Why is My Oil Warning Light On?
What Oil Warning Lights Can Tell You
If your car has an oil-related issue, at least one warning light will come on. Some cars have a low oil pressure warning light and a low oil level warning light, whereas others have one combined warning light. Be sure to confirm with your car’s owner manual which one it is, so you know what to look for. Regardless, if one or both of these lights come on, that can signify some pretty major problems, but don’t panic!
First, you must understand the purpose oil serves for your car. In the most basic sense, your car’s engine is a set of metallic parts constantly moving while the car is running. To keep those parts running smoothly, they need to be lubricated by a constant shower of oil. Your engine has an oil pump, which circulates pressurized oil into parts of your engine. Not only does the pressurized oil lubricate these pieces, but it also helps your engine stay at the optimal temperature by cooling it down. As you can see, oil is essential to keeping your engine running.
Now that you understand more about what oil is and what it does, we can talk about what the oil warning lights can indicate.
- Low oil level warning light
- Low oil pressure warning light
- What to do
Depending on your car, this may appear as a dashboard light or a message in your driver information center. Your engine doesn’t just require adequate oil pressure. It also needs sufficient oil to run. There’s a float in your car’s oil pan, and if the oil level gets too low, an electrical switch inside that float will cause your car’s low oil indicator to come on.
The symbol that lights up usually looks like an old oil can with a drop of oil dripping. Your engine’s oil passages have a sensor to keep track of the oil pressure. If it’s too low, this light will come on. As we mentioned, your car’s engine requires pressurized oil to run, so if the pressure is low, that can be an issue.
Your oil may get too low if you haven’t checked your oil levels in a while or if your engine is leaking. The second you notice the light come on, pull over and turn off your engine! Then, check your oil level and add some fresh oil if it’s low.
If you re-start the car and your light is still on after you do that, give us a call! Don’t try to drive the car – please have it towed to our shop instead. Our expert mechanics will be glad to get to the root of the problem and fix it.