The oil warning light is one of the most important warning lights in a car. In this article, I will tell you why the oil light turns on and what to do when the oil warning light on.
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What does the oil light on mean?
The red engine oil light is perhaps one of the most important lights in the entire car. This is important because, without proper lubrication, the engine can easily be damaged by the friction caused by the moving internal metal components.
It lights up when a pressure drop is detected in the engine lubrication system. Most likely there is a leak in the system or you forgot to refill the oil, which over time drops below the minimum safety level.
What is engine oil used for?
Engine oil, along with petrol, is the most important fluid in your car, without which you will not be able to get very far. Seriously, oil plays an important role in lubricating and protecting the engine’s internal components. These components work with very high friction and high pressure and will break down after only a few kilometers without proper lubrication.
Let’s not forget that engines (at least in internal combustion vehicles) function to contain real explosions by asking for their energy and thus moving pistons which in turn push our cars.
The oil itself must have the right viscosity. To find the right one for your car, simply read the use and maintenance instructions, which are almost always on the glove compartment in front of the passenger seat of your car.
The oil warning light is a fundamental aid, but we should never see it light up. To avoid having the oil warning light on, it is sufficient to change the oil exactly according to the parent company’s maintenance schedule.
What to do if your oil light on?
If the oil warning light is on and begins to blink, it is important to act immediately to avoid serious engine damage. It is very important to avoid running the engine without properly lubricating it.
The procedure to be followed while the oil warning light is on is very simple, but it must be followed to the end. Let’s see what you can do if your engine oil warning light is on:
- Pullover safely and switch off the engine immediately: doing this will block the engine and prevent components from working without oil, thus limiting possible damage.
- Check the oil level: to do this, just open the hood, watch out for the hot engine and use a dipstick
- Top up new oil of the same type: if the oil gets really low, restore the minimum level.
- Wait a few minutes and restart the car: don’t move the car. Just check if the oil warning light is still on.
- Pay attention to the oil warning light: we recommend that you see a mechanic at this point to ensure that the car’s lubrication system does not leak.
In this case, you will understand why it is important to know when to change the oil and most importantly, remember it. It may seem trivial, but a simple oil change that costs tens of dollars on a car care plan will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
What to do if the oil warning light stays on?
It’s best to immediately contact the mechanic who will pick you up in a tow truck. It is certain that the cost of calling a towing truck is actually insignificant compared to the damage caused by an unlubricated engine.
This is because when the oil warning light stays on, the pressure in the lubrication system remains below the minimum value even when new oil is added. This is a clear indication of a leak in the lubrication system.
If the machine is not properly lubricated, it can take several minutes to locate the irreparable mechanical components. This greatly prepares you for expensive repairs, if not completely replacing the engine.
Oil warning light on and burnt cylinder head gasket
Among the various problems that cause the oil warning light on, there is one that all drivers fear. This is the burnt head gasket.
The gasket on the cylinder head ensures a perfect closure of the engine group, which, as already mentioned, must contain a real explosion. If the gasket wears too much to the point of breaking, it can result in loss of coolant or engine oil.
We recommend that you always keep an eye to the possible symptoms of a burnt cylinder head gasket, including the oil warning light on. Even if one thing occurs, it’s best to call a mechanic immediately and ask a tow truck to pick you up.
What does it mean if the oil warning light turns on and off?
The engine oil warning light will normally come on and remain steady, indicating the pressure drop in the engine oil circulation system. If the oil warning light turns on and off, there may be a problem with the control unit, which then initiates light contact.
If the oil warning light turns on and off regularly, that’s probably how the light goes on for that car model. This is difficult to say because there is no international standard for car warning lights.
It is best to assume the warning light indicates a problem with engine oil. Go to the workshop and check the engine oil. It’s a few minutes’ intervention that could save your car engine.