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Is it Safe to Drive with Oil Pressure Warning Light On?

Brian Bates

The oil pressure warning light is an important safety feature in your vehicle that alerts you when there is a problem with the engine's oil pressure. If this light illuminates on your dashboard, it is essential to take it seriously and not ignore it. Continuing to drive your vehicle with low oil pressure can cause significant engine damage and even engine failure.

The oil pressure warning light will typically look like a small oil can, often with a drop of oil coming out of the spout. It may also say "oil" or "low oil" on the dashboard display. If this light comes on while driving, it's best to pull over as soon as it is safe and turn off the engine. Check your oil level and add oil if necessary. However, adding oil may not solve the problem and may only be a temporary solution.

Low oil pressure can be caused by several factors, including: 

  • Failing oil pump
  • Clogged oil filter
  • Low oil levels
  • Problem with the oil pressure sensor (a device that  sends a signal to the warning light when the pressure drops below a certain level)
  • Worn engine bearings
  • Damaged oil pressure relief valve

It's important to have your vehicle inspected by a professional auto repair shop as soon as possible if the oil pressure warning light comes on. The technician can use specialized equipment to diagnose the problem and determine the root cause of the low oil pressure. Depending on the issue, the technician may recommend a simple repair or a more complex repair, such as an engine rebuild or replacement.

Regular oil changes and maintenance can help prevent low oil pressure and prolong the life of your engine. It's recommended to check your oil level regularly, at least once a month, and to have your oil and oil filter changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. If you notice any other symptoms of low oil pressure, such as engine knocking or ticking or low oil pressure at idle, it's important to have your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. We welcome you to South Park Tire & Auto Center for all your motor oil related needs!

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