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There is a lot of misconception regarding the engine light that comes on and then goes away after 2-3 seconds of starting the car. Also, it’s disappointing that some automotive websites have published factually wrong reasons and solutions regarding this warning light.
I have covered everything related to this topic; ensure you read it until the end.
Purpose of dashboard warning lights
Warning lights are symbols that illuminate when there is something wrong with the component related to them. For example, if something is wrong with your car’s ABS (Antilock braking system), the ABS warning light will illuminate on the instrument cluster until the issue is fixed. Keep in mind multiple warning lights can come on if multiple functions are malfunctioning.
Why does the engine oil light comes and then goes away?
When the car’s ignition is on, all the warning lights illuminate for 2-3 seconds, and then they go away, but some lights take longer to go away; for example, in my car, the ABS light goes away when all other lights are gone, I asked the technician who works at Skoda, and he said it is just a slight delay, as soon as the system knows all the airbags are fine the lights go away.
The engine oil pressure light illuminates when you start the car; the system then checks the oil pressure. As the Oil pressure increases to the required level, the oil pressure sensor gets the signal, and the light goes off. This whole process can take a few seconds, so the engine oil light goes away 2-3 seconds after starting the car.
Should you be worried?
No, the fact that the light goes away means the oil pressure is at the required level. If the oil pressure is not at the required level or there is not sufficient oil in the engine, the engine oil light will not go away. So there is absolutely nothing in your car if the light goes away.
When should you be worried?
You should only be worried if the engine oil light keeps illuminating
and does not go away. Usually, low oil level or damaged oil pump can be the reason behind the oil light.
Reasons behind the engine oil light that does not go away even while driving?
Reason 1) Low engine oil level
Low engine oil level is one of the most common reasons behind the oil warning light. The purpose of engine oil is to lubricate the engine’s moving components to lower the damaging friction.
Engine oil should be at the required level; insufficient oil would result in high engine temperature and damaging friction that will destroy your engine.
Note: Sometimes oil leakage can be a reason behind having low oil level.
Reason 2) Faulty oil pump
The oil pump circulates engine oil under pressure to the moving components of the engine. If your car’s engine oil pump is not working properly, the engine oil light can pop up on the dashboard.
A faulty engine oil pump can fail to pump oil resulting in a damaged engine so make sure you get it fixed as soon as possible.
Reason 3) Malfunctioning sensors
Modern cars have a lot of sensors including an oil pressure sensor. If that sensor stops working, the oil warning light can appear on the dashboard. Also, not just the sensor, even if the wire connected to the sensor is damaged, you would get the same light despite having perfect oil pressure.
Keep in mind if the sensor or wire is causing the warning light, this will not damage anything, it’s just like a false alarm.
Reason 4) Clogged oil filter
The engine oil filter can be clogged over time due to oil sludging which usually happens if you do not replace the oil on time. The oil filter is supposed to keep the oil clean to maintain perfect oil pressure. If the filter is clogged, the oil pressure will be affected resulting in the illumination of oil warming light.
Reason 4) Clogged oil- tube
The oil pick-up tube supplies oil from the oil reservoir to the oil pump, if the gauze/filter of the tube is blocked due to slugging the oil pump will not get the oil that would defiantly trigger the warning light.