Xterra Service Engine Soon Light (Why And What to Do)

So the Xterra doesn’t have a “check engine light.” But instead has a “Service engine soon light”. It can indicate any major or minor problem with your engine.

So, what to do when the Xterra service engine soon light is glowing?

There might be several causes for your Nissan Xterra’s service engine soon light to glow. It might be because of a damaged gas cap. But it can indicate crucial problems too. Like a damaged oxygen sensor, mass airflow sensor, or a damaged catalytic converter. Faulty spark plug wires can also be a reason.

Is this what you’re looking for? Well then by the end of this article, you’ll know everything about this service soon light.

Why lose time now? Get started right away.

What does the Soon Light indicate?

The placement and color of the Check Engine light will differ depending on the vehicle. Most of the time, though, it’s a yellow engine-shaped dashboard warning light. The word “check” may or may not be included in the design. 

There are devices to check the problems on OBD-II systems. We can suggest some if you’re trying to find one.

You can check this once you know how the lights work. 

Flickering Light

When the indicator blinks, the problem is generally significant. Such as a severe engine misfire. This would enable unburned gasoline to leak into the exhaust system. 

Your catalytic converter may eventually overheat to the point of failure as a result of this. Slow down, locate a safe spot to stop, and get a mechanic to diagnose the problem.

Constant or Steady Light

On the other hand, constant light is not an emergency scenario. You can continue driving. But you should make an appointment with a technician very soon.

The following section is based on the reasons behind it.

5 Reasons Of Xterra Showing Service Engine Soon Light

A check engine light, often known as a service engine soon light, might arise for several causes. While it is most commonly caused by one of the following problems- 

Reason 1: Loose or Damaged Gas Cap

Your check engine light may appear as a result of a loose gas cap. Your gas cap helps maintain the pressure in your fuel tank.

This is accomplished by the gas cap functioning as a seal for your fuel system. A loose or cracked cap can lower your gas mileage and raise your car’s emissions.


When that annoying yellow light turns on, the first thing you should do is pull over. Then examine your gas cap. If it’s loose, a little tightening might cure your issue. If it’s broken, get a new one from your local car parts store.

Here are some good gas caps that you can find durable-

Continue driving after you’ve corrected the problem to see whether the check engine light goes away.

Reason 2: Damaged Oxygen Sensor

Unburned oxygen is detected in the exhaust by an oxygen sensor. This shows how efficient the engine is and what the best air-to-fuel ratio is. If a sensor is defective, it’ll not send the right data to the onboard computer. 

The majority of automobiles are equipped with two to four sensors. The OBD II code will alert the technician to which sensor is providing a value outside of its normal range.


When the precious metals within deteriorating, it can cause malfunctions. The capacity of the oxygen sensor to provide an accurate measurement is impaired.

You can’t wait too long to repair an oxygen sensor yourself unless it’s your expertise. Since it can ultimately ruin your catalytic converter.

Contacting a professional for a comprehensive diagnostic is the best line of action.

Reason 3: Failing Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter aids in the reduction of emissions from exhaust gases. Carbon monoxide and other hazardous gases are converted into less dangerous pollutants.

A faulty converter will reduce your gas mileage. And if it’s serious enough, your car will not accelerate.


If the situations are severe, your catalytic converter may need to be replaced. There are also ways of repairing catalytic converters without replacing them. 

Reason 4: Faulty Spark Plugs and Wires

The function of a spark plug is to seal the combustion chamber. And it creates a space for the spark to initiate the engine.

Newer automobiles can survive 100,000 miles on a set of plugs. While older cars, especially those made before 1996, need new plugs every 30,000 miles. 


There’s no way to prevent plug failure; it simply occurs over time. If you have an issue with your spark plugs, have them replaced as soon as possible. A mechanic can do the task quickly, and replacement plugs are often inexpensive.

However, if you need good spark plugs, here are our picks-

We hope this helps you. These are very good spark plugs and can last long.

Reason 5: Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor

The automobile will stall if a mass airflow sensor begins to malfunction. It’ll idle badly, emit more pollutants, and reduce your gas mileage.


It’s possible to drive for months with a faulty mass airflow sensor. However, this is not recommended. Your gas mileage will decrease, and your vehicle will begin to stall regularly.

It’s preferable to contact a professional to have the sensor evaluated and, if required, replaced.

That’s all the reasons that you need to know.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What happens if I have a broken catalytic converter?

Answer: A faulty catalytic converter will eventually cause your vehicle to stall. Before that, your gas mileage will be awful. Moreover, the car will not run smoothly, and the automobile will fail an emissions test.

Question: How do you turn off a Nissan Xterra’s check engine light?

Answer: Place the key in and turn it on (don’t start the engine). Step on the gas and swiftly let off of it after 10 seconds. Remove the ignition key from the ignition and place it in the off position. Allow 3 minutes for the ECU to reset itself.

Question: How to keep the airflow sensor in shape?

Answer:  For a defective mass airflow sensor, not checking the air filter is the root problem. Putting it incorrectly might occasionally be the issue for an engine problem. Inspect and replace your air filter at least once a year


We hope now you can identify why your Xterra service engine soon light is showing. The monitoring system may take several days to verify that the repair has resolved all issues. Keep that in mind.

Until then, best wishes!

Rob Dahm

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