How exactly to Reset the Oil Change Light in a Car

How exactly to Reset the Oil Change Light in a Car

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Has the "Maintenance" or "Oil Change" indicator light appeared on your vehicle? Learn what it means and how to get it to turn off.

Modern vehicles are built with several indicator lights to owners when something needs attention, and the oil change light (also called the maintenance light) is one of them. This light is designed to tell you once the engine oil needs changing, on the basis of the car's odometer reading. The oil change light won't turn fully off by itself, even when the old oil has been drained and fresh oil added. That's where resetting the oil change light comes in.

Not all vehicles have a gas change light, but when yours does, resetting it is worth doing, and not only due to the annoyance of seeing the light on constantly. Unless the light is reset, your vehicle may have no way of telling you the very next time an oil change is needed.

Here I'll be demonstrating the reset on a 2003 Toyota 4Runner, and although the precise steps vary from make to make, the basic procedure is similar. Some makes and models have different procedures, like late-model Dodges, which require three quick presses of the gas pedal to reset. If you try the process shown here and your light doesn't reset, look at your owner's manual, or check online for help regarding your particular vehicle.

Get the Reset Button and Turn On Vehicle System

Search your vehicle's gauge and dashboard area for a key, switch or stick the says "Reset."
Turn the ignition to the ON position so your gauges and electronics illuminate, but don't start the engine.

Set Odometer to Display Mileage

Cycle through the various odometer modes until it shows total mileage driven.
Turn the ignition OFF.
Hold the Reset Button and Turn the Key

Press and contain the reset button.
Turn the ignition back to the ON position while holding the reset button.
Watch the oil change or maintenance light carefully. It will start to blink.
Permit the light to blink ON and OFF for a couple seconds, then release the reset button and turn the ignition OFF.

Start the Vehicle

Start the engine and make the sure the oil change or maintenance light is currently OFF.
If it's still ON, repeat the reset procedure.
If the dashboard light remains ON after two tries, reference your owner's manual or the vehicle manufacturer's site to learn more about the procedure for the vehicle.

Click here to get more information about check engine light.

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