Oil changes are an unpleasant fact for vehicle owners. While this happens far less than topping off your engine oil, they still need doing to care for your engine. If you are new to driving or you have changed your vehicle, you may wonder, does check engine light come on for oil change? Your vehicle’s check engine light coming on is the first sign that your car may need an oil change.
It can illuminate when oil is dirty, or there is a lack of oil flow, yet you may see it first to signal you are low on oil rather than you are nearing oil change intervals. However, if you see check engine light on after adding oil or having a full oil change, it can mean one or more components have an issue.
The warning light here can show low oil pressure as the oil filler cap, or oil dipstick is not fitted properly. Or it would help if you went through the engine trouble codes as you have another issue that may lead to an expensive repair.
In our guide, you can learn more about what can cause the check engine light to turn on after new oil is added. By the end, you’ll be able to troubleshoot everything from oil reservoir cap concerns or your check engine light error codes pointing to a bad catalytic converter. (Learn How Many Junk Cars Can You Have On Your Property)
Why Is My Check Engine Light On?
There is simply never a suitable time for a breakdown, so having the check engine light on can be unsettling.
An improperly installed oil filler cap frequently brings on a check engine light following an oil change, or an oil dipstick was not properly reinstalled.
The problem can be resolved by seating the dipstick or removing and properly fitting the cap.
The engine light might not turn off immediately, but it will most likely do so after three engine start cycles.
One other thing to note is where you had your oil change. If it was part of your DIY car maintenance, then it could be the oil change meter counter wasn’t reset. (Most often done by a mechanic, who will manually reset this)
Oil Cap Fitted Incorrectly
Incorrectly installing an oil cap could trigger a check engine light like a loose gas cap. Also, your oil filler cap can’t be installed backward as many claims, yet you can forget to put it on or cross-thread it and lose the seal.
Your car’s engine needs a proper air-to-gas ratio to work well. It’s known as the Air Fuel Ratio (AFR). 14.7 air to 1 gas
ECM (Engine Control Module) manages this ratio. It measures air entering the engine with an air intake sensor. Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF)
As the ECM knows how much air enters the engine, it can calculate how much gas to add.
A car’s onboard computer continually looks for faults, even in lean conditions. It employs an exhaust probe to measure how well it’s using fuel. The ECU accepts a variety of oxygen sensor readings based on fuel ratio.
If you have a faulty oxygen sensor and values are outside this window, the ECU lights the check engine light because of a vacuum leak which causes your engine to run lean.
Dipstick Not Seated Correctly
Dipsticks check the engine oil level. The dipstick is withdrawn, cleaned, and reseated multiple times to monitor the oil level during an oil change.
When the dipstick is pressed home, an O-ring seals it and leaving the dipstick out of the dipstick tube lets unmetered air into the engine.
Most shops may not make much on oil changes; as they are part of an overall service and standalone job, they could be a loss leader. Because of this, hasty oil changes can mean missed things as the shop moves on to higher-paying brake jobs, etc. (Learn How To Move An Engine Without A Hoist)
High Oil Level
Too much oil can cause the engine to be sluggish, misfire, leak, or not start. Too much oil is bad, yet not enough is worse.
How to remove excess oil?
Excess oil must be removed; one way to do this is to use an oil siphon. These devices enter the oil reservoir via your dipstick tube, where you can suck out the excess oil.
Ensure you check the levels so you will know once you are at the right level and your check engine light is no longer illuminated.
Check Engine Light on After Oil Change
Here are more reasons your check engine light turning on after oil change:
Lack of Oil Pressure
Proper oil changes shouldn’t briefly trigger the check engine light on many cars.
When you drain engine oil, it resets the oil pressure gauge, and replacing the oil and filter won’t give the gauge a proper reading until it all settles.
The check engine light “thinks” the car is low on oil. Give the oil pump a few minutes to circulate new oil through the engine, and then you should see the check engine light turn off.
