Why Is My Oil Light On?

There are many inidcator lights on the dashboard of a modern car, but what does the oil light mean? And what should you do when it comes on?

Red low oil indicator light

If your engine is running and the RED oil light is illuminated, you should pull over and shut the vehicle off as soon as it is safe to do so. If you're familiar with the human body, you'll know that a person that's alive will always has blood pressure - the heart circulates blood through the body under pressure. If someone has no blood pressure, they are in serious trouble!

Same goes for an engine! If the engine does not have any oil being pumped through its system, there is a big problem; and the computer will illuminate the red oil light on your dash. So what can cause the oil light to come on?

  • A failed oil pump
  • Not enough oil in the engine
  • A bad oil pressure sensor
  • Blockage at the oil pump sump
  • Large build-up of sludge

These are just a few of possible scenarios for the oil light to be on. When the vehicle is running without oil, every second counts. Don't try to drive the vehicle, no matter how close you are to home or work. The safest option is to have your vehicle towed to a trusted mechanic to diagnose the issue. It's always better to err on the side of caution with a $100 tow bill, than to chance destroying a several thousand dollar engine.

Written by John Alligood