Why would an Oil Light illuminate?
Have you ever wondered what it means when your Car’s Engine Oil Light goes on or flickers? while the engine is running.
All questions about the Engine Oil Warning Light Answered.
How it Works
The average internal combustion engine requires engine oil to lubricate its internal components in order to reduce friction caused by moving parts.
A warning system is incorporated into the electrics of the car, consisting of an oil pressure sensor switch in the engine and a warning light on the dashboard.
It warns when the oil pressure or oil level becomes inadequate to fulfill its function of efficiently lubricating the car’s engine.
When this happens the oil warning light will flicker or illuminate continuously.
Oil flows from the engine into the sender unit activating a diaphragm inside joining 2 contact points to complete an electrical circuit in order to shut off the oil pressure warning light on the car’s dashboard.
If the oil pressure is too low (due to varying reasons, explained below) the oil pressure warning light stays illuminated, warning of low or no oil pressure.
What to do when the oil light illuminates while the engine is running.
- Switch the engine off immediately
- Check for signs of excessive oil leakage under the hood
- Check the oil level with the dipstick
- If low fill to proper level
- Start the engine and check to see if the oil light goes out
- If it does, then you are good to go
- If it does not, contact your Mechanic or Auto Repair Center
- In all probability the car must be towed in for further diagnoses and repairs.
Oil light on while driving, Possible Faults
- Faulty Oil Pressure Switch sending an incorrect signal to the Oil Light
- Short circuit causing the Oil Pressure Warning Light to Illuminate
- Low oil level, due to oil leaks or oil consumption caused by engine wear.
- Oil Pump failure
- Oil Pump driving mechanism failure
- Oil Channels blocked in the Engine
- Oil Pressure Release Valve malfunction
- Oil Filter Valve Malfunctions
NB:- Many of the above is caused by prolonged service maintenance intervals.
The diagram below illustrates how oil flows in a conventional Internal Combustion Engine.
In conclusion, this article is not exhaustive, but I believe all major points were covered.
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Until Next Time “Safe Motoring”