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What the Oil Pressure Light on Your Dash Means

The Oil Pressure Light

Upon looking at the dashboard in any vehicle, you’ll see there are many different gauges and lights.  From the speedometer to the Check Engine light, each serves a specific purpose and helps you stay aware.  And while some of these lights might seem of lesser importance, others should not be ignored.  For instance, your vehicle’s oil pressure light is critical.

What Does the Oil Pressure Light on Your Dash Mean?

Seeing that dripping oil can light up on your dash can be a bit disconcerting.  But it doesn’t always mean a serious problem is imminent. What it does indicate is that your vehicle has low oil pressure and that there is likely 1 of 3 problems: You have an oil leak, you are low on oil, or your oil is dirty.

Oil is Leaking

The easiest way to check for an oil leak is to park your vehicle on a level surface for a few hours.  Then look for a puddle.  If there is no sign of a puddle and you still think it’s an oil leak, check the oil level using the dipstick.  If the oil is lower than expected, schedule an appointment with your mechanic to have a more thorough check.

Low on Oil

OES++Small-1920wThe oil added to your car is not unending.  No, you don’t have to top off the oil as often as your gas, but it still needs to be refilled from time to time.  Check the oil level using the dipstick. If it is lower than the recommended amount, add more oil. You can make this job easier by keeping a quart of AMSOIL in your trunk.  To be sure you always have AMSOIL on hand, order from local dealer, The House of Syn.

Oil is Dirty

Your oil light can also indicate that your engine is dirty.  This can be due to debris clogging the filter. One of the jobs of the oil is to keep the engine free of debris and sludge, dirty oil means that your engine is unable to work properly.  When you check your oil, it should be an amber color and ‘roll’ off the dipstick with ease.  If it has a smell, is clumpy, or is a dark color then it is time for an oil change.  Always include a new oil filter.

But That’s Not All

Keep in mind, that these are not the only issues your oil pressure light can indicate.  They’re just the most common ones.  Other issues include a worn oil pump, worn engine bearings, defective oil pressure sending light or a faulty oil pressure gauge.  If you have checked for the most common problems and still are uncertain as to the cause, be sure to get a mechanic involved, and minimize driving the vehicle to prevent doing additional damage to the mechanical system of your car.

Minimize the risk of seeing that dripping oil can light up with intentional maintenance. Do frequent checks and top off fluids as needed, replace the oil filter when necessary, and be sure the oil is changed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. These tasks only take a few minutes but can save you a great deal of time-and money- at the mechanic’s shop.