How Long Can You Drive Car with Oil Light On?

When your car’s oil light comes on, you must first ensure what kind of indicator it is. Whether it is an oil change light or low oil pressure light will change what you need to do!

This article has covered everything you need to know about your car’s oil light. We have also mentioned how long you can drive with your oil light on, or if you can drive at all!

Determine What the Oil Light Means

There can be a few different meanings to your oil light indicator. However, here are some of the main reasons why your car is displaying the oil light:

Oil Change Reminder

Remember that oil change reminders and low oil pressure indicators are different in cars. Every car needs an oil change after certain miles of traveling. If the oil change reminder light comes on, you can travel a few hundred miles more before getting it checked out. However, the sooner you change your oil, the better it is for your engine’s health.

Low Oil Pressure

If the oil warning signal looks like a genie lamp with a drop coming out, it is very different and more of an urgent matter than oil change reminders. Such warning light can mean a few things, including low oil pressure.

Enough oil pressure is required for the engine to run smoothly. If the engine does not have enough oil or the oil filter is clogged, oil pressure can get lowered, which is not good for the vehicle.

Therefore, if you see a low oil pressure light, it’s best not to drive and get it checked out. We recommend not even driving it to the shop and towing the car instead to avoid damage.

One thing to note is that the oil warning light isn’t always a sign of disaster. Sometimes, your vehicle needs more oil or a sensor change!

Should You Drive at All with the Oil Light On?

When the oil light is a sign of low oil pressure, you should not drive at all. It’s best to get the help of a professional as soon as possible. If you drive with the low oil pressure light on, you can damage your engine badly, and at one point, your engine may start making weird noises. Such noises indicate that the problem has grown more serious. Therefore, refrain from driving with the oil light on and only drive if you see the oil change reminder.

What to Do When Oil Light is On?

You can do the following things when the oil light of your vehicle is on:

Check the Oil Level

Low oil levels can result in low oil pressure. Therefore, checking your car’s oil level is the first thing you can do when you see the red or the yellow oil light. Fortunately, checking the oil level is pretty easy.

  • Park your car on a leveled surface and wait for the engine to cool down.
  • Pop the hood open and look for the yellow dipstick.
  • Pull the dipstick up, wipe it clean with a cloth, and put it back in.
  • Take it out again and see your car’s oil level reading.

If the oil level is very low, it’s time to get more oil in. However, if the oil level is sufficient, there could be other issues with the car causing the oil light to turn on. Try checking the oil pump if there is no issue with the oil level.

Check the Engine Oil Pump

If your car’s oil level is sufficient, a faulty oil pump can be the reason for low oil pressure and the oil light indicator. However, checking the oil pump is significantly harder than checking the car’s oil levels as the pump is situated at the bottom of the engine. In this case, you need to take help from a professional.

I Have to Drive Even With the Oil Light On

Again, driving with the oil light on is not recommended at all. However, if you are in a situation where you have to drive even with the oil light on, keep your eye on the temperature levels.

Make sure your car does not overheat. Prevent the temperature gauge from reaching the red zone. And get oil or professional help immediately! In such conditions, do not drive more than 50 miles.

Final Note

Always make sure you are using the right kind of oil for your vehicle. Your car’s owner manual should have recommendations on the type of oil your engine needs. Moreover, frequently changing your car oil is also important for the engine’s health.

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