What To Do If Oil Light Flickering At Idle?

When the Electronic Control Unit detects an issue with the oil, it stores the error and, in most situations, the oil light error indication illuminates continuously or flashes on the dashboard.

Imagine you are planning to go on a long trip in your car to make your weekend exciting and you suddenly notice that the oil light flickering at idle continuously and you get anxious. what now! Your whole plan is ruined? No, here are some of the reasons why it’s flickering and solutions to tackle it.

check engine light

Why Your Oil Light Flickering At Idle?

A car’s engine is the most significant component. It is made up of several components that ensure its effective operation. When all of these parts are working in a high-temperature environment with high loads, lubrication must be consistent and plentiful. An oil pump provides lubrication to all engine components.

1. Using A Substandard Or Improper Engine Oil

Motor oil is the lifeblood of your automobile engine… it’s what keeps it running properly. The basic function of motor oil is to safeguard your car’s engine by serving as a lubricant and preventing or lowering heat and friction.

The viscosity of engine oil indicates how freely oil flows at a given temperature. Because lower viscosity motor oil (e.g., 5W-20) is thinner, it flows better than higher viscosity motor oil (e.g., 20W-50), which is significantly thicker. This implies that if your car’s engine’s motor oil is too thick, it won’t be able to adequately lubricate the engine’s components, resulting in excessive resistance when you start the automobile and triggering the oil light indicator.

2. Engine Oil Pressure Is Low

Your oil warning light on the dashboard may illuminate if the oil pressure falls below the recommended level. If you notice it glow, pull over to a safe location, such as a parking lot, gas station, or service station, and check your oil level. Even if the oil level is correct, it is still suggested that it be towed to a service facility. It might be a defective oil pressure sensor, or you could be dealing with something more serious.

3. Issues With The Oil Pressure Sensor And Its Connections

A basic switch-type oil sensor operates as follows: There is no oil pressure and the switch is closed when the ignition is switched on but the engine is not running. The low oil pressure indicator light is turned on. The oil pump begins to function when the engine is started, increasing the oil pressure. The oil pressure switch opens and the dash warning light shuts off when the minimum needed pressure is attained.

When the oil pressure sensor switch begins to leak oil, it is one of the most prevalent difficulties. The oil might seep from the tread or from the sensor itself. If the tread is leaking oil, your mechanic may suggest resealing it. It will be necessary to replace the sensor if it is leaking.

Another typical issue with the oil pressure sensor is when it clogs or malfunctions inside, preventing it from accurately reading the oil pressure. Even when there is ample pressure, the low oil pressure warning light may illuminate.
The Check Engine light may illuminate in some vehicles due to a falling oil pressure sensor.

4. Faulty/Damaged Oil Pump

The oil pump keeps a running engine lubricated by providing oil. This lubrication keeps the metal components of the engine from contacting one other. While the engine is running, the oil pump takes heat from the engine’s components. Even if the oil pump appears to be robust, it might fail with time.

The oil pump controls the oil pressure. When the oil pump fails, the oil pressure in the engine begins to drop. When the low oil pressure warning light illuminates your dashboard, this is usually the first indicator of low oil pressure.

oil pump

Some Solutions To Tackle If The Oil Light Keeps Flickering

Oil is required for the survival of your engine. It won’t work without it, and it might cause serious or irreparable damage to the engine, not to mention your pocketbook. The low oil pressure warning light on your vehicle’s dashboard should not be illuminated frequently. If it occurs, though, you must immediately cease driving.

The low oil pressure indicator indicates that the oil pressure is insufficient or that the oil level is too low. This hinders the oil from getting enough lubrication through the tiny channels. A lack of lubrication might cause the engine to seize or inflict irreversible damage. The sections below will show you how to keep your car’s engine from becoming any worse:

1. Keep Updates On The Oil Levels

Keep an eye on the level as well as apply appropriate engine oil. Make sure it doesn’t get too low. Regularly check the engine oil to avoid this. Parking your car on a level space with a cool engine, open the bonnet check the oil dipstick, wipe the dipstick clean after removing it from its socket and reinstall it completely. Take it out once again to check the oil level.

2. Oil Pressure Sensor Replacement

You’ll have to replace the sensor if it’s broken. To check if the oil pressure sensor is worn out, remove it with an oil pressure sensor socket. If you don’t have the right tools or skills to fix it yourself, have the oil pressure sensor checked by a professional.

oil pressure sensor 0-5 bar

3. Oil Pump Replacement

The oil pump is located at the engine’s bottom. It is contained within the oil pan. Attempting to replace an oil pump is a challenging process.

Oil pump issues are rather uncommon. If your car’s oil pump has to be replaced, replace it rather than wait for maintenance. Because it necessitates substantial engine work, replacing an oil pump is frequently less expensive than fixing one.

4. Cleaning Or Replacing The Oil Filter

A blocked oil filter is a typical problem that causes overheating and other issues. Engine damage from clogged oil filters can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

oil filter

You’re asking for problems if you don’t change your oil filter when it’s scheduled to be changed. Not only will your engine perform badly and burn more gasoline than necessary as a result, but there is also a greater danger of catastrophic damage, necessitating a total rebuild or engine replacement. Always play it safe and follow the instructions in the owner’s handbook.

It’s critical to maintain your automobile operating smoothly by adding fresh motor oil. You should also know how to change your oil filter in order to save money on labor expenditures. If you’re not sure what to do, always seek a skilled technician.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are some frequently asked questions about oil light flickering at idle:

1. What Should I Do If My Oil Light Keeps Flickering?

When the oil light turns on while driving, pull over to the side and turn off the automobile as soon as possible. If the engine runs out of oil it may seize the engine and will cause heavy damage. An accident may occur if the automobile unexpectedly stops while you are on the road.

2. Why Is My Oil Light On Even Though My Oil Isn’t Low?

Your dashboard’s oil lamp does not always signify your oil is low, leaking, or unclean. It’s possible that your oil pressure sensor or oil pump has to be changed instead.

3. What Can I Do About Low Oil Pressure?

Using a higher-viscosity oil, such as moving from 5W-20 to 10W-30, is one option to fix oil pressure in this scenario. This little change in oil viscosity can compensate for the increased bearing clearance, restoring normal oil pressure.

4. Can I Drive With A Flashing Oil Light?

A flashing oil light will usually turn into a real problem after around 2 weeks or 500 miles of driving. However, once it reaches that point, things can quickly deteriorate, resulting in catastrophic mechanical damage. As a result, schedule an appointment with a mechanic as soon as possible.


Getting your automobile serviced on a regular basis is the simplest way to avoid your oil pressure light going on. This includes a routine oil change. That would solve the problem of why oil light flickering at idle.

Engine cracking, a low oil pressure indication, and a loss of power are all symptoms that the engine is having difficulties distributing the oil evenly. Ignoring oil pressure concerns might result in serious engine block troubles.

If you wait too long, you might wind up with a blown engine in the middle of the highway.

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