In simple terms, no, we do not recommend driving with the engine oil light on. When this dashboard light comes up, it's a tell-tale sign that something is very wrong from within your vehicle.
When the oil warning light comes on, it generally means that your vehicle has low oil pressure. The reduction in oil pressure could result from a few things: you are low on oil, your oil is heavily contaminated, or you have an oil leak.
Thankfully, you can come close to a conclusion by simply checking your oil. To check your oil, follow the following steps:
- With your car parked on an even surface, pop your hood and find the oil dipstick (usually yellow).
- Remove the dipstick and clean it off using a rag.
- Put the dipstick back in and pull it out again to get a more accurate reading. If the oil on the end of the dipstick is at or below the indicated marks, then it's time to bring your car into our shop for an oil change.
Even though your vehicle doesn't burn through oil, as it does with gasoline, it will eventually get low and get dirty after miles and miles of driving. If your oil levels are adequate, you should closely inspect the quality of the oil itself.
Clean engine oil should be transparent and an amber or honey color. If you notice any dirt, dust, or small debris gunking up your oil, it may be best to get an oil change anyway. Oil that is super dark, has a weird smell, or looks too thick are all bad signs. Dirty oil can cause a blockage in your car and can trigger the oil pressure light.
If your oil levels and quality checks out, the last thing you want to look for is oil leaks. Oil leaks can be internal or external, which is why you may or may not see dark puddles around your parked car. If you need help inspecting your engine oil and for potential leaks, please bring your vehicle to the professionals at Hometown Tire and Auto.
Driving with too little oil can do more damage to your engine than you think. As soon as you notice the oil warning light, please take your car to our auto service shop for the necessary repairs.