Service Vehicle Soon light - Chevy Malibu Forum: Chevrolet Malibu Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Service Vehicle Soon light

I saw a thread with a similar problem as mine, but I was told to start a new one.

A few months ago, my Service Vehicle Soon light came on. It would come on and stay on sometimes when I started the car, and sometimes it wouldn't go on at all. I asked a guy at Auto Zone, and he said it could be a number of things, such as oil or headlights. There was no noticeable problem.

Some time after that, not sure how long, I started having electrical problems when I started the car. The vents would shut off, as well as the radio, lights, and power windows. This wouldn't happen every time I started it, and it usually only lasted a few seconds.

Recently these problems have been happening more often. Everything would shut off for several minutes, and when the air came back on it would shut off again when I tried to open the windows. Yesterday I couldn't get the windows to open at all. I tried again today and they worked. Since the windows wouldn't open yesterday, I tried to put the air on. It didn't work. Every once in a while it would go on for a second and then go off. Eventually it stayed on, but if I tried to open the window it shut off again.

Today when I started it, the air and windows worked right away, and the Service Vehicle light didn't go on. The next time I started it the light came on, and the air and windows would randomly shut off, but only for a second. I'm not sure about the headlights because it was bright outside.

What could be causing this problem?

My check engine light is on, and I got it checked at Auto Zone. They said it was the evaporation emission system purge/vent solenoid. Could that be causing the problems?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 01:17 PM
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Re: Service Vehicle Soon light

Originally Posted by Jrad View Post
My check engine light is on, and I got it checked at Auto Zone. They said it was the evaporation emission system purge/vent solenoid. Could that be causing the problems?
No, not all of them, nowhere close.
What year model car is it ?
How many miles ?
I don't suppose it's stilll under warranty, is it ?

The first thing you need to do is be sure that your basic electrical system is working OK.......battery and alternator and main power cables are tight and not corroded. If the battery is more than 3 years old, you might want to consider replacing it.

THEN, if all that checks out, the intermittant and seemingly random nature of the problems would indicate a loose connection somewhere or a failing computer board, maybe the BCM.

With guidance from others here (it has been covered recently in another thread), you could find and re-seat the connections to the BCM. If that doesn't help any, I'm afraid that you NEED help from a dealer's service department.......and if it is still random and intermittant, they might be at a loss too. Pray that you get a "real" technician and not one who looks for codes and throws up his hands if there aren't any.

Last edited by MalibuKen; 08-17-2011 at 01:20 PM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Service Vehicle Soon light

It's a 2003, just over 100,000 miles. It's not under warranty. But when I bought it from the dealer, the radio wouldn't shut off, which killed the battery. It was an easy fix, a loose wire or something. But could that be related to the current problems?

How much would it be to fix it if it is the BCM?

Last edited by Jrad; 08-17-2011 at 01:23 PM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 06:04 PM
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Re: Service Vehicle Soon light

Maybe you didn't see this in the first thread you posted in so here it is again.

The Haynes manual won't give much information on the BCM as it's not user serviceable. Sure you can take it out and put a new one in but then, unless you have access to a factory scan tool, you won't be able to set it up and program it. Theft deterrent has to be relearned, the vehicle option content has to be set correctly. For that kind of stuff it's off to a dealer or properly equipped independent facility.

For anyone that reads this in the future, your DIY retailers, Pep Boys, AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, most likely have limited access to codes. If the check engine light is on, they should be able to give you a code, with BCM, ABS, HVAC and other systems, probably not. Codes are normally stored until either the battery is disconnected or a given number of ignition cycles occur, in GM's case, usually 40 key cycles. When going to an independent facility, make sure you ask if they're equipped to scan all the vehicles modules for codes. Most won't be able to do them all but the ones that made the investment to do so, will have most everything a dealer scan tool will have.

Again for those that read this thread in the future, the ignition switch on the '97 to '05 malibu, just gen 5 malibu now, had a good deal of issues with voltage dropping out and causing all sorts of issues. The BCM's were not nearly the trouble that the ignition switches were. That said, the BCM is the Power Mode Master and it's job is to wake up the modules at key on. The BCM can fail, and fail in numerous ways, and be intermittent as well. Just a little info so you get some sort of feel for what a service advisor MAY say to you. If you make a post in the future and have already had the vehicle to a service facility, any codes that were set should be in the text of your post to make diagnosis assistance easier.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 08:37 PM
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Re: Service Vehicle Soon light

There's a member on here (RalphP) who has had problems with his. He discusses it and how to easily check it.

He says the ignition switch (not the lock, the electrical part) tends to be flaky. Remove the radio for access, then reach in behind the ignition and see if wiggling it makes everything work.

Search for some of his posts, or wait 'til he comes by here, and you'll understand better the way he explains it.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 08:31 PM
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Re: Service Vehicle Soon light

I had a similar problem on my car. The ignition key wasn't returning to the "ON" position after starting. The car would start and the starter would disengage but not all the options would run - especially the power windows and A/C. It was very intermittent and some times I could go weeks without a problem; other times it would happen every time I started the car.

All I would do is manually return the key to the "ON" position. It was more like a jiggle it back to "ON" since there wasn't much travel of the key. After the jiggle everything ran fine until a restart. I did this for over two years until I donated the car to Our Lady of the Wayside.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Service Vehicle Soon light

I haven't had any problems and the light hasn't come on in a week. I noticed the key went to 'on' the other day, but I wasn't having the problem that day. I'll check next time it happens.
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