Can Low Oil cause Check Engine Light to Flash?

Can Low Oil cause Check Engine Light to Flash?

When the check engine warning indicator starts flashing, it often induces anxiety.

Is low engine oil a potential cause of the check engine light? We explore this rare occurrence.

We discuss when low oil might trigger the flashing check engine light and provide guidance.

An image illustration of low Oil cause Check Engine light to Flash
Can low Oil cause Check Engine light to Flash
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Is it possible for low oil to trigger the flashing of the check engine light?

While low oil can lead to the check engine light turning on, it’s uncommon for it to cause the light to flash.

When the check engine light flashes, it signifies that the engine isn’t functioning properly due to an electric sensor detecting an issue.

To make the check engine light flash due to low oil, the oil level would have to be extremely low.

This is because oil plays a crucial role in lubricating the engine components and regulating their temperature.

If the oil level is dangerously low, the engine’s temperature can rise significantly.

In such a scenario, the increased heat can activate one of the engine sensors, causing the check engine light to flash and potentially leading to a misfire.

However, this situation is quite rare because the engine would be on the brink of serious damage.

You would likely notice symptoms such as unusual noises, decreased performance, and other issues before reaching this critical point.

Another situation where an oil-related problem can trigger the flashing of the engine management light is a sudden and significant drop in oil pressure.

However, this is typically associated with a severe, sudden oil leak.

In such cases, the engine could be at risk of damage without prior warning, and the vehicle would likely be undrivable.

What should be your course of action when the check engine light is flashing?

When the check engine light begins to flash, your immediate response should be to pull over right away.

‘Limp home’ mode limits revs to around 3000rpm and significantly restricts speed, typical during a flashing check engine light.

In some cases, the engine may shut down for safety, only restarting after fixing the issue and clearing the ECU fault code.

An image illustration of Check Engine Light Flashing due to Low Oil
Check Engine Light Flashing due to Low Oil
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What to do if the flashing check engine light is due to low oil

If you suspect that low oil is the culprit behind the flashing check engine light, the first step is to top up the oil and observe if the vehicle functions properly once the oil level has been corrected.

This assumes you have the necessary oil on hand, but it’s advisable to avoid driving the vehicle if possible.

It’s important to note that cars typically don’t run low on oil without a reason, especially considering that there would be minimal oil in the engine if it’s causing overheating.

You should be aware that the vehicle may have an oil leak or be consuming oil.

In such cases, adding oil is just the initial step; a more thorough investigation will be required.

Clearing the ECU fault code is often needed to stop the flashing check engine light, even after oil correction

To do this, you’ll need a code reader or the assistance of a mechanic with a diagnostic machine.

If you opt for a mechanic’s assistance, you’ll be in the best position to determine whether the issue was related to the oil level or an entirely different problem.

Can you continue driving when the check engine light is flashing?

When the check engine light is flashing, it signifies that your vehicle’s engine control unit has identified a potentially severe issue that could lead to significant engine damage.

This may involve problems like engine misfires, catalytic converter faults, low oil levels, or other critical issues.

Consequently, it is not advisable to keep driving with the check engine light flashing.

What can lead to the flashing of the engine light?

Check engine light flashes from engine misfires or limp home mode activation.

An engine misfire occurs when cylinders aren’t all functioning, reducing performance and risking damage.

Misfires often result from electrical issues with sensors or ignition components.

Use a diagnostic tool when the check engine light flashes to identify and fix the problem.

Limp home mode limits acceleration and speed to prevent further damage to the vehicle.


The question revolves around the potential link between low oil levels and the activation of a flashing check engine light in a vehicle.

This summary highlights the concern and explores the factors that might lead to such a situation.

Emphasizing the importance of addressing the issue promptly to prevent engine damage and ensure proper automotive maintenance.

ALSO READ : Can low Engine Oil cause Overheating?

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