Oil Light Flickering (Causes & How to Fix)

Are you noticing the oil light flickering? Are you having difficulty fixing this problem? Do you want to know why and how to solve this problem? Then you are in the right place.

Your car is experiencing oil light flickering for many reasons, such as a bad oil pump, clogged or damaged oil filter, etc.

In this article, we will elaborate more on this problem and how to get it solved.

Let’s Begin!

You might notice the oil light flickering when you are driving. This continuous indication is because the oil pressure is below five to ten PSI, based on your vehicle’s benchmark safe oil pressure limit.

You might also observe some knocking sounds when the pressure suddenly drops. The oil light flickering could also be caused when your car is idle or not moving.

When your vehicle is idle or stopped, its oil light flickers off and on, the reason may be because the pressure is low or the oil sensor is having a problem. The engine could at least have up to five psi when stationary.

The oil light may begin flickering if this pressure is below 5 Psi. If the oil light flickers while you are driving, the oil level is indeed deficient. Examine the status of the engine’s oil and add an adequate amount of oil to your vehicle, and if necessary, keep an eye on the light for some time.

Another problem might be that your engine bearings are wearing out. This situation is unfavorable as this might release the oil in the engine to leak out. When this happens, get a technician to check and fix the damage as soon as possible.

The best method to prevent the oil light from flickering is by ensuring the vehicle undergoes regular maintenance, including changing the oil regularly.

Low engine performance, low oil pressure gauge at idle, and engine knocking indicate that the engine finds it challenging to circulate oil throughout the system.

Neglecting this problem can lead to severe issues within your engine block. You might have a blown engine if you delay too long for a car maintenance check-up. Reach out to a certified technician immediately for help so that your car’s engine can keep on running without problem.

Causes of Oil Light Flickering

Other Causes of Oil Light Flickering

  1. Use of the wrong or low-quality engine oil.
  2. Faulty oil pump
  3. Clogged or damaged oil filter
  4. Decrement of oil through oil seals and gaskets
  5. Low level of oil pressure in your engine
  6. A defective pressure-reducing valve
  7. wiring and oil pressure sensor issues

Current models of cars have various light colors to indicate different oil errors, while older models have just one oil light error color. The light activates whenever the oil pressure is low in your engine crankcase.

Generally, when the oil’s light color is yellow on your dashboard, it means the oil level is low, and the red oil light indicates that the pressure of the oil is low.

These oil lights can be stimulated one after the other since they operate according to the data from the engine oil pressure sensor and the level sensor. For instance, the vehicle’s oil pump could supply enough pressure even if the oil level is low.

Although the oil pump’s pressure depends on the oil level directly, there would not be pressure when the engine oil is deficient, but there will still be pressure if the oil level is a bit lower than the minimum safe level on the oil dipstick.

When the oil level is around the usual area, but the engine’s oil filter is clogged, the system pressure will not be enough to lubricate the engine parts effectively.

Another good example is a situation whereby the crankcase or container breaks, activating the pressure oil light and followed by the low-level oil light.

Let’s discuss the prevalent causes that activate the engine’s oil light on your dashboard. Few of these reasons result in the light remaining constant and barely flashing. Our primary focus will be the ones that activate the flickering of oil light.

1. Using Wrong or Low-Quality Engine Oil

One of the popular reasons the oil flickers is using low-quality or wrong engine oil. Using the inappropriate oil viscosity is a result of the negligence of the vehicle owner. He is unaware, and he still doesn’t check the manual of the car for the suitable oil options he can use.

Also Read: Oil Leak After Oil Change (Causes & Solutions)

2. Using Clogged or Poor-Quality Oil Filter

One function of your oil filter is to ensure that dust, foreign substances, and any other debris do not enter your engine so that your oil remains clean.

These oil filter stores a small quantity of oil when you put off your engine and prevent starvation of engine oil whenever you turn on your car’s engine after some time.

A clogged oil filter would activate the “check oil pressure” light, and it might start behaving strangely, like turning off or blinking or always staying on.

The clogged filter would not allow the free flow of oil as it should. And this situation could result in extra weight on the oil pump, which decreases the pump’s oil supply and inevitably reduces oil pressure inside the system.

If your oil filter is low in quality or faulty, you can drain the oil into an oil pan after switching off your engine. Please ensure you do not restart your car’s engine during the oil draining process because the friction can result in accelerated wear of the internal components of your vehicle’s engine.

In a situation like this, the oil light error would be on and sometimes flickers, but it will go off after some time.

3. Dirty or Failing Oil Pump

If your oil pump fails after a working period, the oil pump might need to be changed. When the oil pump is not functioning correctly, the pressure will not be retained in your system, which implies that the light would flicker.

Another reason for oil light flickering is the clogged mesh of your oil pump; just like the blocked or damaged oil filter, a smaller amount of oil passing through the mesh would reduce the oil pressure level in your system. Besides, this will damage the oil pump and increase its wear.

Also Read: Oil Pump Replacement (Cost & Steps)

4. Oil Leakage

This engine oil can pass through gasket O-rings, worn-out seals, oil channels, or broken pipes. If the leakage is severe, it will lessen the oil pressure inside your engine, which will cause the pressure error light to stay on constantly.

