Oil is a critical part of your engine’s cooling and lubrication system. Your car’s engine has lots of moving parts and due to friction, these parts would get very hot if they were not lubricated and cooled well enough. Fortunately, the engine warning light is there to tell you if there is an issue with the oil in your car’s engine.
Why Is My Engine Oil Warning Light On?
The engine’s oil warning light comes on for a variety of reasons including a drop in engine oil pressure, a faulty engine pump (which pressurizes the engine’s oil system), or due to other oil-related reasons.
What Is the Engine Oil Light?
The engine oil warning light is one of the many lights on your car’s dashboard that give you an overview of how different parts of your car are functioning. This light is used to indicate several issues with the car’s oil system, which can range from low oil levels to a faulty oil pump. Because of how important oil is to the functioning of the engine, this warning light can indicate lots of different issues.
What Does It Mean When the Engine Oil Warning Light Is Flashing?
When the light is flashing, this indicates that oil is failing to lubricate the engine, causing overheating. Once the engine starts overheating, the oil can burn off, leading to increased friction between the engine parts, and further overheating. Such overheating can cause serious damage to the engine.
A flashing warning oil light means that you should not be driving the car. If it comes on when driving, you should stop the car and get in touch with a mechanic.
How Does the Engine Oil Warning Light Work?
The engine oil warning light is located in between, to the left, or to the right of your main instrument cluster on your dashboard. It looks like a genie’s lamp or oil can with one drop of oil coming off the nozzle. In some cars, the warning light is just the word “OIL”. In both of these cases, the light is often red. Your car has several sensors that tell it when something is wrong. If the issue pertains to your car’s oil, the main computer sends a signal to turn the engine oil warning light on.
What Are the Common Reasons the Engine Oil Warning Light Will Come On?
Failing Oil Pump
Your car’s oil pump pressurizes the oil system, keeping the oil pressure at optimum levels. When the pump starts malfunctioning, oil pressure drops, and the warning light comes off. The oil pump does not fail all at once but instead fails over time. In many cases, this presents as decreasing oil pressure levels instead of suddenly having no oil pressure. This is why the warning light can be on for some time without the car stalling due to low oil pressure.
Low Oil Levels
When an engine does not have enough oil, it can overheat, and a car is built to stop this. Instead of overheating, a car with low oil levels will show the engine oil warning light. To correct this, you need to check the oil levels in the car every 5000-10,000 kilometers and change your oil completely after about 3-4 months.
Faulty Oil Pressure Gauge
When you check the oil pump and oil levels and see that they are okay, the next thing to check is the oil pressure gauge. A faulty pressure gauge, faulty wiring, or even another wiring issue can cause inaccurate readings which are then translated as a fault and cause the warning light to come on. The only way to rectify this issue is to have a mechanic or technician check it out