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Old 11-27-2008, 07:41 AM   #1
hilarski
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

Well, Saturn Fans, I need your help. My 2003 AWD V6 Vue at 107000 miles is doing fine except that the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light has just come on. I've had all the major service work done at 100K. Everything else seems to be fine. What should I check, or should I go to an auto parts place and have them check the codes.? I've read about wiring issues, throttle bodies, gas caps etc.... Any suggestions on what it might be?

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Old 11-27-2008, 09:40 AM   #2
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2005 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

Take it somewhere and have the code read. Anything else is just a guess, and with the thousands of things that can turn that light on, not a good one. Unless you own a code scanner there is nothing you can "check." You need the code scanned before anyone can help you.

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Old 11-27-2008, 09:28 PM   #3
vidonediv
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Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

+1 go to autozone they should do it for free...

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Old 11-28-2008, 06:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

Some '03 V6s will give a SES light for a thermostat code because the temp didn't come up quickly enough over several cycles. I've found this to be true on mine and it happens at the start of cold weather. It usually goes away after a few more cycles or I disconnect the battery and get rid of it. If yours is this code, check your temperature gauge to see if it's going up to the normal position and you're getting very hot air at the highest temp setting on the HVAC head. If all seems to be well, you can most likely put off getting a new thermostat for some time, maybe forever. To be honest, I don't even know where the thermostat is on this engine. In the past, I have replaced many of them on the older cars. If it's like everything else on this engine, it's a major PITA to get to. Obviously, if your engine is running colder than usual you must get it fixed immediately.

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Old 11-29-2008, 07:44 AM   #5
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Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

OK, Thanks everyone! I have an AutoZone real close by, we'll see if they can help me out. I hope it's nothing serious, I really do not want to dump more money into the car at this time. Happy Holidays!

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Old 11-29-2008, 09:41 AM   #6
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

My SES light came on because of a bad O2 sensor. The 2003 V6 has several.
If its an O2 sensor, you can replace it yourself.

Hope the auto store gives you the info you need.

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Old 11-29-2008, 12:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

i disconnected my batery for several minutes and when i reconnected it the ses light never came back on

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Old 12-01-2008, 01:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

O2 Sensor, Sounds right, I've noticed a slight drop in Gas Mileage. I will check it out! Thanks!

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Old 12-12-2008, 01:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

UPDATE TO THE 'SERVICE ENGINE SOON' light. OK, here's the scoop, I took the Vue to the local Chevrolet Dealership for the NY State Annual Inspection. I was told they could not do the inspection because of the engine light, and besides, they could not read the Saturn Codes even if they wanted to. Hugh? They are both GM Right? So off to Auto Zone, they read the codes in 5 Minutes. Although their reader did not pinpoint the problem, it did point to an EVAP problem. Most likely, a faulty Gas Cap or bad O2 Sensor. SOOO, I took the VUE to the local Mechanic, he was fine with the light and welcomed me back a few days later with an appointment. Before I went however, I disconnected the battery, which did clear out the light. However, In NY State they automatically
read your codes and mine said that the computer was waiting to be sure that the Emissions systems were OK. That means that I have to drive the vehicle for an Undertermined amount of miles to be sure the system is OK. Meanwhile, the mechanic has removed my Inspection Sticker. So Now the Mechanic has given me a set of papers that has to remain with the vehicle in case I get stopped and my inspection sticker is no where on the windshield. However, if the policeman is not nice I can get a ticket? What???? SOOO, I have another appointment next week, 12/16, to retest the system to be sure the Emissions is OK, and then I'm not sure if the State will allow the Mechanic to issue a sticker. Man! This sucks! I may have to drive more miles before I can get a new sticker. It could be January before this thing clears up. You know what? I've been looking for another Vehicle, this is getting frustrating. Thank God I have another Vehicle I can drive. So, the moral of the story, don't disconnect your battery, bit the bullet and do the correct thing. Cutting corners, doesn't always work. Or don't buy a Saturn!

