Oil pressure light stays on after oil change – Why?


Posted by: Oluwaseun Solomon

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You may mistake oil level and oil pressure, which confuses you when the oil pressure light stays on after oil change. This article by Naijauto will explain it thoroughly to you!

Naijauto.com thinks you should be concerned if you just had an oil change and yet the oil pressure light still stays on without going off.

Actually, we need you to understand that this light is not an indicator for your oil level rather it's for the oil pressure which are two different things. So, if you are seeing this light staying on, it’s a very bad sign. The reason, why we say it’s a very bad sign, is due to the fact that low oil pressure actually interprets that there is not enough lubrication at critical joints and the friction surfaces of such car engine. This as you should know, will lead to some serious wear and damage in the car’s engine.

1. Main reasons why oil pressure light stays on after oil change

Don’t be surprised that even after an oil change there could still truly be low oil pressure. If this happens to you, we advise that you pull your car off probably to the roadside and then turn off the car engine as quickly as you can. Now find out and discuss some of the causes of this problem. Shall we?


An oil pressure light should not be taken for granted in a car when on

1.1. Inaccurate oil level

If you notice this oil pressure light coming on just after an oil change, you should first suspect wrong oil level. What you might now know is that both low oil level and high oil level can cause an out-of-range oil pressure in the engine thereby making the oil pressure light stay on. You might want to check first if you had used an oil with the right viscosity rating as specified by the car manufacturer or your expert mechanic.

Then if you are positive that you used the right oil, you should go ahead and check the oil level. If the oil level happens to be above the line, please reduce it to fall below the line. Also, if it falls below the line, you might want to try topping it up to reach the line.

>>> Another problem you may easily encounter: Car engine oil smells like gas: see its 6 reasons here!

1.2. Oil filter not lubricated

Oil should be applied or put in the filter before the filter’s installation as that is the standard procedure. So, if you do not lubricate the oil filter well enough, the oil pressure can go down and cause the light to come on. Do not make the mistake of you trying to revive the engine at such a time to pressurize the system by itself, No. Instead, after removing the spark plugs, you should just run the starter. And when the system has gained its pressure back, you can now reinstall the spark plugs and kick off the car engine again.


When this oil pressure light comes on, shut off the car, and find a way to tow the vehicle to the nearest service center

1.3. Dirt in the oil

Sludge buildups can occur in the engine when there is poor maintenance and the oil is not changed at the due time. These buildups will not wash out even when you just had an oil change. The sensitive parts of the engine will be deprived of normal oil pressure because of these bad deposits. And as a result of that, the oil pressure light in your car will stay on even when you just had an oil change.

1.4. Pressure sensor might be damaged

You should consider measuring the oil pressure manually with a test gauge if you had checked all necessary parts, done things right and yet, the oil pressure light still stays on. If you did this manual check properly and you discover that the oil pressure is fine, then there could be a problem with the oil pressure sensor and the circuit the controls the oil pressure light itself.

This sensor is connected to the vehicle’s engine and it has a probe which goes into an oil passage in the engine. Occasionally, the oil pressure light might be switched on because of dirt or other foreign particles which must have gotten into the probe and triggered the sensor. In this kind of case, you can easily replace the sensor because it is actually of a very low cost.

>>> This is a very important skill you should definitely check: How to check and maintain car fluid levels

Video: How Oil Pressure Works - EricTheCarGuy

2. Conclusion

Oil pressure light staying on even after an oil change is a serious problem that shouldn’t be neglected. If correct, it’s actually indicating zero or bad oil flow inside the engine and possible danger for such vehicle’s engine. If you ignore this warning light and keep using your car in such a situation, you should be prepared for a complete engine damage soon.

So, Naijauto advises that when this oil pressure light comes on after an oil change, please shut off the car, and find a way to tow the vehicle to the nearest service center or expert mechanic for checking and fixing. Goodluck!

>>> Visit our FAQs sections to read answers to many common questions of Naija drivers!

Oluwaseun Solomon

Oluwaseun Solomon

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Oluwaseun Solomon is a prolific and diligent automobile writer at Naijauto.com. He's also an experienced digital marketer and a creative multimedia developer that specializes in video editing. He currently contributes informative and easy to read articles on topics covering transportation, traffic updates, auto industry updates, and different car reviews.
When Solomon is not writing, you will either find him composing music, editing videos or simply enjoying YouTube "TEDx Talk" videos with a chilled drink :)

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