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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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Old 01-19-2009, 10:58 AM
AlpineWhite530i AlpineWhite530i is offline
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Location: Santa Clara
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 90
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
"Service Engine Soon" same as "Check Engine Light (CEL)"

I recently had 3 things happen at the same time.

1) My "Service Engine Soon" light came on
2) I'm at about 97k miles
3) The cluster display warned me to "Check Coolant Level"

My questions are:

1) Is the SES light the same as a CEL or is it just a reminder that I need 100k service soon?
2) I've had the "Check Coolant Level" warning come on before and had the coolant topped off and the radiator checked for leaks. Nothing found previously, but does the SES light mean that this time it's a real leak/problem?

I'll take the car in to get the codes read, so I'll know more, but I had to drive it to work this morning and I'm hoping the SES light is more of a reminder than a dire warning.

I never thought the upgrade from rice would be so tasty
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:06 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Location: N.W. Indiana
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,873
Mein Auto: 2002 540i sport
Yes, Service engine soon and Check engine light are used interchangeably.
Either way you refer to it, you have set a code. The "check coolant" is a message on the MID (multi-information display)

Last edited by 540iman; 01-19-2009 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:12 PM
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dannyc9997 dannyc9997 is offline
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Mein Auto: 540i
I doubt the SES has something to do with your cooling system, unless your thermostat has jammed open or closed. I think thermostat error is the only possible trouble code from the cooling system....but you never know untill the codes are read. For the most part the SES light is just that. Service the engine soon, its usually not anything major, a sensor or something.
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:29 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Location: Calgary
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4,703
Mein Auto: 2003 530iA
My 2 cents:
We have a thermostat that goes bad (stuck in open position). Mine was bad at about 60k miles. It threw an intermittent SES, but was easily identified with the SPECIFIC BMW code reader.
But I am just guessing, associating what I know with the check coolant level message you got (and the coolant level being OK).
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