oil light on

Is It Safe to Drive with Your Oil Light On?

Your vehicle’s dashboard acts as your safety guide to let you know if anything is amiss with your car. One of the warning signs you can get is the oil light on, which indicates low engine oil pressure, dirty oil, or oil circuit issues.

While you can safely drive on with some dashboard warning lights, an oil light on is not something to take lightly.

Once your dashboard shows you the oil light warning while driving, you should treat this matter with urgency.

The immediate action to take is a pullover before the engine stops by itself. You should not continue driving with the oil light illuminating your dashboard.

If you’re wondering why you should stop immediately after you see the oil light on, then we have you covered. This article explains why the oil light turns on, whether it’s safe to continue driving, and what you should do about it.

Should You Continue Driving After Seeing the Oil Light On?

No. You should not continue driving if your oil light is on. Driving with the oil light warning is very dangerous and hazardous to your car. Stop the vehicle immediately after seeing the oil light and turn off the engine.

If you continue driving, you may run out of oil, making your engine seize up and refuse to turn over. You will not want to imagine the trouble you’ll get into if your vehicle abruptly stops in the middle of the highway.

Your car engine needs enough oil to lubricate the moving parts and cool the vehicle down. When it runs out of oil, your engine will overheat and damage various parts of your car.

By continuing to drive without enough oil, you’ll be putting your vehicle at risk of severe damage. You may require a complete engine change if you don’t pull over on time.

If you must continue driving with the oil light for some distance, you must be very cautious. Pay close attention to the temperature gauge to ensure it doesn’t go up to the red zone. If it does, your engine will overheat, forcing the vehicle to stop abruptly.

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Reasons Your Oil Light Is On

There are several reasons your oil light may illuminate in the middle of your driving. Some reasons may only require quick fixes, while others are more serious and need a more in-depth vehicle examination. Some of the reasons to watch out for include:

oil change

Low Oil Levels

One of the reasons you’ll see your oil light on is when your vehicle is running low on oil. Your vehicle needs adequate oil levels to keep the engine running smoothly and lubricate all the moving parts. With enough oil, your car engine will remain healthy and perform well.

As you continue driving your vehicle, your oil levels decrease over time. You constantly check your oil levels from time to time to avoid surprises while on the road.

Also, ensure you change your oil so the light doesn’t come on abruptly for no good reason.

Dirty Oil

Your oil light will also illuminate if your vehicle is running on dirty oil. While checking the oil levels, also check the color to know if it’s still clean. If it shows amber color and is runny, it shows you have clean oil.

Your engine oil gets dirty with time if you don’t change it often. The dirt comes from dirt and debris your engine collects while on the road.

Dirty oil looks dull in color and shows sludge. If you notice any of these, make sure you have a change of oil immediately.

Related Article: Why You Shouldn’t Skip Your Routine Oil Change

Faulty Oil Sensor

Even with clean oil and the right levels, your dashboard can still show the light from time to time. Another culprit can be a faulty oil sensor. When your sensor operates as a probe, it will trigger the oil light to turn on.

If a foreign substance enters the oil sensor, it will operate as a probe that sends false signals to your car’s computers.

If you notice that you have such a problem, you should call the mechanic immediately and have the faulty sensor replaced.

Issues With the Oil Pump

If the oil sensor has no problems, another issue could be with your oil pump. If the oil pump isn’t working correctly, your engine will have trouble circulating the oil to all the moving parts of your vehicle, causing a circuit.

Inadequate oil circulation will cause your engine to overheat, which can lead to a series of issues with your vehicle.

An oil pump is not something you can change if you don’t have any vehicle repair experience. Call a trusted mechanic to do an inspection and change your oil pump.

oil light on

What to Do When You See an Oil Light Warning

While an oil light illumination is something you should treat with urgency, you shouldn’t panic when you see the light on. Your immediate reaction should be to find a place to pull over and park your car.

You should then turn off the engine to avoid overheating and causing more damage.

Once you’ve parked safely and your engine is off, check if you’re running low on engine oil, have dirty oil, or have an oil circuit.

If you can’t pinpoint any of the above problems, don’t go about guessing things. Call your mechanics and let them check the issue and take the necessary steps.

Related Article: Why Should I Get Coolant Flush?

Bottom Line

It’s unsafe and hazardous to continue driving your car while the oil light is illuminating. This will not only cause damage to your vehicle but can also lead to a serious accident when your car suddenly stops. You should never continue driving with your oil light on.

Always have a change of oil and ensure it’s at the right level before you start driving. If you suspect a faulty sensor or an oil pump issue, talk to your mechanic immediately.

Never ignore an oil warning light even if you’re in a hurry to reach your destination. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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