car with spanner light

Car With A Spanner Dashboard Light Explained

Dashboard lights coming on is something we never want to see as a driver. But is this iconic ‘car with spanner’ light actually fatal?
The dashboard is our little cockpit for the open road, so when a light does come up, it’s important to find out why, and fast.
The car with a spanner, A.K.A car with a wrench dashboard light is a strange one, the yellow or orange spanner can be a scary symbol to some, especially new drivers.
We will be covering throughout this article if you DO need to worry about this light coming on, how to reset it and much more.

What We Will Cover:

Car with spanner light on dashboard

What Does A Car With Spanner Light On My Dashboard Mean?

This symbol differs vehicle to vehicle, but simply put, the ‘car with spanner’ light is showing you that your car is due in for a service.
All car manufacturers intend on reminding their drivers when their vehicle is due to be checked over. This is with safety in mind, and is measured by how many miles you drive your car. Engines are hard working machines and need to be checked regularly, so when you see this service light appear on your dashboard, it’s your car reminding you to look after it!
You shouldn’t worry about this light if:
– The car is serviced by yourself
– You know that the light has come on in error 

Should I Keep Driving With The Service Light On?

Experienced mechanics and engineers will agree that a car service light is more of a guide, than it is an important alert. In these modern times, it’s expected of a relatively new car to have stages of a service light. This is to show how close the engine is to being of risk due to a lack of service.

So should you keep driving? Ideally, no. However if the service light has just come on. then it’s an acceptable grey area to keep driving until servicing your car is ideal for you, the driver.
Remember that this light is a reminder to have your car serviced and checked, not that the engine is about to blow up.

What Causes This Light To Appear?

The majority of vehicles use miles to calculate when it’s next due in for a service. So the most probable reason for your service dashboard light to illuminate is that the car has just realised you have travelled ‘x’ miles since it’s last service, when it was previously reset.
Every mechanical invention needs a servicing every once in a while to keep it efficient and in working order. Therefore it’s understandable why 

As the years roll  on, parts of your vehicle start to deteriorate and break down. The service light of your vehicle acts as a nice balance for you to not overspend with too regular of services, but not to delay too long and your engine to have risk of breaking. 

The service light serves to the faults or conditions in the chassis network, places like the brakes, traction control, suspension, ABS (anti-lock brake system), differentials and more. It’s also a large indicator for an oil filter, and the oil itself being changed(Commonly accompanied with air filter change).

Important note: Every car differs, if you see this symbol, or one similar accompanied with a sudden change in drivability, steering or power you should pull over immediately to avoid damage to your vehicle.

What To Do When You See The Service Light Appear

Remember:  This dashboard symbol is a gentle reminder to service your car soon. Try to avoid panic or stress as it is not necessary for a situation like this.

How Do I Reset The Service/Spanner Dashboard Light

Although it is not advised, it is possible to reset this light if it is becoming a nuisance to you.
Firstly, you are going to need a OBD port reader, or a friend who has one. 
Next, plug this reader into your OBD port, and follow the instructions until you have found the fault. Click clear/reset.
Alternatively, the correct method of solving this service light is to go to a garage, have a service performed and let the trained mechanic reset this light for you.


With all of this in mind, hopefully you are a little bit more confident with a ‘car and spanner’ light appearing on your dash. It really isn’t something to worry about, and that’s coming from a car lover and enthusiast. 
It’s important to note, though, that a regularly serviced vehicle will have much more longevity when compared to its less looked after example. So if you aim on keeping your car plodding along the roads, get it serviced, simple!
Just remember, your car drives you thousands of miles. The least you can do in return is give it the service it deserves to keep it smiling on the roads.

Don’t forget to check out our other articles, or go back to our homepage to see more about Dan Carrs Cars.

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