What Does the Oil Pressure Warning Light Mean?
By Stephen Chernoble
Motor oil keeps your engine running at it’s best. Low oil pressure can cause damage to the expensive moving parts of your engine or in extreme cases cause your engine block seize or crack.
When there is a problem with the oil level in your engine, a warning light on your dashboard will illuminate (illustration above). While some drivers ignore warning lights, your oil pressure light is one you should pay attention to. Learn what your oil pressure warning light means and how to react.
Diagnose What Your Oil Pressure Warning Light Means
When your oil pressure light turns on, you either have a defective oil pump or your oil is dangerously low. If your oil pressure light turns on while you are driving, pull over a soon as it is safely possible. Shut your engine off and check your oil level.
To do this pop the hood, and locate the oil dipstick. It should be marked with an oil can or sometimes even say “oil.” Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, and reinsert. Then remove the dipstick and check to see if the oil reaches the recommended line.
If the dipstick shows low oil level, your oil pressure warning light illuminated because your engine doesn’t have enough oil to function
If the dipstick shows adequate oil, the oil pressure warning light is alerting you that your oil pump is malfunctioning.
In either situation, the sooner you resolve the problem, the easier it will be. Oil keeps your car running, ignoring issues with your oil pressure can lead to irreversible damage to your engine.
What to Do If Your Oil Pressure Light is On
Your oil light is an indication that you need to get your car serviced. If your oil pump is malfunctioning or your oil levels are low, adding more oil is only a temporary fix. You need to diagnose what caused the low oil pressure to begin with. An auto care professional will be able to help you determine what exactly triggered your oil pressure warning and get your car back on the road.
Have an auto repair or tire question? Ask a question in the comment section below and we’ll do our best to provide you with a professional recommendation and point you in the right direction. — Stephen
*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair.
Riverside Automotive | Author: Stephen Chernoble| Copyright May 2017