5. Bad Wiring and Oil Pressure Sensor

One other reason might be the wrong operation of the oil pressure sensor. The sensor can be faulty, and you will be required to change it. At the same time, pay good attention to the wiring; there could also be some bad wires.

6. Faulty Pressure-Reducing Valve

For the oil pump, the pressure-reducing valve is in charge of maintaining oil pressure at the right level; when this pressure valve ceases to function, the oil is not evenly shared among the internal combustion engine components, resulting in the reduction of oil level. And this will activate the oil light flickering.

Also Read: Is Engine/Motor Oil Flammable? (Everything to Know)

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Oil Light Flickering Problem?

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Oil Light Flickering

As stated earlier, there are a lot of reasons why this happens. The total cost will be based on the issue and its remedy.

If the issue is with the engine oil, then making use of the right oil will fix the problem. The total cost of replacing the oil pressure sensor might be around $120-$160. If you want to change it on your own, the sensor itself would cost about $48-$70.

If you have to change the complete oil pump, it might cost you about $1150-$1350, which also includes the cost of labor. It’s not advised to do this yourself as changing the pump is a bit complicated. The pump itself costs about $380-$400 if you decide on doing it yourself.

Can You Fix Oil Light Flickering Yourself?

You have to go to a mechanic if you want to change the oil pump. However, if you are familiar with your engine, you can resolve other problems independently.

How to Fix Oil Light Flickering

Let’s talk about how these issues we have talked about can be fixed. Most likely, you will be capable of getting rid of the problem with one of these remedies.

1. Make Use of Quality Oil

Ensure you have sufficient oil pressure in your engine. And do not buy cheaper oil because you want to save yourself some money, or else you might eventually spend more on repairing the car’s engine.

2. Monitor the Level of Oil Frequently

In addition to making use of good oil, monitor the level of oil often. Please don’t allow engine oil to be low. Always keep an eye on the engine oil’s fault indicator light.

To manually check your engine oil level, park your car on a plane surface, allow your engine to cool down, open your vehicle’s hood and look for the dipstick.

Next, remove the dipstick, clean it, and insert it at full length. Then remove it again to see the level of the oil.

If it indicates too low, ensure you fill your oil tank with the correct engine oil the manufacturer recommends.

3. Change the Oil Pressure Sensor

You will need to change the sensor if it’s faulty—Remove it from the pressure sensor socket to check if you have a worn-out oil pressure sensor.

If you do not have sufficient experience and proper equipment to repair it, get a mechanic to inspect the oil pressure sensor.

4. Change the Oil Pump

You can locate the oil pump towards the base of your engine within the oil pan. However, replacing the oil pump could be complicated to execute successfully.

It is rare to have issues regarding the oil pump. But if you have problems, replacing the oil pump is better than going for maintenance or repair. Replacement is cheaper than repair since repairing requires more work with your engine.

Why Is the Oil Pressure Light Flickering at Low RPM?

Whenever the oil pressure light of your car flickers, this means there’s a possibility that the level of your oil is low and needs to be topped.

This is supposed to resolve the problem, If it doesn’t, it means there’s a possibility that the oil pressure button has a problem that is giving a false warning. Whatever the case, the best thing to do is to take your vehicle to a mechanic for a thorough inspection.

Why Is the Oil Pressure Light Flickering at Low RPM

Frequently Asked Questions – Oil Light Flickering

Why is my engine oil light flickering?

The oil level might be w if driving and the light flickers. Inspect the status of the oil and if needed, add oil to your vehicle and keep an eye on the morning. The light would switch off, but if it doesn’t, tour engine bearings have worn out.

Is it safe to drive with the oil light flickering?

In general, it takes 500 miles or two weeks of driving your vehicle before the oil light flickering turns into a severe issue. As soon as it gets to this point, it could lead to severe mechanical damage to your system. So, it’s advised to take the vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible rather than waiting for the latter.

What does it mean when the oil light comes off and on?

When the oil pressure is low, it simply signifies that there’s no sufficient oil in the pump for proper circulation or the pump is not circulating clean engine oil. This oil is needed to lubricate the surfaces of components within the internal combustion engine. So when the pressure is low, and the light turns on, park your vehicle and switch off your engine.

How do you repair a flickering oil light?

Firstly, pull over, turn off the engine, and lastly, inspect the engine oil level of the car. The oil pressure light flickering can imply that the engine’s oil is low. So, refill it to the ‘max’ sign on the dipstick.

Why is the oil light on, but my oil is full?

The oil light might come on because the system’s oil is insufficient to maintain proper oil pressure. Buy the same type of oil already in the vehicle, observe the oil weight ( 10w30, 5w30, e.t.c.,) and put in enough oil to take the dipstick oil mark to full.

Conclusion – Oil Light Flickering

One easy way to prevent your oil light flickering is to service your car regularly. This servicing includes a regular change of oil. This action would help to prevent issues like the oil light flickering.

The decline in engine power, low oil pressure indicator, and engine cracking indicate a problem with oil circulation in the system. Ignoring these signs might result in severe issues in the engine system.

Do not fail to go for inspection; if not, you can have a blown engine when driving.

Leave a Comment