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How to Reset Service Engine Soon Light on a Saturn SL2

by Francis Jang

Since so much of the Saturn is computerized, the Service Engine Soon (SES) light can mean any number of things, ranging from routine maintenance to a major mechanical issue. If you take your car to your local auto-parts store, an employee can plug in a device to read the SES code and tell you want service needs to be performed. The employee can also reset the light or you can do it yourself at home.


Open the hood of the Saturn and on the driver's side of the engine is the car battery. Loosen and remove the retaining nut that connects the black battery cable to the negative battery terminal and move it aside so it isn't touching any part of the car. The negative side of the battery is identified with a large minus sign, while the positive terminal is marked with a large plus side and has a red cap on it.


Turn on the radio and lights on the Saturn to drain all of the electricity that is stored in the car. The Saturn is designed to temporarily store electricity so the car's onboard computer system keeps working even when the battery is disconnected. The only way to completely discharge the stored electricity is to either let the car sit for up to 30 minutes or to run devices like the radio and lights.


Reattach the negative battery cable to the battery terminal and tighten the retaining nut. Close the Saturn's hood.


  • Until the Saturn's problem is fixed, the SES light will reappear after a period of time.
  • Your Saturn will be difficult to start and the idle will be rough after the battery has been disconnected. Once the computer relearns the required settings the car's regular performance will return.

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About the Author

Francis Jang has been writing since 1983 when he started working in journalism in San Francisco. Some of his news stories have appeared in The Associated Press and United Press International. Since 1996, Jang has worked in the computer industry. He has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from San Francisco State University and a Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix.

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