Check Engine Light after Oil Change

Following an oil change, the check engine light may briefly turn on as the oil circulates, building pressure in the engine.

Salman Chaudhary, Founder


Check Engine Light after Oil Change
Check Engine Light after Oil Change

Check Engine Light after Oil Change

What is Check Engine Light ?

The Check Engine Light (CEL) serves as a crucial component of a vehicle's diagnostic system. Its primary purpose is to alert drivers to potential issues within the engine and emission control systems. The CEL acts as an early warning, allowing motorists to address problems promptly, preventing further damage and ensuring the overall health and efficiency of the vehicle.

Signs after CEL Illuminates:

When the Check Engine Light illuminates, it indicates that the onboard computer system has detected a fault. Symptoms associated with the CEL include reduced engine performance, rough idling, poor fuel efficiency, or unusual noises. These indicators serve as signals that necessitate attention to prevent more severe complications.

Is it OK to drive with overfilled oil?

Driving with overfilled oil poses risks to the engine's well-being. It can lead to increased pressure, potential oil foaming, and aeration, all of which may cause damage to critical engine components. Addressing the issue promptly is crucial to prevent further complications and maintain the engine's longevity.

How far can you drive with the engine light on?

Continuing to drive with the Check Engine Light illuminated is not recommended. The duration for which one can drive with the light on depends on the specific issue triggering it. Ignoring the warning may lead to severe engine damage, increased emissions, and a decrease in overall vehicle performance. Immediate attention is always advisable.

Reasons of the Engine Light ON after Oil Change

Incorrect/Wrong Oil

Using the wrong oil type or overfilling the engine oil can trigger the Check Engine Light. It is imperative to adhere to the manufacturer's recommendations for oil type and quantity to ensure proper lubrication and optimal engine health.

Oil Cap Issues

A loose or damaged oil cap can disrupt the oil pressure within the engine, leading to the illumination of the Check Engine Light. Ensuring the oil cap is securely fastened during oil changes is a simple yet critical maintenance step.

Faulty Oil Filter

Faulty oil filters can result in insufficient lubrication, triggering the Check Engine Light. Regularly inspecting and replacing oil filters during scheduled maintenance is vital for ensuring proper oil flow and engine performance.

Oil Leakage

Oil leaks can lead to a reduction in oil levels, prompting the Check Engine Light to illuminate. Identifying and rectifying oil leaks promptly is essential to prevent further engine complications.

Insufficient Oil Level

Insufficient oil levels can cause decreased lubrication, potentially resulting in engine damage. Regularly checking and maintaining the proper oil levels is fundamental to preventing this issue.

Oil Pressure is Low

Inadequate oil pressure may cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. This can be indicative of various issues, such as a failing oil pump or a clogged oil filter, requiring immediate attention.

Oil Dipstick Issues

An improperly seated oil dipstick can trigger a false warning. Ensuring the dipstick is securely in place during oil changes helps prevent unnecessary alerts and ensures accurate oil level readings.

Oxygen Sensor Malfunctioned

A faulty oxygen sensor can lead to false readings, causing the Check Engine Light to come on. Replacing a faulty oxygen sensor is essential for accurate engine performance monitoring and emission control.

Catalytic Converter Issues

Issues with the catalytic converter can trigger the Check Engine Light. Addressing catalytic converter problems promptly is crucial for maintaining optimal emissions and overall engine efficiency.

Faulty Ignition Coil

Malfunctions in the ignition coil may prompt the illumination of the Check Engine Light. Replacing a faulty ignition coil ensures proper combustion and sustained engine performance.

Faulty Spark Plug

Faulty spark plugs can lead to engine misfires, causing the Check Engine Light to come on. Regular inspection and timely replacement of spark plugs contribute to smooth engine operation.

Check Engine Light after Oil Change
Check Engine Light after Oil Change

How to Fix Engine Light After Oil Change

Here's a detailed guide on resolving the check engine light issue with these simple steps:

Solution 1:

When faced with a check engine light due to a lack of oil pressure, follow these steps:

1. Start Your Car: Begin by starting your car and letting it run for a few minutes. This allows the new oil to pump and circulate within the engine.

2. Immediate Remedy: If the lack of oil pressure was the problem, you should notice an immediate remedy as the engine circulates the new oil.

