Honda “maintenance required” light: What does it say?

Depending on your driving habits and the climate in which you drive your Honda, the “maintenance required” light will often set itself off after 6,000 miles. That is more so the case if you are combining highway driving and city cruising.

If you ask, “Is it safe to drive when the maintenance required light is on?”, the answer is yes. However, having your vehicle checked and serviced as soon as the light is on is necessary to prevent possible problems.

Therefore, we will look at the purpose of the “maintenance required” light and how to reset it.

Maintenance Required Indicator

What Is It?

The “maintenance required” indicator light in Honda vehicles is meant to remind you to change your engine oil. This light gets triggered by the number of miles you have driven since the light was the last reset. The light is rarely a cause for concern since it might show up if you or your mechanic forgot to reset it after the last maintenance.

Honda maintenance required light
The “maintenance required” light shows up on Honda vehicles when the cars reach 6,000 miles. The indicator lets the owners know that their vehicles need to be checked and serviced to maintain their good condition.

For most drivers, the “maintenance required” light will get illuminated after 6,000 miles, especially when the drives involve highway driving and city cruising. However, it can take up to 7,500 miles to turn on. This depends on your driving habits, engine operation, and other environmental conditions. 

An illuminated “maintenance required” indicator light shows you the need for not only an oil change but also for the entire vehicle’s maintenance. The reason is to help improve your vehicle’s lifespan, your resale value, your car’s reliability and ensure you keep getting warranty coverage.

The light will first come on as a warning by flashing for a few seconds. This will happen a few miles before the recommended threshold in your user’s manual. When the threshold mileage is reached, the light will turn on and remain an indicator that you need to service your vehicle.

Professional mechanics and car manufacturers recommend you take the vehicle for servicing immediately once the light becomes permanent. With this in mind, the manufacturers will often cover “maintenance required” light servicing for the first 25,000 miles. The total miles will vary depending on the model and place of repair.

Most car owners and mechanics change the engine oil regularly, sometimes as early as 3,000 miles. An early maintenance schedule is prudent but can be wasteful if it is not necessary. The indication light means to protect not only your vehicle’s life span but also the environment. By following its recommendation, you can avoid wasting oil resources, disposing of functional oil filters, and can save a few bucks on unnecessary services.

Honda Maintenance Minder System

The maintenance required indicator is a part of the Honda maintenance minder system. 

The maintenance minder system is a replacement alternative to having a recommended maintenance mileage schedule. It is a computerized system that shows your engine oil information to let you know when you need to do an oil change and perform regular car maintenance.

The information is displayed in terms of percentages and starts from 100%, reducing to 0%. 100% indicates the engine oil is new, while 0% shows the oil has outlived its lifespan and needs a replacement. The percentage figures are determined through the operation of the onboard computer system in your Honda.

maintenance required light shows 50% of oil life
The oil life percentage is presented on the dashboard, determining when you need an oil change and regular car maintenance. 100% indicates the oil is new while 0% warns you about a replacement.

The system regularly checks engine speeds, temperature, and general vehicle usage to determine when you need oil changes and maintenance. This information is then conveyed to the maintenance minder system, which you can operate to see your oil use percentage.

The maintenance required light will get illuminated once you reach 15% of the oil’s lifespan. This will, in turn, come with some codes that will outline what you need to do in terms of maintenance. Honda recommends you take your vehicle to the local Honda Dealer for service soon when it reaches 15%. At 5%, you must service it immediately whereas 0% means that the service is past due and your drivability might be affected.

How Long Can I Drive With The Maintenance Light On?

The light will normally persist after 6,000 miles (15% of oil left), and your vehicle may be able to drive usually for another 1,500 – 2,000 miles.

oil life 15%, service needed
The maintenance required light will come on when there is only 15% of oil life left, which reminds drivers of regular maintenance.

How To Reset The Maintenance Required Light?

When the maintenance required light shows up, it is possible for you to reset it on your own. Your vehicle comes with the user manual that always has instructions on performing most resets such as these. However, it can be challenging to follow since some manuals are ambiguous and technical for most car owners. Hence, we have simplified the steps below:

  • Step 1 – Put the key into the ignition without turning it on.
  • Step 2 – Press and hold the reset button/ trip button found on the gauge cluster.
  • Step 3 – Keep holding the reset button while you turn on the ignition to position II without starting the vehicle.
  • Step 4 – Hold the reset button for approximately 10 more seconds until the “maintenance required” light resets and goes off.
how to reset the maintenance required light
The maintenance required light can be reset by reading the manuals. Since some manuals are too difficult to understand, we have much simpler steps for you to follow.
Follow the video for a more practical view of resetting the maintenance required light on your own.

Why Is My Maintenance Required Light Still On After The Oil Change?

The light will stay on after an oil change if you or the mechanic forgets to reset it. Resetting the system lets the onboard computer detect any faults in your vehicle to see which problems still exist. The computer will turn off the light through the reset once it notices the maintenance is done.

Note that the indicator shows you the condition of your engine oil. That means you will have to take your vehicle to an experienced mechanic to have your engine oil levels and conditions checked. The specific services that will be done on the car include oil filter change, engine oil change, tire rotation, and some inspection of all fluids.


Engine oils start losing their effectiveness if they are not changed at the required intervals. The effects of late oil changes include poor engine performance, reduced mileage, and a shorter lifespan for your car. The maintenance required light helps reduce these effects by considering your vehicle’s habits to give you the best timeline for oil changes and maintenance.


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