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Chevrolet Sonic: Malfunction Indicator Lamp - Warning Lights, Gauges, and Indicators - Instruments and Controls - Chevrolet Sonic Owners Manual

Chevrolet Sonic: Malfunction Indicator Lamp

Chevrolet Sonic Owners Manual

A computer system called OBD II (On-Board Diagnostics-Second Generation) monitors the operation of the vehicle to ensure emissions are at acceptable levels, helping to maintain a clean environment. The malfunction indicator lamp comes on when the vehicle is placed in ON/RUN, as a check to show it is working. If it does not, have the vehicle serviced by your dealer. See Ignition Positions  for more information.


If the malfunction indicator lamp comes on while the engine is running, this indicates that the OBD II system has detected a problem and diagnosis and service might be required.

Malfunctions often are indicated by the system before any problem is apparent. Being aware of the light can prevent more serious damage to the vehicle. This system also assists the service technician in correctly diagnosing any malfunction.

Caution

If the vehicle is continually driven with this light on, the emission controls might not work as well, the vehicle fuel economy might not be as good, and the engine might not run as smoothly. This could lead to costly repairs that might not be covered by the vehicle warranty.

Caution

Modifications made to the engine, transmission, exhaust, intake, or fuel system of the vehicle or the replacement of the original tires with other than those of the same Tire Performance Criteria (TPC) can affect the vehicle's emission controls and can cause this light to come on. Modifications to these systems could lead to costly repairs not covered by the vehicle warranty. This could also result in a failure to pass a required Emission Inspection/Maintenance test. See Accessories and Modifications.

This light comes on during a malfunction in one of two ways: Light Flashing: A misfire condition has been detected. A misfire increases vehicle emissions and could damage the emission control system on the vehicle. Diagnosis and service might be required.

To prevent more serious damage to the vehicle:

. Reduce vehicle speed.

. Avoid hard accelerations.

. Avoid steep uphill grades.

If the light continues to flash, find a safe place to stop and park the vehicle. Turn the vehicle off, wait at least 10 seconds, and restart the engine. If the light is still flashing, follow the previous steps and see your dealer for service as soon as possible.

Light On Steady: An emission control system malfunction has been detected on the vehicle. Diagnosis and service might be required.

The following may correct an emission control system malfunction:

  • Check that the fuel cap is fully installed. See Filling the Tank. The diagnostic system can determine if the fuel cap has been left off or improperly installed. A loose or missing fuel cap allows fuel to evaporate into the atmosphere. A few driving trips with the cap properly installed should turn the light off.
  • Check that good quality fuel is used. Poor fuel quality causes the engine not to run as efficiently as designed and may cause stalling after start-up, stalling when the vehicle is changed into gear, misfiring, hesitation on acceleration, or stumbling on acceleration. These conditions might go away once the engine is warmed up.

If one or more of these conditions occurs, change the fuel brand used. It may require at least one full tank of the proper fuel to turn the light off.

See Recommended Fuel.

If none of the above have made the light turn off, your dealer can check the vehicle. The dealer has the proper test equipment and diagnostic tools to fix any mechanical or electrical problems that might have developed.

Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Programs

Depending on where you live, your vehicle may be required to participate in an emission control system inspection and maintenance program. For the inspection, the emission system test equipment will likely connect to the vehicle's Data Link Connector (DLC).


The DLC is under the instrument panel to the left of the steering wheel. See your dealer if assistance is needed.

The vehicle may not pass inspection if:

  • The malfunction indicator lamp is on with the engine running, or if the light does not come on when the ignition is turned to ON/RUN while the engine is off. See your dealer for assistance in verifying proper operation of the malfunction indicator lamp.
  • The OBD II (On-Board Diagnostics) system determines that critical emission control systems have not been completely diagnosed. The vehicle would be considered not ready for inspection. This can happen if the 12-volt battery has recently been replaced or run down. The diagnostic system is designed to evaluate critical emission control systems during normal driving. This can take several days of routine driving. If this has been done and the vehicle still does not pass the inspection for lack of OBD II system readiness, your dealer can prepare the vehicle for inspection.
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