You need to turn off your engine and recheck the oil level as the oil needs to fill all parts of your engine and oil filter before you get a proper reading.
Low oil pressure can also signal leaks that you may overlook until the engine is warm after running. However, if you don’t have the proper amount, too much oil can cause leaks when gaskets face too much engine pressure.
Oil Sensor Needs Resetting
If your car permits it, you can also reset the check engine light when it comes on following an oil change.
Here’s how to go about it:
- Insert the ignition key. Watch for the activation of each indicator light. Never start the engine.
- Discover the reset stick. This is often located between the tachometer and speedometer in the gauge cluster.
- Press the “reset” stick repeatedly until the check engine light flashes, showing that the reset was successful.
- Start the car by removing the key from the ignition and replacing it. If there are no further problems with the engine, the check engine indicator lights should go off by this point.
The dreaded check engine light might illuminate for several additional causes. They may be minor problems or more serious ones. In a worst-case scenario, driving your car won’t be safe anymore. To get it to the mechanic’s garage, you might need to have it towed.
Here are more in-depth reasons for your check engine light turning on:
Failing Oxygen Sensor
The component that keeps track of how much fuel the engine of the car is burning is the oxygen sensor. Vehicles often contain two to four oxygen sensors. Even if only one of those issues is enough to make the check engine light come on.
The fuel economy and emissions of the vehicle can be negatively affected by a damaged O2 sensor. In addition, faulty O2 sensors can potentially harm the catalytic converter if ignored.
Faulty Catalytic Converter
One of the most crucial parts of the exhaust system is the catalytic converter. Before it exits the muffler tip, it converts dangerous carbon monoxide into comparatively safe carbon dioxide.
Despite not being a sophisticated component, the catalytic converter is expensive to replace.
Spark Plugs and Ignition
As its name suggests, the ignition coil jolts the spark plugs into action. The fuel in the cylinders is ignited. When a cylinder misfires, it can be a bad spark plug or ignition coil and be enough to turn off the check engine light.
Old spark plugs also drastically slow down your car’s acceleration. Get them replaced as soon as possible, even before the check engine light comes on.
As a diesel car’s engine requires a different type of spark plug that operates on compression rather than a spark, this will only apply to gasoline-powered vehicles. (Learn How Long Does It Take For Heet To Work)
Faulty Airflow Sensor
The air intake system uses the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAS) to track how much air gets into the engine.
It does this to help determine how much fuel the car’s computer (ECU) should feed into the cylinders to guarantee an effective burn.
Increased emissions may result from the unburned fuel, and you can see unburned gas drip from the tailpipe.
Regular cleaning of the air filter is required as a clogged air filter can be a key cause of this. If it’s too old, you could also have to replace it. If you don’t, the sensor will malfunction because not enough air will enter the engine.
Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valves
The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve reduces hazardous nitrogen oxide from the vehicle’s exhaust. By rerouting it back into the combustion chamber, it performs this purpose.
Most modern cars have computer-controlled EGR valves that open and close independently. It has to be a precise ratio, or the flow could be irregular, and you’ll see check engine light after oil change.
How to turn off the check engine light?
Press the accelerator pedal three times in a five-second span. Start the engine. If the oil light goes off, it has been successfully reset.
What is the time it takes for the oil light to turn off?
If your light remains illuminated, your vehicle needs to have its oil or filter changed.
The oil life will be shown in percentages from 10% to 100% in the middle of the dash for around five seconds before going off in a car with an in-cabin message system.
Is it possible for the engine light to turn off by itself?
The check engine light will go out if the issue that caused it is rectified. Therefore, the check engine light may have gone on if your converter is marginal and you drove in stop-and-go traffic frequently, which puts a lot of strain on the converter.
Can I drive with the check engine light illuminated?
It is safe to drive if the check engine light is illuminated. But only if the car’s vital components, including the brakes and lights, are operational. Monitor the warning lights for oil pressure and coolant temperature on your dashboard.