The Oil Light may come on for a few different reasons, which include low oil pressure or a low oil level. If your Oil Light comes on while you are driving down the road, the first thing you should do is safely pull over and turn off the vehicle. The reason to stop the vehicle is because if you have run out of oil, your engine can stop and may not run any further. If the vehicle stops while you are driving, it could potentially cause an accident. Thus, driving with the Oil Light on can be very dangerous.
Here are some things to consider if you've noticed your car's oil light has come on:
Once you have stopped the vehicle, check the level of the oil in the system. This can be done with the dipstick. Pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean with a cloth, and then put it back into the vehicle. If the dipstick is dry or there is not very much oil on it, you may have a low oil problem and should not drive further.
Another reason your Oil Light may come on is if the oil pressure is low. Low oil pressure means the pump isn’t circulating enough oil, or there isn’t enough oil in the system for the pump to circulate. The oil is important to keeping the surfaces lubricated, so if the Oil Light comes on and the pressure is low, pull over and turn off the engine. After you have turned the vehicle off, contact a mechanic to inspect your oil pressure and fix any problems you have.
Driving with low oil pressure or low oil in the system can ruin the vehicle’s engine, completely breaking the motor. If you notice the Oil Light on while you are driving or while the car is running, you should stop driving and have this problem addressed as soon as possible.
You should not drive with the Oil Light on as this can cause extensive damage to your vehicle’s engine. The Oil Light indicator may turn on due to low oil pressure or low oil in your vehicle. If this light comes on, pull over to the side of the road and turn the vehicle off so as not to do any further damage, and seek to have your Oil Light inspected as soon as possible.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With the Oil Light On? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.