If you’re a Jeep Cherokee owner, you may be curious about the flashing light that reads “Service Shifter” on your dashboard. This is a warning sign that your Jeep needs maintenance, which may be somewhat stressful.
At the minimum, it can confuse you if you can’t figure out how to make the light disappear. Here you’ll learn what the service shifter light means, why yours is turned on, and how to turn it off.
Why Does “Service Shifter” Appear?
What does “Service Shifter” mean on a Jeep Cherokee? When this light comes on, it usually means it’s time to take your Jeep in for an inspection. The issue could originate in the fuse box, the wiring somewhere between the fuse and the shifter, or the shifter itself. You can diagnose this issue yourself, but you must first know what you’re looking at.
The possible causes of the service shifter light coming on include:
1. Faulty or Bad Shifter Bezel
A Jeep Cherokee service shifter light might trigger because of a faulty shifter bezel. This plastic ring around the shifter knob can stretch, crack, or even tear with repeated use. When the shifter bezel becomes damaged in this way, it triggers a code that turns the service shifter light of your Jeep on.
2. Malfunctioning Fuse
A malfunctioning fuse is another potential source of the service shifter light issue. The warning light may turn on if a fuse pops, blows, or shorts out in any way. The relay between the fuse and gear shifter may also be the culprit.
3. The Shifter Itself Has a Problem
A worn-out shifter would almost always cause the service shifter light to turn on. This calls for the replacement of the shifter; however, there have been reports of the shifter warning light turning on every so often, with the warning being false.
4. Faulty Sensors
Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with your Jeep, and it’s just the sensors that trigger the service shifter light for no reason. Sometimes sensors and warning lights malfunction behind the instrument display, leading to unnecessary warning lights.
How Is the Service Shifter Warning Light Fixed?
The best action is to take your Jeep Cherokee to the local Jeep dealership or repair shop for probe service. A professional mechanic will do a much more thorough inspection and can locate the issue with a diagnostic scanner. The issue may still be under warranty if you have a newer model, so it may cost you nothing out of pocket—in which case you’d want to contact the dealership. Potential fixes include:
- Bezel Replacement. This would usually be a quick, cosmetic fix.
- Restarting the Computer. Sometimes the computer in your Jeep just needs to be reset. Jeep Cherokees can easily be reset using a diagnostic scanner, and this may eliminate the problem.
- Fuse Replacement. A simple fuse replacement may solve the problem—this only takes a few minutes and a new fuse.
- Faulty Wiring Replacement. These jobs turn into adventures most of the time. Wiring replacement jobs can end up with a hefty total and a lot of service hours, depending on what the mechanic finds when they start digging into the problem.
Is It Safe to Drive With the Service Shifter Light On?
In most cases, seeing this light appearing on your instrument module doesn’t call for immediate concern. If your vehicle is still covered under a powertrain warranty, you also don’t have to worry about labor costs.
Whether or not there’s warranty coverage, it’s usually not a “tow truck stuck on the side of the road” type of situation. That said, there are a few instances where it could signify a problem far more severe.
Recall advisories were sent out for 2014-2015 Cherokee models because of potentially damaging situations regarding the transmission. If you own a Jeep made within this timeframe, it’s probably best to go ahead and schedule service as soon as possible to avoid a more complicated issue.
What Happens if You Don’t Service the Shifter?
Failure to address the problem could lead to a headache sometime in the future. Your gearbox could suffer at the hands of a faulty shifter, which could make the repair bill much larger than it would have originally been if you had fixed the problem from the start.
How Do You Prevent the Shifter Warning Light from Appearing?
While there’s never a guarantee regarding your Jeep’s service shifter light, some measures can help reduce the chances of dealing with this issue.
Be gentle with your shifter, and avoid jamming gears or shifting too hard. Adhere to your vehicle’s routine maintenance and inspect the fuses and wiring, and you should keep this problem at bay.
Listen to Your Vehicle
When your vehicle sends you signals such as lights on the instrument display, you should never just shrug it off. Likely, it’s just a glitch or something minor, but it could be something serious in some cases. It’s best to stop the issue in its tracks than deal with a major repair bill later.