Is it Safe to Drive With the Oil Light On?

The oil light may come on for several different reasons, including a low oil level or a faulty sensor. If the oil light illuminates while you’re driving, you should immediately pull over and turn off the vehicle. Your engine may stop and refuse to turn over if you have run out of oil. An accident could occur if the vehicle suddenly stops while you’re driving. It is not safe, and in fact very dangerous, to drive with the oil light on. For a return to safe driving, know why your oil light may be on and what to do when it comes on.

4 Reasons Your Car’s Oil Light is On:

1. Low Oil Pressure. This means the oil pump isn’t circulating enough oil, or the oil level is too low for the system to circulate. Oil keeps the surfaces of the pump and engine lubricated, so if the level and pressure are low, the car needs to be stopped and the engine turned off to await inspection. Driving with low oil can ruin the vehicle’s engine.

2. Old Oil Circuit. Over time, the oil circuit may begin to wear out. Small gaps between moving parts may begin to increase in size, which can cause a slight drop in oil pressure. An aging pump may also cause oil pressure to drop. If the pressure dips enough from these causes, it may turn on the oil light and the circuit would require servicing.

3. Regular Oil Change. Your car’s oil should be replaced at regular intervals according to the vehicle owner’s manual. If you don’t replenish your oil stores by the suggested times, the levels may dip low enough to ignite the oil light.

4. Faulty Oil Sensor. The oil light responds to a sensor that acts as a probe into the oil passage. A foreign particle may get into the probe and cause it to send false messages to the car’s computer. If your oil levels are fine and the light remains on, consider having the part replaced.

4 Steps to Take When the Oil Light Turns On:

1. Pull Off the Road. Should the light come on at speed, pull off to the side of the road in case the car stops unexpectedly from engine failure to avoid any collisions.

2. Turn Off Engine. Shut off the engine to prevent engine damage.

3. Check Oil Levels. Check oil level with the dipstick in the oil well — accessible under the hood of the car. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, then put it back inside. Take it out again to see if it’s dry or does not have very much oil on it. Should this be the case, do not drive any further and call a tow truck to move your car.

4. Contact a Mechanic. Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle to fix any problems with the oil system.

Is it Safe to Drive with the Oil Light On?

No. Driving with low oil pressure or low oil in the system can ruin the vehicle’s engine, completely breaking the motor. If you notice the oil light on while you are driving or while the car is running, you should stop driving and have this problem addressed as soon as possible.


Next Step

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Eduardo

19 years of experience
446 reviews
Eduardo
19 years of experience
Hummer H3 - Oil Pressure Light is on - Houston, Texas
Super as details were explained. All questions answered. On-time for the appointment. My comfort level is very high with him.

Rick

21 years of experience
44 reviews
Rick
21 years of experience
Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 - Oil Pressure Light is on - Stockton, California
This is a person that is on time very courteous does his job very well and knows the inns and outs of what it takes to be a good mechanic. I was very well pleased with his work and the timely manner it took him to fix the repairs I will look forward to him doing more repairs in the future. Thank you again Rick

Robert

21 years of experience
49 reviews
Robert
21 years of experience
Toyota Corolla - Oil Pressure Light is on - San Pablo, California
Robert was great, on time, and professional. He is our angel. We were so worried about how we would get our car fixed professionally during the pandemic. We have extra critical health concerns and Robert was not just a great mechanic but he was super kind. Thank you Robert!

Chris

22 years of experience
2001 reviews
Chris
22 years of experience
Kia Soul - Oil Pressure Light is on - Anaheim, California
Extremely professional and on time. Did a great job too! I would definitely recommend Chris to family and friends.

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