Is it Safe to Drive With the Oil Light On?

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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.

2. 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.

2. 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.


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Recent Oil Pressure Light is on Inspection reviews

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YourMechanic Oil Pressure Light is on Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.8/5

Number of Reviews

103

Rating Summary
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Jeffrey

25 years of experience
839 reviews
Jeffrey
25 years of experience
BMW 323i - Oil Pressure Light is on Inspection - Charlotte, North Carolina
Jeffery was great. His job was to diagnose a low oil pressure issue with my 2000 BMW 323i. Jeffery was thorough, researched the problem, kept me updated with his progress and answered any questions I had along the way. Unfortunately, the repair that I needed was a bit extensive and is not offered by My Mechanic. However, if it was a project the service offered, I would definitely want Jeffery to do the job.
Toyota Highlander - Oil Pressure Light is on - Charlotte, North Carolina
Jeffrey was able to determine the problem right away and, although he didn't have the replacement part on hand, was able to install the new part and perform the oil/filter change less than an hour after the diagnostic. As with our past experiences with Jeffrey, things went smoothly and my car is happy again!

Breck

18 years of experience
528 reviews
Breck
18 years of experience
Chevrolet Tahoe - Oil Pressure Light is on - Spring, Texas
This is my second appointment with Breck. He is very professional, taking time to answer my questions and explain the issues with my vehicle. I am very pleased and will use Breck/Your Mechanic again.
Oldsmobile 98 - Oil Pressure Light is on - Houston, Texas
The mobile mechanic came. I must say I am impressed! He found my house. He and I started talking. He said he owned two Ninety Eights previously. He was there to look at my Oldsmobile Ninety Eight. He had two Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Touring Sedans. The ones he owned were from the 1987-1990 era. He was describing the floor shifters and they had and how much he liked Ninety Eights, Touring Sedans, and the Oldsmobile Eighty Eight LSS too. He talked about how a family member owned one and how he was fixing his. He talked in detail about the Touring Sedan and the things he loved. He asked me how long had I owned my Ninety Eight. I told him 2003. He told me how he become a mechanic and went to school for it and more. He got into the Ninety Eight and it would not start. He got out and disconnected the battery and rubbed the negative and positive battery terminals together. He reconnected them and the Ninety Eight started! The instrumentation then told him exactly what it was. There is a sensor at the bottom of the oil pan. He said by doing what he did with the terminals, it cleared the computer and reset it. We went underneath the car and he showed me the sensor. He said which one did you replace? I told him. He said you were on the right path. You know what you are doing. You need to replace this sensor and not the one you did. You can get the sensor and replace it because it is clear you know what you are doing and on the right path. He said you also need to replace your valve cover gaskets. They are leaking. I told him I will request him to come back and do that. I am not doing that even thought I can.

Matt

13 years of experience
21 reviews
Matt
13 years of experience
Mazda MPV - Oil Pressure Light is on - Tempe, Arizona
Very happy with the service I received with Matt. He took the time to learn about my vehicle history and maintainence as well as explaining all my options regarding his diagnosis. Absolutely will recommend him and call him again regarding any car issues I may have down the road.

Andrian

30 years of experience
73 reviews
Andrian
30 years of experience
BMW 528i - Oil Pressure Light is on - Pompano Beach, Florida
Andrian was early for the appointment. Very knowledgeable and put my mind at ease immediately. We scheduled the repair together after his diagnosis and I look forward to working with him in the future

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