Maintenance Tips: 6 Reasons Why You See Oil Change Lights in Car

Maintenance Tips 6 Reasons Why You See Oil Change Lights in Car

Do you know that little oil light on your dash that says “oil change”?

When you see the engine oil change light on your dashboard, it means low oil pressure, which can be due to various things. For example, a leak in the oil system, insufficient oil, or a problem with the oil pump.

Read on to learn more about possible reasons why you see oil change lights in cars.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Reasons Why Oil Pressure Light Comes On

An oil pressure light is one of the most important lights on your car’s dashboard. It indicates an issue with the vehicle’s oil pressure, which can lead to serious problems.

Here are six reasons why your oil pressure light might come on.

1. Low Engine Oil Level

The oil pressure light comes on due to the low engine oil level, which means the engine needs more oil to lubricate the moving parts. This can lead to serious damage. Hence, check your oil level regularly and top it off if necessary.

If you’re ever driving and your oil pressure light comes on, pull over immediately and check your oil level. If it’s low, add more until it reaches the full line on the dipstick. Then, be sure to get your car to a mechanic as soon as possible to have it checked out — there could be a more serious problem causing the low oil level.

Low Oil Pressure Symptoms and Causes - AMSOIL Blog
Image source: AMSOIL

2. Oil Leak

Oil leaks are one of the reasons behind a vehicle’s engine oil pressure light coming on. It is important to know where your oil is coming from and what is causing it to leak. Many different factors can contribute to an oil leak, such as:

  • A faulty oil filter
  • Worn-out gaskets or seals
  • A cracked engine block
  • Excessive wear on engine parts

If you notice any oil leaking from your car, consult a mechanic.

3. Oil Pressure Sensor Malfunction

The oil pressure sensor monitors the engine’s oil level and sends a signal to the oil pressure light when the oil level gets too low. If the oil pressure sensor works properly, it prevents the oil pressure light from coming on even when there’s enough oil in the engine.

However, the oil pressure sensor can malfunction. In that case, you might see the oil pressure light turned on even when you’ve just changed the engine oil. If that’s true for your vehicle, consult a mechanic right away.

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Oil Pressure Sensor | YourMechanic Advice
Image source: YourMechanic

4. Faulty Oil Pump

If you’re driving and the oil pressure light comes on, it can be due to a faulty oil pump. The pump circulates oil throughout the engine to lubricate and cool it. If the pump isn’t working properly, the engine can overheat and cause serious damage.

There are a few common signs of a failing oil pump. Take your car to a mechanic if you notice any of these:

  • Engine’s loud noise
  • Decreased oil pressure
  • Increased engine temperature
  • Smoke coming from under the hood

5. Choked Oil Filter

A clogged air filter can’t do its job properly, preventing the oil flow. This will lead to decreased oil pressure and the blinking of light. Check your oil filter regularly and replace it if it’s clogged.

5 Bad or Clogged Oil Filter Symptoms (You Shouldn't Ignore!)
Image source:

6. Oil Sending Unit Defect

As your car ages, different engine parts will inevitably wear out and fail. One such part is the oil-sending unit, which sends information about oil pressure to the dash gauge. If this unit fails, it can cause the oil pressure light to come on, alerting you about a potentially serious problem.

How to Reset Oil Change Light in Your Car?

Here’s how you can reset the oil change light.

1. Find the oil life sensor on the dashboard near the speedometer.

2. Press and hold the reset button for about 5 seconds.

3. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes.

4. Turn off the engine and check that the light is off.

5. If the light is still on, repeat steps 2-4 until it goes off.

Honda Fit Reset Oil Life Indicator Replacement - iFixit Repair Guide
Image source: iFixit

How to Prevent Oil Light From Coming On?

Your car’s oil light comes on during low engine oil levels. It is a warning about either changing or checking the oil. You can do a few things to prevent the oil light from coming on:

  • Check the oil level regularly: You should check the oil level in your car every time you gas up. It will help you to know when the oil needs to be changed.
  • Change the oil regularly: It’s important to change your car’s oil every 3,000 miles or every three months. It will clean the engine and prevent sludge buildup.
  • Use a higher quality oil: A higher quality oil will extend your engine’s life and prevent sludge buildup.

Final Thoughts: 6 Reasons Why You See Oil Change Lights in a Car

Change the engine oil timely. The oil lubricates and cools the engine, and over time it breaks down and becomes less effective. Unchanged oil can lead to engine damage, decreased fuel economy, and increased emissions.

For more engine-oil-related queries, explore our blog today.

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