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Old 12-12-2008, 07:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

This post is one of the worst case examples of GM's failure to attempt consolidation of business' by allowing any GM product to be serviced equally by any GM dealership. Perhaps I speak too soon as the other shoe hasn't fallen yet. That is, the actual demise of Saturn, forcing GM to have any dealer to perform service to any brand model as long as each dealer has the capability and equipment. For this dealer to say they cannot read error codes brings up some questions.

1-If the wrench indicator wasn't on and only the SES light was, this dealer may have very questionable practices. Generic error codes can be read, as you've found out, from almost any place besides the dealer but wrench codes (indicated by a separate light from the SES light) are more difficult to read and require better readers that dealers have or local garages that have the capability. Many do and pay extra for each module that matches with codes for each car manufacturer to be competitive with every other shop. The most inexpensive DIY reader was posted recently be a Saturnfans member and his reader read the wrench codes. His cost ~$300.

2-Many like you aren't aware that disconnecting the battery cable to erase error codes may not reset all the errors while also bringing up another issue - passing emissions inspection. Unfortunately for you, you became aware of a little known issue when removing the battery cable and hoping to erase any codes and the readiness monitors that normally require some engine cycles and some driving to allow the engine/emissions controls to monitor everything from start-up to shutdown to exercise all the emissions requirements. Most of this takes place silently when not pressed to pass state inspection such as replacing a faulty O2 sensor or coolant sensor. Both force the EFI system back into open loop mode of engine operation that bypasses emissions and lights up the SES indicator. As soon as the faulty parts are replaced and the car is run normally, the readiness monitors simultaneoulsy checks that the O2 sensor is operating and automatically enters closed loop mode of engine operation for further emissions monitoring until all paramaters are met. This is simply done with driving. This car will never pass emissions inspection without replacing certain parts but will as soon as these parts are put in. In effect, the car heals itself when the right parts are replaced. The readiness monitors of the OBD II system allows almost complete self-diagnosing with simple understanding of the error codes and what to do to bring the car back to normal operating conditions. Saturn is not the only car to do this. Virtually every car manufactured that is made here or imported here must perform its own self-diagnostics to enable easier repairs either by dealer services or the DIYer with some investment in tools and equipment. It doesn't require the expensive stuff that dealers have but more than the average cost of bottom end readers.

3-NYS inspection is what it is and every garage licensed to perform state inpsection must follow the rules. However, not every shop has to remove the inspection sticker; it depends on each shop to determine when to remove the inspection sticker that allows a certain amount of leeway. Yours could have been left on well past the void date and leave you running the risk of tickets for failing yearly inspection while the garage could have performed some initial diagnostics to inform you of what you can do and if you want to repair/replace parts yourself or bring the car back another time to allow the shop to perform the repairs, in part or whole. Since '96 when OBD II became the new standard, all vehicles produced since '96 only have to turn on the SES indicator to fail state inspection without ever looking anywhere for a problem. I know as I was plesantly surprised when my pre-'96 Sable wagon required the anal exhaust sniffer and front wheels turning the rollers to pass NYS inspection when all I had to do was drive my '03 L300 to a garage and with a simple plug-in of the cable to my car's data port (and no SES indicator on), I simpy passed emissions inspection!? The car's OBD II system simply reported to NYS that my car fulfilled the minimum requirements of emissions without the anal probe in the exhaust or running the car wheels (on a computerized course) on the rollers to monitor the emissions system. Pre-'96 and post '96 cars with vastly different on-board diagnostics. Simpler and easier now but with certain failsafes if someone were to attempt going around and defeating emissions or inadvertently finding out the hard way, as you did.

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Old 12-19-2008, 09:26 AM   #11
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Default Re: SERVICE ENGINE SOON light

Thanks for the detailed response on the "Service Engine Soon" light. Well I've been informed that the local Mechanic they found a couple of issues in the emission system. Two parts have to be replaced, I believe a couple of sensors, I"ll know more when I pick it up. I do know they had to order the parts, and it will cost about $250 w/Tax and a couple of days to repair. Then I still have to go out and drive, without an inspection sticker, at least 50 miles to have the Vue's computer check the system. Then return to have the system checked. Only then will the sticker be issued. So the saga continues. Meanwhile, I've been looking at Tahoes! Thanks for all of your responses!

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