Will check engine light go off after oil change? Unveil the Mystery

Embarking on the journey of car maintenance, we often find ourselves pondering a common question: Will the check engine light go off after an oil change? And how can it be fixed?

We delve into the intricacies of this automotive mystery, exploring the factors that influence the elusive engine light and providing valuable insights on what to expect after your vehicle’s oil change.

What does “check engine light” mean?

The check engine light is an indicator, transmitted by the vehicle’s engine computer, alerting you of a potential issue.

An image of a car with check engine light on
A car with a check engine light on Source: mechanicbase


What causes the check engine light to go off after an oil change?

An improperly seated dipstick or a backward oil fill cap is most often the main cause of the Check Engine Light turning on after an oil change.

Alternatively, it may result from low oil pressure, excessive oil, incorrect oil type, or a sensor not resetting.

Let’s explore further insights into the potential causes behind your car’s check engine light illuminating post-oil change.

  1. Incorrect Dipstick Placement

During routine oil changes, remove, clean, and correctly reinsert the dipstick, which is crucial for gauging oil levels.

Incorrectly re-inserting the dipstick can introduce air into the engine, triggering the check engine signal.

  1. Reduced Oil Pressure

Altering the oil won’t cause low oil pressure directly.  However, there might be a brief delay in the system recognizing sufficient pressure after the change.

Moreover, draining the oil from the car’s engine resets the oil pressure gauge.

Simply replacing the oil and installing a new filter doesn’t allow sufficient time for the gauge to read accurately.

As a result, the check engine light may temporarily illuminate because the car falsely perceives low oil levels.

  1. Incorrect Installation of Oil Fill Cap

Occasionally, individuals may refuel after an oil change, but improperly securing the gas cap—whether placing it backwards or leaving it too loose—can trigger system alerts, causing the check engine light to illuminate.

  1. Excessive Oil

It is crucial to use the correct quantity of oil when replenishing the engine.

Overfilling the system may trigger the Check Engine Light and could result in symptoms like misfiring or sluggish engine performance.

In some cases, excessive oil can lead to a smoky exhaust or in worse cases, a stalled engine.

  1. Using an incorrect oil type

It’s crucial to use the appropriate oil for your vehicle.

Using oil with the wrong viscosity, grade, or weight can lead to issues for your car.

Let’s explore further insights into the potential causes behind your car’s check engine light illuminating post-oil change.

Fixing the Check Engine Light Issue After an Oil Change

  1. Inspect the Dipstick

If you suspect the issue is related to the dipstick’s placement, you have an easy solution. Pop open the hood and examine the dipstick.

Adjust it if it’s not correctly placed.

Photo of a car owner checking using a dipstick to check oil levels
Checking out oil levels using a dipstick


  1. Run the Engine for a Few Minutes

In case the issue is reduced oil pressure, start your vehicle and let it run for a few minutes, enabling the new oil to circulate through the engine.

If this causes the issue, the check engine light should promptly resolve.

  1. Inspect the Oil Filler Cap

Similar to the gas cap when refueling, it’s common to leave the oil filler cap slightly open or in the incorrect position. To address this, the cap is examined to ensure it is properly positioned.

  1. Remove Excess Oil

In the case of overfilling, the sole solution is to remove the excess. A suction pump is used to drain off the surplus oil.

  1. Choose the Correct Oil

If you encounter issues due to using the wrong oil, consider conducting a fresh oil change with the appropriate viscosity.

Drain the oil and commence the process afresh using the oil specified in the owner’s manual.

Completing that turns off the Check Engine Light.


In summary, figuring out the check engine light after an oil change is like solving a puzzle.

However, we can understand it better with the insights we’ve gained from this exploration.

Solutions for issues like an improperly seated dipstick, problems with the oil fill cap, or the necessity for the right oil viscosity are within your reach.

Remember, a momentary illumination may be due to the system adapting, but persistent issues demand attention.

By addressing these factors with precision, you’ll not only turn off the check engine light but ensure the smooth performance and longevity of your vehicle.

Happy driving!

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