Oil Light Comes On But Oil Is Full – Surprised Facts

Commonly, the oil light comes on but oil is full, which is attributed to a myriad of reasons. Don’t panic because our article will provide deep insights into the causes and viable remedies to this issue.

Let’s get started!

Oil Light Comes On But Oil Is Full – The Reasons Why?

oil light comes on but oil is full

Below culprits cause the oil light on but oil is full, including a damaged pressure sensor, a failing oil pump, the oil leakage issue, contaminated oil, clogged oil passages, and a dirty oil filter.

A Damaged Pressure Sensor

It is responsible for managing the oil pressure in your car tank and delivering a signal to the powertrain control module when the oil level drops below the threshold.

Like other engines, it would start malfunctioning after a time of usage. In this case, it might send a wrong warning to the headquartered PCM.

The oil light would, in turn, turn on while the fuel amount is still sufficient.

A Faulty Oil Pump

As its name suggests, the oil pump is a device of the lubrication system, pressurizing motor oil for circulation towards related engines along its route.

When it becomes out of order after a while, it might cause overheating and strange noises within the engines. If the issue persists, the oil light will likely turn on suddenly, alerting something wrong.

The Oil Leakage Problem

Oil leakage is another factor you should take close notice of. Indeed, when the oil is full, but you spot the oil light turning, there is a high chance that some cracks form on the tank’s surface, rendering the oil leak.

If you doubt that your automobile is getting into this trouble, park your car immediately, as it could explode anytime.

Then, you should call for qualified mechanics or tow your vehicle to a nearby garage for a quick check.

Clogged Oil Passages

When the oil is pressurized to flow by the oil pump, it will pass through the filter, which screens all harmful substances out of the oil.

It will reach the crankshaft, where many passages are located, facilitating the oil’s circulation through bearings and engine surfaces.

When they get dirty over a while, oil cannot flow normally, triggering the oil light on the car’s dashboard, which informs drivers of the problem. That’s why oil pressure light on but oil is full.

A Dirty Oil Filter

As mentioned earlier, the oil filter mainly takes charge of removing contaminants from the oil, including shiny metallic particles, dirt, and carbon.

If your oil is full of these substances, great damage to the engine’s bearings and cylinders is caused.

In other words, the filter’s job is to maintain the good quality of car oil and protect your motor parts from wear and abrasions.

Suppose it is on the fritz; the oil pressure will diminish. The oil light comes on and off but oil is full as a result.

Contaminated Oil

One of the leading reasons is that your oil gets contaminated. This could be boiled down to numerous factors. For instance, you purchase a fake oil product from an unreliable shop.

Possibly, your oil is clogged with particles, such as dirt, crud, or debris, disturbing its delivery path and consequently causing the oil light to illuminate.

It is advisable to frequently use the dipstick to check the oil’s quality.

How To Solve When The Oil Light Comes On But Oil Is Full?

How To Solve When The Oil Light Comes On But Oil Is Full

Here is a list of feasible solutions you can consider and apply if needed.

Clean The Oil Passages And Oil Filter

If the filthy oil passages and filter are two primary culprits behind your problem, you should clean them carefully to scrub all harmful substances and dirt.

It is strongly recommended that you prepare some necessary equipment beforehand, including gloves, brushes, and soaping. Don’t forget safety eyeglasses to protect your eyes from being harmed.

Replace The Oil Pressure Sensor

  • Step 1: Park your car and turn the engine off.
  • Step 2: This step requires you to pinpoint the location of an oil pressure sensor, which commonly lies next to the cabin filter on the engine block.
  • Step 3: You must take the damaged pressure sensor out of your automobile with the assistance of a wrench. Avoid stripping the threads at all costs.
  • Step 4: Wipe the surrounding parts if they show some signs of dirt.
  • Step 5: Place a new sensor in the original position and use a plench to tighten it down.
  • Step 6: Connect the wires and switch the key on. If the oil pressure light is off immediately, the problem has been solved.

However, if the light is still on, the issue might be rendered by other agents. Under this circumstance, you should have it checked by professional mechanics.

Replace The Oil Pump

  • Step 1: Stop your automobile and disable the operation of all engines in your car. If not, your safety could be at risk.
  • Step 2: Prepare specialized tools, such as a wrench set, a torque wrench, and a socket set.
  • Step 3: You need to locate the oil pump and remove it. Install a new pump using a Teflon pipe or tape to cover the threads.
  • Step 4: Use a torque wrench and a socket set to tighten the nuts and bolts. You can read the manufacturer’s manual for further information.
  • Step 5: Connect a new oil pump to wires and hoses.
  • Step 6: Start the engine and check whether the oil light switches off. Good luck!

Solve The Oil Leakage Problem

If you encounter an oil leakage, your oil tank might be ruined. There are many contributors to its wear, such as rusting, corrosion, or cracks.

The best solution is to make a replacement of a new tank. It would be even better to buy one made of stainless materials, so its lifetime could be prolonged.

Replace The Dirty Oil

As presented above, the contaminated oil is an underlying root of the issue. However, taking all the particles and dirt out of the oil seems impossible.

Hence, the only remedy is purchasing a new oil type. But you should not trust cheap ones, which are known for bad quality and shortened use time.

How To Check My Engine Oil Level?

oil light comes on and off but oil is full

As follows is a comprehensive guide:

  • Step 1: Park your car idle and wait about 10 to 15 minutes for the engines to release much heat.
  • Step 2: When the engines cool down completely, you pop the hood and determine the exact location of a dipstick. Normally, there is an orange or red plastic tab installed on it.
  • Step 3: Take the dipstick out. This practice is quite dirty, as your hands might be left with oil. If you want to keep them clean, wear safety gloves.
  • Step 4: The dipstick is hard to read due to being coated with dark oil and grime. Clean it thoroughly from its tip to the handle using a towel and a clean rag. You could easily notice a reading, but the figure is not accurate because of the motor oil leftover.
  • Step 5: Place the dipstick in the former position. Ensure that you install it properly, and wait a couple of seconds before lifting it up.
  • Step 6: Take a quick look at the oil level on both sides of a dipstick.
  • Step 7: Inspect the color of the oil with your naked eyes, which tells you a lot about its consistency and effectiveness. Indeed, if it displays a gritty and black color, it is high time to replace the oil.
  • Step 8: Wipe it out again and put it back in the tube before closing the hood to complete the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Drive With Low Oil Pressure?


This practice does not wreak havoc on your car engines instantly, but if you ignore this problem and continue driving, your automobile and even your safety are jeopardized.

The reason is that excessive friction would likely be induced, leading to overheating and gradually ruining internal motor parts’ components. The explosion could, in turn, occur at any time.

How To Check For A Bad Oil Pressure Sensor?

A multimeter might come in handy. To test the oil pressure sensor, you have to know where two wires connecting the sensor are located.

Subsequently, switch the multimeter to the “Ohms” and place it on their surfaces.

When the reading surpasses 10,000 Ohms, your device is working functionally. However, suppose the figure is below, the pressure sensor may be torn and need replacing.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Oil Pump?

  • Low oil engine level
  • Heightened engine operating temperature
  • Faulty hydraulic lifters
  • Lack of lubrication, causing the nearby valves, pushrods, and seals to get damaged due to overloading friction
  • Strange valve-train sounds
  • Intermittent flashing check engine light
  • Fluctuating needles on the pressure gauge
  • The car’s sudden stalling

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this article provides you with comprehensive information about the reasons why the oil light comes on but oil is full, coupled with viable solutions to the nagging problem.

Thank you for being supportive, and have a nice day!

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