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Just to be clear, your maintenance light has illuminated and not the check engine light (CEL) . a CEL indicates that the car has detected a problem of some kind and depending on the severity of the fault it may be harmful to continue driving.
If it is the maintence light then that is easy. It is automatically set to come on at predetermined mileage marks to remind you to have the car serviced.
The maintenance required light is a reminder to bring the car in for scheduled maintenance (every 10,000 miles). The light will flash after start up for 10 seconds once you are 2000 miles from the car's scheduled maintenance. Once you pass the scheduled maintencance mark (every 10,000 miles) without having the maintenanced performed and/or the light reset by the dealer, it will remain on forever unless reset. To reset it yourself Hold down the trip meter button, turn the car to on, wait about 20 seconds, start the car, and let go of the button. Light is reset until the next mileage interval.
*make sure lo beam headlights are turned OFF during the procedure*
If the dealer/mechanic did the service early the light will come on when service is DUE. Go back to him and have it turned off. Search the web someone may have the procedure posted. Usually simple. Google "Toyota service light reset" or "Toyota Maintence light reset" Try this one
With the car started (ignition on), set the LCD odometer readout to total mileage (not trip A or B).
Turn the car off (ignition key to the OFF position).
Push in AND HOLD the button/knob that switches the odometer
Turn key to ON position without starting the car. You will notice the maintenance light blink and go out.
Release the odometer button/knob.
Turn key to OFF position.
That's it! The "MAINT REQD" light has been reset to warn you to change your oil in another 5,000 or 7,500 miles or so.
Turn off the engine. Press and hold the Select/Reset button on the instrument panel, then turn the ignition switch ON (II)(do not start engine). Hold the button until the indicator resets (approximately ten seconds). Hope this helps you.
first buy a maintence manual chiltons or haynes , the with a computer car checker check the trouble codes the maintaince manual will have the codes listed and can show you how to read them and what to tell the dealer if it requires a repair facility.
this problem is not unusual ,without seeing the car as i have no product knowledge with american built cars as such,but if it has one coil and not a coil pack then its the ignition module ,these often go just as you describe .Stop car to pop in shop and then no go,this is not the dealers fault they just pack up ,ask dealer nicely and no doubt they will send someone around to put a new one in for you .