What Is Maintenance Required Light? All You Need to Know 

Tim Miller

Are you on your normal commute, and suddenly, you notice the maintenance required light pop on your dashboard? 

And you’re wondering:

  • What does the light mean?
  • Can I drive with it?
  • How to turn it off?

There’s no need to worry. I’m here to answer all your questions.

In this article, I’ll explain all you need to know about the maintenance required light, including how to reset it. 

Read on to learn more.

What Does Maintenance Required Light Mean? 

The maintenance required light can appear on your car’s dashboard as “MAINT REQD.” It is found in some vehicles and notifies the driver that it’s time for routine maintenance such as oil change, tire rotation, filter replacement, and other services specified by the manufacturer. 

Maintenance Required Light
The maintenance required light serves as a reminder for drivers to perform routine maintenance.

Each time you start your vehicle, the light appears for approximately six seconds to test the bulb, then disappears. You should always be on the lookout for this. 

After 4,500 miles, the maintenance light begins to flash. It alerts the driver that the vehicle is approaching the 5,000-mile service interval and needs regular maintenance.

The maintenance light will remain on when your car reaches 5,000 miles. This is a final reminder that your car needs service. 

But, depending on the make or model of your car, the maintenance required light may come on at different mileage levels.

For instance, in some older Toyota models, it’ll illuminate after several thousand miles, typically around 5,000 to 7,500 miles. While in others, like Lexus, it might show up every 60,000 miles.

Can I Drive with Maintenance Required Light On? 

Yes. Driving with the maintenance light on is possible, but it isn’t advisable. 

This is because assuming the maintenance light can lead to more serious issues, such as reduced engine performance, decreased fuel efficiency, and damage to other vehicle parts. 

However, visit a mechanic immediately if other warning signs and symptoms like vibrations, unusual sounds, and decreased engine performance accompany the maintenance required light. This might mean more severe problems.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule when the required light comes on.
Credit: flickr.com

I recently got a call from my long-term customer – his car had broken entirely down some miles from my garage. 

I asked if he had experienced any issues or if it had happened without him knowing. My client told me he only noticed the maintenance required symbol on the dashboard about two months ago. 

I arranged to have him towed to my garage. I started working on the car immediately after it arrived, and it turned out that the radiator had completely broken down. 

Changing the radiator and some engine parts affected by overheating was quite costly. Something that could have been avoided if he had brought the car to me when the light appeared. 

Overall, address the maintenance light as soon as possible. This will ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and helps avoid any breakdowns in the long run. 

How to Reset the Maintenance Required Light  

You should reset the maintenance required light after performing the recommended service to avoid further complications. 

The resetting procedure for maintenance required light isn’t complicated and works for most vehicles. Learning how to reset your maintenance light is good for avoiding unnecessary trips to the auto shop. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it: 

How to Reset the Maintenance Required Light  

Step 1: Turn the vehicle on 

Switch the key to the “On” position. The odometer should show the miles.  

Step 2: Turn the vehicle off and press the “Reset” button

Turn the key back off, then hold the “Reset” button to reset the light. You’ll need to hold the button for some time. 

Keep pressing the button and gently turn the key to the “On” position.

Step 3: Keep pressing the “Reset” button 

Ensure the button is still pressed when you observe the odometer.

The odometer will start showing a series of dashes. After some time, it’ll show a series of zeros. Just continue pressing the “Reset” button until the odometer readings are normal. 

Step 4: Release the “Reset” button 

Once the odometer readings on the screen are back to normal, release the button and turn on your car. At this point, the maintenance required light shouldn’t be on the dashboard. 

If the maintenance light still appears, repeat the procedure until it goes away. 

Watch this video to learn how to do it.

Why Should You Reset the Maintenance Light? 

A vehicle’s maintenance light doesn’t turn off on its own. Therefore, this forces you to reset it to reduce distraction in your dashboard. As you drive, the light can become annoying over time and might make you or people who use your car think it has a serious issue. 

Moreover, resetting the light after changing the oil takes the counter back to normal, which is zero (Here are eight simple steps to change your car oil in case you want to handle it on your own). You’ll be able to drive until you hit the recommended mileage interval. At that point, the maintenance light will illuminate again as a reminder that it’s time to change the oil and perform regular maintenance.

Overall, resetting the maintenance required light saves you the hassle of counting the miles manually.

What’s Next?

The maintenance required light isn’t something that should worry you a lot. You can easily reset it using the above steps. 

But if those steps don’t work for your vehicle, you might have to visit a service center and get help from a professional. 

What is your total mileage? Have you ever performed routine maintenance when the maintenance required light was on?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Share this article

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Information sourced from the owner's manual.