Maintenance required light: An overview

What is maintenance required light?        

A maintenance required light indicates that your engine oil viscosity is low. When the engine oil viscosity is low, it implies that the lubricant is due for a change. Changing the oil will improve fuel economy and make your car smooth.

It also reduces component wear, saving a lot of money in the future. Some cars like Toyota will indicate maintenance required light while cars like ford will indicate that oil pressure is low. Go to your car dealer and have the engine oil drained out and replaced. You can also replace the oil yourself:

  • Switch off your vehicle's engine.
  • Open your bonnet after allowing the temperature to cool off to avoid injury.
  • Drain out the old engine oil.
  • Put the new oil.

Can I drive with the maintenance required light on?

 Maintenance Light on

Yes, you can. It is a notification that requires attention. You should drive your vehicle to your car dealer and have it fixed. A good engine oil when in a vehicle will be at 100%, but after using it will decelerate.

When the engine oil level gets to 20 or 15 %, the maintenance required light will come on. It is ideal that when your engine oil level gets to 20 or 15%, go to the nearest dealer and have your lubricant replaced.

What does it mean when the maintenance required light comes on?

Most vehicles come with an electronic computer system linked to the dashboard, which notifies drivers when something in the engine needs examination. When the maintenance required light comes on, it means your engine oil viscosity is becoming weak, and it is due for a replacement.

If the driver disregards a service light, such as maintenance required light, he is in danger of damaging the engine or, worse, getting stuck on the side of the road or causing an accident.

Is maintenance required light bad?      

Yes, it is a bad sign. It shows that something is not right in the vehicle, which is the engine oil viscosity. In this instance, it is not a very critical situation. It is a pre-information that your engine oil is due for replacement.

Is maintenance required light the same as a check engine?

check engine light vs maintenance required

No, they are different. However, both lights are warning lights, but they are unrelated.

Check engine shows that you are having a problem with the components of your engine. While maintenance required light shows that the oil viscosity or strength of the oil is low. The maintenance required light is prompted by traveling distance, and it has to do with routine car maintenance plans.

Maintenance required light signifies that your car oil needs to be chained. Though it does not indicate that something has gone wrong with the engine, you should not ignore it when it comes on. The check engine light is prompted by something faulty in the OBD II system. Check engine light can come on for several reasons, including:

  • Ignition coils and spark plugs are worn out and need replacement.
  • The catalytic converter is polluted and needs to be changed.
  • Inspecting for loose gap cap and tighten up or change if needed.
  • The evaporative emissions purge control valve needs to be changed.
  • There are bad oxygen or mass airflow sensors that you have to replace.
  • Evaporative emission purge solenoid requires change.
  • Fuel injectors are weak and need replacement.
  • To replace the thermostat
  • Overheated engine.

These are very crucial maintenances that are essential and should be performed. If the check engine light comes on, you will require a special code reader to ascertain the problem. Major Car dealers have special code readers you can free of charge, or you can bring your car to them and have it checked.

Recommended read:

How long can you go with your maintenance light on?      

When your maintenance required light comes on, it indicates that you have less than 20% life in your engine oil. The duration you can go with your maintenance light on depends on your mode of operation. Some persons can drive 10miles in a day. Others can drive 100 or 200miles in a day.

For instance, the maintenance required light can indicate you have 5000miles left. Some persons can drive 5000miles in a month, others in weeks. There is no specific duration on how long you can drive your vehicle with the maintenance required light.

How long can you go without an oil change?

When you have gotten information that your oil viscosity is low, We strongly advise that you stop driving that vehicle. It would be best if you change the engine oil as soon as possible. You do this to avoid excess friction. Without sufficient lubricant, friction will occur, and it might damage the engine.

An engine oil change can seem tedious and frequent, but they are essential to keeping your vehicle healthy. Too long without an oil change or skipping them all together can shorten the vehicle's life and cost a lot of money to effect repairs.

How do I turn off the flashing maintenance light?

We advise you to replace your engine oil before activating it. When you have changed your engine oil, you activate it through the trip guide. For Lexus, you use the ODO trip. Below is a step-by-step process on how to reset or turn off the maintenance required light.

How do you reset the maintenance required light? (Step-by-step)

 How to reset maintenance required light

When you take your vehicle to a car dealer, the mechanic can reset the maintenance required light after servicing. If it is not already in place, you can do it manually.After draining and changing the oil, you do the following;

  • Put on your ignition.
  • Check for ODO trip setting.
  • Then press okay.
  • You will see ODO. ODO is the total accumulated kilometer covered by a vehicle. Manufacturers strongly advise against resetting the Odometer.
  • Press Okay again.
  • You will also see trip A and trip B. You set your trip A and B to 0.
  • Under the ODO, press reset.
  • The ODO will reset the oil life to 100 percent. The quality of the oil will determine how long the vehicle can go. Some oil can serve a vehicle for 3000 miles, others 5000 miles. It varies with the level of engine oil used.
  • Reset and activate the maintenance required light.

The methods for resetting the maintenance required light are quite similar in different vehicles. See below for Toyota, Lexus, and Honda.


  • Don't step on the brake; turn on the engine.
  • Set the Odometer set to ODO mode.
  • Turn off the vehicle.
  • Press and hold the ODO display button while turning on the engine.
  • Keep pressing the button until the ODO screen, with five dashes, starts disappearing. Once the dashes are gone, the light should go off.
  • Release the button and put off the vehicle completely.
  • To check if the light is off, start the vehicle again.


  • Don't step on the brake; turn on the engine.
  • Set the Odometer set to ODO mode
  • Turn off the vehicle.
  • Press and hold the ODO display button while turning on the engine.
  • Keep pressing the button until the maintenance required light goes off. The light will go on and off for a few seconds before going off completely.
  • Release the button and put off the vehicle completely.
  • To check if the maintenance required light is off, start the vehicle again.


In Honda cars, maintenance required light takes on the name-Maintenance minder lights.

  • Don't step on the brake. Start the engine.
  • Press and hold the reset button until you see the oil life indicator.
  • Release the button and press it again; hold it for 10 seconds. The oil life indicator and maintenance minder light will blink.
  • Release the button one more time and hold for 5 seconds. The light will turn off, and the oil life will become 100 percent.
  • Let go of the button and put off the vehicle completely.
  • To check if the light is off, start the vehicle again.

Furthermore, we have an article on how to reset the oil change light on a Ford F-150. It would be best if you read it to avoid mistakes.

Why should you reset maintenance required light?

  • Maintenance required lights don't go out on their own, so it will be good to turn them off yourself to avoid distracting your dashboard.
  • When driving around the city, this light can get in the way and even make you think you have something wrong with your car. Hence, the reason you should rest them.
  • You should ensure to rest it because if someone in your family is using your car and doesn't know what this light means, they may be worried that the car is faulty.
  • Resetting the maintenance required light after changing the oil will restart the counter. The light will automatically alert you when it's time to change your oil, so you don't have to count miles manually.

Why is oil change important?

Your car needs oil to keep every component functioning well and to stop technical hitches. The oil in the car's engine lubricates all moving components and helps them to move properly. Vehicle oil also takes in by-products in the engine, decreasing friction and stopping vehicle overheating. If the oil level depletes or too old, the car will not perform these operations. Therefore, it is important to keep track of regular oil maintenance.

Things to note about the maintenance required light

  • The light automatically lights up as a warning sign every 5,000 miles, so you'll never forget to change your car's oil.
  • It is important to know that the car maintenance lights themselves do not mean the car is impaired.
  • You can use the vehicle safely while the maintenance required lights are on.

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