What indicator lights are on when starting

Amy Bradley

Asked by Oct 26, 2014 at 10:28 PM about the 1998 Nissan Maxima SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My son is considering buying a 1998 maxima tomorrow. When starting the car, there is
no check engine light when all the other indicator lights briefly light. Isn't the engine light
supposed to come on for a second when starting the car? I'm concerned that the
previous owners may have disabled it.

4 Answers


It absolutely should. You shouldn't buy the car until the light comes on with the key in the first position . It should go off when the car is started. It's not hard to disable by simply loosening the gauge cluster and removing the bulb. The owner may be hiding an expensive problem, and the car will not pass an inspection in states that require one with the CEL inoperative. It's good that you caught it.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Yes, good catch!! This is an OBD II vehicle. The light must come on as described above!! You can still scan the computer with the light disconnected and find out what's going on. Most auto parts stores will do it for free. If the seller won't allow you to do this, move on. They're hiding something!! Most likely an expensive repair!! HTH. -Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Amy Bradley

Thanks! I wouldn't let him buy it last night cuz i just didn't feel comfortable not seeing the CEL, even though everything else looked, sounded, drove fantastic. I had him call his dad to see if he can take him to look at it again this afternoon. One of his dad's friends has a scan tool so he'll bring that with him & check it out. If it passes the dad inspection & something big goes wrong in the future, at least I will feel more comfortable having someone else to blame for possibly missing it up front. :)


You're welcome. Glad to help. Sounds like a good plan. Your Son is lucky to have knowledgeable parents!! -Jim

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