Nissan Maxima: Service Engine Soon Light → Diagnosis

Your Nissan Maxima’s service engine soon light is there to let you know that some sort of problem has been detected with the vehicle. Any vehicles made in 1996 or newer use OBDII codes, which can easily be retrieved from a good code scanner. A flashing service engine soon light is telling you that something needs immediate attention.

If your service engine soon light is on, you’ll need to pull these trouble codes to see what is wrong with your Maxima. The trouble codes don’t even necessarily mean that there is an engine problem. There could be a problem with the transmission, ABS, oxygen sensors, etc…

Service Engine Soon Light Nissan Maxima

Getting Your Maxima’s Service Engine Soon Codes

In order to pull these codes from your Maxima, you’re going to need a diagnostic scanner. You can pick one up pretty inexpensively. Or, you can head to the local auto parts store. Most of them will be happy to hook a code scanner up and tell you why the service engine soon light is on, and provide you with the code number.

Once you have this information, then you can look into what is involved in fixing it. This site has an article for most of the popular trouble codes, such as P0300, P0171, P0420, etc. There are plenty of great articles and videos out there online to help you make repair decisions once you actually have the code.

You’ll see what typically causes the particular code to pop up, and what it would take to fix it. At that point you can determine whether or not it is in your realm of mechanical expertise to attempt the repair, or if you’ll need to throw in the towel and take it into a shop. Without these codes, you are truly in the dark.

Nissan Maxima Service Engine Soon Light Diagnosis

How to Turn Off Your Maxima’s Service Engine Soon Light

The only way that you are going to be able to turn off the service engine soon light is to return your Nissan Maxima to normal working order. There are no shortcuts. But, it may be worth taking a look at the gas cap. If it wasn’t screwed in tight, or seems to have a bad seal, tightening it and driving for a while may turn off the check engine light.

Can You Drive Your Maxima with the Check Engine Light On?

It is ok to drive with the check engine light on. Although, you should still have your Maxima repaired as soon as possible. It is NOT OK to drive it when the service engine soon light is flashing. A flashing light is letting you know that something is so wrong that continued vehicle operation can lead to permanent damage.

Make sure to check the oil, brake fluid, and transmission fluid levels. Low oil can cause some trouble codes to flash related to VVT. You don’t want the engine to lock up. If you find that one of these fluids is super low, fill them up and take it into a shop and have the issue addressed right away.


Your Maxima’s service engine soon light should not keep you from driving, but it also shouldn’t be ignored (unless flashing). Get those OBDII codes as soon as possible so you know what you are dealing with, and can make a decision on how to repair it. If there is anything that you would like to add, please feel free to leave a comment below. Good luck!