Oil Light Comes On When Car Is Stopped – What’s Wrong?

As a car owner, you may be wondering what is wrong if your oil light starts coming on when your car is stopped. We have consulted experts in the field, and here is what they have to say.

When the oil light comes on in your vehicle, acting quickly can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs. Here are problems that may cause oil lights to come on when a car stop:

  • Engine wear.
  • Old engine oil.
  • Faulty oil pressure gauge.
  • Dirty or clogged filter.
  • Overheating.
  • Bad oil pump.
  • Worn out internal component.

When the oil light comes on, there is always a reason for concern. Keep reading to get detailed information about problems that may cause the engine oil light to come on and how to fix them.

lamps on the instrument panel are on and engine oil is on, Oil Light Comes On When Car Is Stopped - What's Wrong?

What Could Be Wrong If Oil Light Comes On When Car Is Stopped?

Oil is needed for your engine to run correctly. The oil light on your vehicle's dashboard that indicates low oil pressure should not come on frequently. If your oil light turns on when your car is stopped, then there is probably something wrong.

This oil light serves as a warning when the oil pressure or level is below what your vehicle needs. As a result of this, the oil cannot lubricate the moving parts of the vehicle well. The engine may become inoperable if it does not receive sufficient lubrication, which may also result in irreparable damage.

It is better to find out what's wrong and what can trigger the warning light for low oil pressure in your vehicle and how you can stop it from happening in the future.

The low oil pressure warning light and the rest of your on-board diagnostic system are both parts of your car's on-board diagnostic system, which is a type of direct communication with your car's computer on what is going on with your vehicle. 

As with a flashing check engine light, you should pull over as soon as this oil light illuminates, turn off the engine, and check the oil level when the car has cooled down.

If you have checked your oil pressure switch or sensor and determined that it is in good condition but your oil pressure light is going on, then it is possible that the issue is with your engine and needs to be serviced as soon as possible. However, there are many reasons why the engine oil light turns on or begins to flash when a car stops. Here are some:

Oil light is on in dashboard need for service engine soon

Engine Wear

The bearing on the crankshaft and the bearings on the camshaft are the conduits through which oil is distributed throughout the engine. 

If these regions become larger as a result of worn parts, the oil will flow too freely, which can cause a reduction in oil pressure which in turn will lead to the flashing of your engine oil warning light.

Old Engine Oil

Vehicle maintenance which includes changing your oil regularly is essential to ensure that a vehicle continues to function properly.

As oil gets gold, it also becomes thicker and less viscous. It creates more resistance in your engine than thin, fresh oil. Thick, old oil doesn't build as much pressure, which can cause your engine oil warning light to come on.

When you see the engine oil light, you should consider changing the oil. This way, you can rest assured that your engine will always be lubricated with clean and fresh oil. 

Faulty Oil Pressure Gauge

An oil light doesn't always mean there's an issue with the oil. The problem could be with the oil pressure gauge itself.

The gauge can malfunction and give an inaccurate reading if there are problems with the wiring or the electrical system.

To assess whether or not there is an insufficient amount of pressure, a mechanic will need to carry out an oil pressure test on your vehicle. 

Dirty Or Clogged Filter

When it comes to keeping oil pressure stable, oil filters are an extremely important component. If the filter becomes clogged, the pressure will rise while the flow rate decreases.

The oil filter is a pressure relief valve, which ensures that the pressure will not get dangerously high. Its function, which is to facilitate engine oil flow through and so reduce pressure, cannot be carried out properly if it is damaged.


An overheated engine causes problems for more than just the person driving the vehicle. It is difficult for the engine because it causes the oil to become thinner, which stops the pressure from building up. 

Overheated engines have the same impact as driving with oil that has a lower viscosity than what is required for the vehicle.

Bad Oil Pump

Even though this problem does not happen very often, a defective oil pump might cause a decrease in the rate of flow by making the passageways between the rotors wider. 

Worn Out Internal Components

If the internal components fail, the engine oil will enter the combustion leading to oil burning and a decrease in both the level and pressure of the engine oil. This can be detected by the characteristic bluish smoke that frequently emanates from the tailpipe of the vehicle.

Oil light on car dashboard

What Should I Do If My Oil Light Comes On When My Car Stops?

If you drive your vehicle without the required amount of oil at the right amount of pressure, you could cause significant damage to your vehicle.

If your engine oil light comes on, taking quick actions will save you a whole lot of headaches down the road. The following is the most effective technique to get started: 

Check Your Vehicle's Oil Level With The Dipstick

Locate the dipstick in the engine compartment, remove it, and then re-insert it into the tube it came from after wiping the oil off the indicator using a cloth or napkin. Check the oil level in the indicator after removing the dipstick once again.

If you aren't confident reading a dipstick, check out the video below for tips:

Check For Signs Of Oil Leakage

If your engine previously had enough oil but now has rapidly run out, it either leaked out or had an internal leak. Look for oil leaks under the vehicle.

If oil is dripping from the engine underneath the car, this is usually a sign that the oil filter is loosely fixed or a gasket has burst.

Call For A Tow

If the oil light comes back on, don't try to drive the car; you'll want to have it towed to your house or a mechanic shop for repairs.

Can a Blocked Oil Filter Cause Oil Light To Come on? 

As we've seen, there are several reasons your oil light might come on. A blocked oil filter is one cause that can activate the oil light.

When your oil filters are not changed regularly, they might get clogged over time. As soon as they become clogged, the oil pressure in your car will begin to drop, and the warning light that indicates low oil pressure will come on in your engine.

Will Oil Light Come On If I Have Too Much Oil?  

We know that the oil light can signify insufficient oil, but will it also come on if there is too much oil?

No, the oil light will not come on if you have excess oil. In most cases, the oil light indicates the pressure rather than the quantity of oil in the vehicle.

Check engine light on in car dashboard

Why is My Oil Light Coming On And Going Off?

There are a variety of reasons why your oil light is coming on and going off and it depends on whether your vehicle is in motion or stopped. 

When the automobile is stopped or idling, the oil light may flicker on and off, indicating that there is a problem with the oil sensor or low oil pressure. At the very least, the engine should be at 5 PSI when it is not moving. If the PSI is below 5, the oil light will flash intermittently.

While driving and in motion and the light flickers, this indicates low oil levels. Check the oil level and add more if necessary while keeping an eye on the light. Lights would go off if oil levels were truly low. If this is not the case, then engine bearings may be damaged.

This is a bad condition that has to be checked out and fixed right away by an expert.

How Long Can I Drive If My Oil Light Is On? 

Check engine warning light, foot brake light, battery, oil light is on

If the oil light for your vehicle comes on, you should get your car checked out as quickly as possible by a qualified auto repair. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that driving for a short time won't cause any problems. In most cases, you have approximately two weeks or about 500 miles of driving, after this period a flashing oil light can turn into a great problem.

To Wrap Up

lamps on the instrument panel are on and engine oil is on

The best thing to do to avoid your oil pressure problems is to maintain your vehicle regularly. This maintenance should involve changing your oil at the recommended intervals.

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