strain out as time goes by, thus, renewing them after a certain amount of time is vital. Defective wires and spark plugs might seriously endanger the combustion procedure. Spark plugs that aren’t shooting properly, cause some form of a jostle when moving forward, which makes them easy to spot.


The factory’s replacement record and the car’s handbook will direct you on how frequently you have to change your wires and spark plugs, so there will be no need to stay until they are entirely worn out.

In most situations, spark plugs in cars built before 1996, are meant to be replaced every 40,000 – 50,000Km, however, spark plugs in newer types made in the wake of 1996, can run for the utmost of 150,000 Km, before needing a substitute. It varies, depending on the car.

This can be fixed quickly and easily. The following equipment is necessary for the job:

  • A recent set of ignitions plug wires for your vehicle model
  • Spark plug wire pliers (if needed)
  • A wooden chock, Floor jack, and a kickstand
  • Ratchet and sockets
  • Needle pliers (if necessary)
  • Screwdrivers
  • Googles
  • Wrench set

How to Repair faulty Wiring and Misfiring Spark Plug 

  • To prevent attaching the cables to an incorrect cylinder, proceed from the engine’s front end to its back end, while Replacing the spark plug wires single by single.
  • Remove everything that might be in your way or obstruct your way. These components could be the radiator fan shroud, air cleaner duct, or engine cover. You should use a screwdriver for this.
  • One spark plug wire at a time shall be selected from the engine’s front end. The wire boot should be pulled while being held and twisted from one side to another. If you’re incapable of reaching the boot, spark plug wire pliers shall be of assistance. Firstly, release any clamps that are holding the wire in place.
  • Sever the wire from the ignition coil, or distributor after checking the end of it. A set of needle-nose pliers might be necessary if the boot has been fastened to the distributor using a spring clip.

Problems with Oxygen Sensors

Defective oxygen sensors are issues that can cause the “service engine soon” indicator to come on. The vehicle’s oxygen sensors are crucial because they track how unused oxygen is expelled into the environment. For a vehicle to operate as profitably as possible, the oxygen-to-fuel percentage is crucial.

A “full” run from leftover gasoline in the wake of combustion, is caused by an inadequate oxygen supply to the engine. The engine may suffer from bad execution or, in drastic circumstances, may completely fail due to insufficient oxygen.

Disregarding the faulty oxygen sensors can result in an engine power failure, complete catalytic converter destruction, and improper spark plug firing, all of which are hazardous outcomes. In addition, you will spend a lot of money fixing a faulty oxygen sensor and catalytic converter.

Dirty Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor

As it gauges the amount of air passing the filter, mass airflow is a crucial part of the automobile. After making this proportion, it then transmits information to the vehicle’s onboard computer, about fuel requirements for the engine.

The amount of air injected into the engine can influence how much fuel it will need.

You can imagine the transmission deterioration, that tends to occur when the mass airflow sensor becomes broken or is unclean, given the significant function of this element to the ignition system.

Bad gas mileage and perhaps total automobile stalling also affect ineffective mass airflow sensors. A delay in the mass airflow sensor cleanup or substitute might be quite risky.

The catalytic converter -usually costly to repair- can be damaged, as well as the oxygen sensors, spark plugs, and finally, the catalytic converter.

Service Engine Soon Light Nissan Altima

Solution to a Dirty Mass Air Flow.

After the automobile hood is opened, your first action should be to find the

  • Mass airflow sensor on the air cleaner assembly. It typically sits in the middle of the throttle body and the air filter housing. The mass airflow sensors, nonetheless, are clambered in the filter housing in some car types.
  • Look for an electrical connector on the air duct. It is located next to the housing of the air filter. If you can’t locate it, consult the car maintenance handbook.
  • Try back probing the wires by plugging the electrical connector into the sensor. If it seems impossible, run the examination while poking a pin through the wires.
  • Find signal wires on the ground(s) of the electrical connector. The repair guide might have access to all of this data. If not, an outlet on the internet can help you receive the data.


  1. Electrical tape can lock up the wires if perforated. They won’t rust as a result of this close-up with time.
  2. Mass airflow cleaner can be purchased for 10 dollars if the mass air flow needs cleaning.
  3. Sensors like this should only be dealt with with extreme care, due to their extreme fragility. Based on your vehicle’s type and the installation difficulty, a replacement sensor will amount to 75 – 200 dollars.

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Frequently Asked Questions – Service Engine Soon Light Nissan Altima

Can I drive with the service engine soon light on?

The service engine soon lights, are usually comfortable to have on, owing that’s it steady and not flickering while driving. However, when it starts to blink, you need to stop right away, phone for roadside assistance, and tow the car to a technician.

How do you fix a service engine soon light?

It indicates that regular supervision is fast approaching. Taking your automobile to a technician and having the technician examine your automobile, is the simplest means to get rid of this light. If the service engine soon lights are frequent, it signifies that it’s the period for a change of oil or that liquids need to be topped.

What causes a Nissan to say service engine soon?

The check engine light serves as an alert to potential problems with the emissions or exhaust systems. For example, a slack gas cap, or more serious concerns, including a potential engine letdown, may cause the service engine soon light to illuminate.

Can spark plugs cause the service engine soon light?

Yes, that is the reply! The service engine soon light on the car may come on as a result of strained spark plugs, signaling a problem. On the other hand, it can be a check engine light that is blinking.

Can a bad catalytic converter cause the service engine soon light?

A malfunctioning catalytic converter will make the check engine light come on. Additionally, a damaged oxygen sensor or a worn-out spark plug can cause the malfunction of the catalytic converter. If you wait a long period before replacing a damaged catalytic converter, it becomes challenging to maintain automobile operation.

Why is my engine light on when nothing seems wrong?

Driving till a technician is seen, is safe if nothing is acting strangely. For example, if the gas cap slacks, the light could occasionally turn on after filling up. It might also indicate that the catalytic converter expects to be checked.

Conclusion ­- Service Engine Soon Light Nissan Altima

To ensure that the engine does not have a significant problem, you should make out the difficulty as soon as possible. For example, if your vehicle’s service engine soon blinks, stop driving immediately to prevent more harm to the engine, and send it to a repair shop. To identify any likely issues, a service professional can connect a code reader to the computer in your car.

Once you or the technician are aware of the distinctive code, you can use the service manual or owner’s guide, to determine the precise nature of the problem.

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