What To Do If Your Car’s Oil Pressure Light Is On

An illuminated oil pressure light could mean there’s an issue with your engine’s oil level. If this appears when driving, you should immediately pull over to check your oil level.
Written by Natalie Todoroff
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Oil is absolutely essential to keeping your car’s engine running smoothly and safely. If the oil pressure light clicks on when you’re driving, you should pull over immediately and check your oil level. 
A mystery dashboard light is certainly not one you’ll want to solve while driving. What does this weird, genie bottle-looking symbol mean? Do I need to call my dad? Is this one of those things I can just ignore until it goes away? Can I just keep driving? 
When it comes to the oil pressure light, you don’t want to wait around to see what kind of damage a low oil level can do to your engine—or your wallet.
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What is the oil pressure light on my dashboard? 

The oil pressure light is there to communicate to you if something is wrong with your car’s oil. It checks mainly two things: 
  • Your oil level to see if there is too much or enough to keep the engine running safely 
  • The quality of oil to see the oil is dirty 
Sometimes, the oil pressure light can be triggered by a false alarm, such as a bad oil pressure sensor or faulty wiring.  

What does the oil pressure light look like? 

It can vary depending on your make and model, but most of the time it looks like a small genie lamp (yes, just like the one in Aladdin) with a small drip at the mouth. It’s oftentimes illuminated in red or gold, again, depending on your specific vehicle. 

What does the oil pressure light mean? 

An illuminated oil pressure light doesn’t happen often. But, when it does, it means that your vehicle is in need of immediate attention and is unsafe to drive. 
Low oil, dirty or
gritty oil
, or too much oil all signal that your engine is not properly lubricated. And if your engine isn’t lubricated, you could end up with some irreversible damage to your car in just a couple of seconds. Which could get pretty expensive! 

How to turn off your oil pressure light 

Most of the time, your oil pressure light is triggered by a drop in oil pressure level. To confirm if that’s the case, you’ll want to check your engine’s oil level: 
  • Pull over and turn off your vehicle 
  • Once your vehicle has cooled, place your dipstick into the oil reservoir 
  • Remove your dipstick from the reservoir
If the oil level does not reach the marker on the dipstick, you have your answer. You need to replenish your vehicle’s oil supply. 
However, if the oil level appears to be normal, oil pressure light could have been triggered by: 
  • Faulty
    oil pressure sensor
    . As the name implies, it’s the oil pressure sensor’s job to flip on the oil pressure light. They’re often made of plastic and prone to crack, leading to a false alarm. 
  • Faulty oil pressure sensor wirings. These wires run from the instrument cluster into the oil pressure sensor, allowing it to read the oil level. If the wires fray or bend too much, this can also trigger the oil pressure light. 
  • Faulty
    oil pump
    . The oil pump pressurizes the oil inside the engine. If it fails, it can cause the oil level to drop as well. 

How to find car insurance online 

Looking at a lit-up dashboard is confusing, frustrating, and pretty bewildering…kind of like buying car insurance without
Jerry
. But if you like doing things the hard way, by all means, please skip ahead.  
If you’d rather leave the hard work of gathering quotes to someone else, use Jerry. The Jerry app can collect
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 “I love how easy it was for me to get insurance without going through a lot of trouble. I would recommend anyone try
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, since it’s free!” —Melissa I. 
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FAQ

We can’t say it enough: pull over! If you check and replenish your oil levels and the light still won’t switch off, you should call for a tow to your local mechanic for a thorough diagnosis.
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