How to turn off service engine light on 2003 Chevy Venture.

By | September 16, 2010

I know this is a weird post to see under a site about web design but every once in a while I will post tales of my auto repair experiences. Especially if I could not find any good information on the subject online. Today we will discuss turning the “service engine soon” off in my 2003 Chevolet Venture.
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We own a 2003 Chevy Venture with just a hair under 100, 000 miles on it. We brought it around 4 weeks ago since it was a great deal and we needed a Minivan for us and our two kids. Everything was running fine on the van until about a week ago. That is when my wife informed me that the dreaded check engine light came on and stayed one. This was especially bad news since in Georgia we must pass an Emissions test and having the check engine light on is an automatic failure. :(

The first thing I did was take the van to Autozone. Autozone will check the codes on your cars computer to find out the reason behind it for free. However if you feel like paying you can visit your neighborhood mechanic for an engine diagnostic. :) Anyway Autozone will give you a print out detailing the possible causes. Unfortunately there could be many so for the home mechanic like me, this means I will have to check each issue in order of expense.

Since gas cap was listed as one of the issues, I decided to change my gas cap ($10) and then reset the light to see what happened. In order to reset the “service engine soon” light in the Venture, the negative battery cable must be removed for a couple of minutes. Unfortunately in the Venture, the engine compartment is rather tight, so you must remove a few things just to get to the battery.

Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Find a basic tool set

    Tool set I carry around in the car with me usually

    Tool set I carry around in the car with me usually

  2. Open the hood

    View of the 2003 CHevy Venture with hood opened

    View of the 2003 CHevy Venture with hood opened

  3. Remove the top engine cover located just under the windshield on the passenger side.

    Top cover near passenger side window covering battery

    Top cover near passenger side window covering battery

  4. Remove the bolts holding the long bar located over the battery to the body frame. Be careful, do not remove the fuse box from the bar or disconnect any of the wires.

    Removing of the bar holding the fuse box involves removing 3 bolts

    Removing of the bar holding the fuse box involves removing 3 bolts

  5. Position the bar and fuse box below the battery to allow easier access to the negative battery terminal.

    Negative battery terminal of the Venture is in a tight spot

    Negative battery terminal of the Venture is in a tight spot

  6. Remove the negative battery terminal from the battery and sit to the side .

    Here is how everything looks disassembled

    Here is how everything looks disassembled

  7. Wait 2-5 mins.
  8. Reconnect the negative terminal to the battery.
  9. After positioning the bar and box away from any moving parts, start the van to make sure that the “Service Engine Soon” light is no longer illuminated. (You don’t want to put it all back and then find out the light is still on)
  10. Once confirmed, replace the bar and top engine cover in reverse order of removal.

Following the steps above I was able to clear the check engine light and take the van to get Emissions tested. ( Hooray!) Unfortunately, I failed the exam because you have to drive your car for at least 150 miles after disconnecting the battery from the computer in order for the emissions test to be performed in Georgia. (Boo!…*sigh*)

Hopefully this helps. I will put out an update once I pass emissions. :)

Update (09/06/09): Well this turned out to be a real issue after all. I wound up paying Firestone around $200 to clean the EGR valve since this engine is so compacted. Then I had to drive 100 miles before the emissions test since the test checks to see if the battery had been disconnected or discharged in the last 100 miles. (Automatic failure) I did pass though (woo hoo!!). However I don’t like the compactness of this engine so I wouldn’t recommend this model to anyone who is a do it yourselfer like me.

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3 thoughts on “How to turn off service engine light on 2003 Chevy Venture.

  1. Collin

    Great post and the supporting images were really helpful. I had the same problem in my Chevy Venture and I just ended up taking it to a Chevy Service Center just to be sure it wasn’t anything too serious.

  2. Joe Sumpter Post author

    Well its always a good move to get it checked out. I think Advance Auto Parts will check your engine light for free and tell you what it is as well. Thanks for the feedback!