Solution 2:

If the dipstick is not fully seated, take the following steps:

1. Open the Hood: Lift the hood of your car to access the engine compartment.

2. Locate the Dipstick: Find the dipstick within the engine bay.

3. Check for Clogs: Ensure that the dipstick tube is not clogged. If clogged, clear it to allow proper functioning.

4. Readjust the Dipstick: Once confirmed that the tube is clear, readjust the dipstick until it is firmly inserted.

Solution 3:

In case of oil overfill, use these steps to rectify the problem:

1. Access the Engine: Open your car's hood to access the engine.

2. Drain Excess Oil: Use a suction pump to drain the excess oil. Decide whether you want to drain the oil from the dipstick tube or the cap access point, and choose between a manual or an automatic pump.

Solution 4:

Correct the issue of a crooked or backward gas cap with the following steps:

1. Remove the Gas Cap: Take off the gas cap from your vehicle.

2. Correct Positioning: Put the gas cap back on correctly and tightly. Ensure that the writing or any markings on the cap are facing you, as this may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Solution 5:

If the wrong oil was used, follow these steps to rectify the problem:

1. Drain the Oil: Drain the incorrect oil from your vehicle.

2. Replace Oil Filter: Install a new oil filter.

3. Refill with Correct Oil: Refill the car with the correct oil type as specified by the manufacturer.

How to Reset Check Engine Light: Detailed Steps After an Oil Change

Locate the Port

Identify the OBD reader port beneath the dashboard, usually positioned above the foot area. If obstructed, remove any fuse box door to gain access.

Connect the Reader

Connect the OBD reader to the port and power it on by pressing the enter button. This establishes communication between the reader and the vehicle's onboard computer.

Scan for Codes

Allow the OBD reader to scan the engine for error codes. Upon completion, review the displayed codes on the screen. Make note of relevant codes for further investigation.

Erase the Code

Using the scroll button, navigate through the displayed codes. Select the specific code you want to clear and press enter. This action deletes the code, effectively resetting the check engine light.

Restart Your Vehicle

In the event the check engine light does not turn off immediately after code erasure, restart your vehicle. This step ensures a comprehensive system reboot, allowing all components to recalibrate.

By following these detailed steps, you can confidently and effectively reset the check engine light after an oil change using an OBD reader and basic tools.

Seek Professional Assistance

If DIY solutions do not resolve the issue, or if the cause of the Check Engine Light remains unclear, consulting a professional mechanic is advisable. Automotive professionals possess the expertise and diagnostic tools to identify and address complex engine issues, ensuring a thorough resolution.

FAQs: Check Engine light after oil change

Q1: What is the Check Engine Light (CEL)?

The CEL alerts drivers to potential engine and emission system issues, acting as an early warning for timely problem resolution.

Q2: What are signs of the CEL?

Illumination indicates faults, with symptoms like reduced performance, rough idling, poor fuel efficiency, or unusual noises.

Q3: Is it safe to drive with overfilled oil?

No, driving with overfilled oil can risk engine damage due to increased pressure and foaming.

Q4: How far can you drive with the engine light on?

It's not recommended; immediate attention is advised to prevent severe engine damage and decreased performance.

Q5: What causes the Engine Light to come on after an oil change?

Possible causes include using incorrect oil, loose/damaged oil cap, faulty oil filter, oil leaks, low oil levels, and more.

Q6: How to fix the Engine Light after an oil change?

Solutions include checking oil pressure, ensuring a properly seated dipstick, draining excess oil, fixing a crooked gas cap, and using the correct oil.

Q7: When to seek professional assistance?

If DIY solutions don't work or the cause remains unclear, consult a professional mechanic for a thorough resolution.


Effectively addressing the Check Engine Light after an oil change requires a comprehensive understanding of potential causes and the application of appropriate solutions. Timely attention to issues such as using the correct oil type, maintaining proper oil levels, and addressing component malfunctions ensures the continued optimal performance of the vehicle. If uncertainties persist or if the cause of the Check Engine Light remains unclear, seeking professional assistance is recommended for a thorough diagnosis and resolution. Regular maintenance, adherence to manufacturer recommendations, and proactive problem-solving contribute to a healthy and reliable engine system, promoting the longevity of the vehicle.

Informative Video

More Maintenance/Car Care Articles