You have your car oil changed. And then, as soon as you turn it back on and the check engine light appears on the dashboard. What could have triggered the light to come on? What can you do to resolve it?
Check engine light after oil change can illuminate if the dipstick or oil fill cap isn’t correctly mounted. Other possible causes include low oil pressure, using the wrong oil, too much oil in the system, or the sensor didn’t reset itself after the oil change.
In this guide, we have discussed full details about all these possible causes for the check engine light to come on after changing your car oil, how to fix them and make the light go off, and so much more.
Why does check engine light come on after oil change?
As we just hinted in the intro, many things can trigger the check engine light (CEL) to come on after oil change.
Below, we have outlined the most common causes of CEL after oil change:
- Dipstick not correctly seated: The dipstick lets you check the oil level in the engine. During an oil change, this part is usually removed, cleaned, and then reseated multiple times to check oil level. The dipstick is designed to fit snugly in the dipstick tube, and an O-ring creates a seal that sets it in place. If not seated correctly, unmetered air will get easy entry into the engine, risking damage to internal parts of engine such as valves, pistons, cylinder walls, etc. This is another way the CEL is likely to come on.
- Gas cap not correctly mounted: If you filled your gas tank after an oil change, you may have incorrectly screwed on the gas cap. This means you may have left it loose or backward, a minor issue that causes the check engine to come on.
- Low oil pressure: When you drain the old oil from your car engine, the oil pressure gets will be reset. When you put in new oil and add a clean filter, the gauge will not have adequate time to reset. As a result, the computer will thin oil pressure is low and cause the CEL to pop on.
- Using the wrong oil: Using the wrong type of oil on your car will also create problems that offset the CEL. Different types of engine oils have varying viscosity, weight, and grade. Using oil that’s too viscous for your car will not offer proper lubrication, and this means heat will not be transferred correctly. The oil will get hot pretty fast and cause the CEL.
- Too much oil: Putting too much oil in the engine can also trigger the check engine light. Your car may stall as the engine becomes sluggish and starts misfiring. Excess oil can also cause smoke to appear from the tailpipe or even oil leak.
How do you fix check engine light after an oil change?
You can fix check engine light oil change by inspecting your vehicle engine for the above issues and correcting them as described below:
Check that the dipstick is correctly seated. locate the dipstick under the hood for inspection. ensure the tube isn’t clogged and then proceed to readjust the dipstick until it is firmly in place
If you used the wrong oil, drain it from your vehicle as soon as possible and then refill your car with the right type of oil. Be sure to replace the oil filter as well.
Check that the gas cap is correctly put in place and feels tight.
If you overfilled the oil, use a suction pump to help you drain the excess oil. You can do so from the dipstick tube or cap access point.
To solve the low oil pressure issue, start your car and let it run for some minutes. This will give the oil time to pump and circulate the engine, helping remedy the check engine light issue.
How to reset check engine light after an oil change?
If the check engine light doesn’t go away after trying the above solutions, you can manually reset the check engine light.
One way to do it includes disconnecting the positive battery terminal for 15-20 minutes and then reconnecting it. This method will erase the fault codes causing the CEL to illuminate, making the light go off.
You can also reset the CEL by using an OBD II scanning tool. This tool pulls the error codes that triggered the light. It also has an “Erase” option that lets you clear the codes and reset the CEL.
Once the light goes off, you can take your car for a test drive to ensure everything runs smooth and the light is off.
If the light comes back on, then you should have a professional carry a diagnosis of your car to find out what problem is causing the CEL to stay on.
Why is your Car shaking and check engine light on after oil change?
If your car is shaking and at the same time the check engine light comes on after an oil change, the reason could be using the wrong type of oil, too much oil, lack of enough oil, a choked air filter, or a disconnected sensor.
These are pretty much the same problems that cause the check engine light to turn on after an oil change.
Now, if you get rough engine vibrations after the oil change, we advise you to check the oil levels to ensure it’s at the optimum level; not overfilled or low. Check whether the air filter is correctly placed in its housing in a clean and unpacked state.
Confirm that you use the correct oil for your car engine. Above all, check for any accidentally disconnected sensors in the engine bay.
If these fixes don’t reset the CEL, have the fault codes read by a mechanic or dealership to find out the problem your car has and get it fixed.
Does oil viscosity cause check engine light?
Yes! Oil viscosity may also cause the check engine light to come on. Viscosity simply refers to oil’s resistance to flow and shear.
The thick the oil the higher the viscosity, and the greater resistance to flow it has (and vice versa).
That said, oil that’s too thin will not provide enough lubrication to offer protection to the engine. This will trigger the CEL to come on.
Also, if the oil is too thick, it will have restricted flow and this can result in engine damage. This will cause the engine check light to show up.
You can avoid issues caused by oil viscosity by making sure you always use the right type of engine oil for your vehicle.
Should you drive with check engine on after oil change?
We don’t advise you to continue driving your car once the check engine comes on. This is especially true for a flashing CEL which denotes an issue that requires immediate attention.
Once the light appears, observe how your car is behaving? Is it operating smoothly? Or does it produce noises? Is it shaking and bucking?
If you don’t notice anything unusual, it may be safe to drive your car.
But even then, we suggest that you drive it straight to the mechanic shop so they can diagnose it and figure out what problem it has.If you’re looking for more information on how to address a check engine light after an oil change, you might find our articles on legal and illegal methods for removing the light and how to reset the light without a scanner helpful. Our article on legal and illegal methods for removing the light discusses the pros and cons of different approaches. Meanwhile, our article on how to reset the light without a scanner offers step-by-step instructions for resetting the light using various methods.
1. Can check engine light come on because of an oil change?
NO, the check engine light should not come on because of an oil change, provided you did the oil change correctly. However, a few issues may offset the CEL light after an oil change. These include using the wrong type of oil, low oil pressure, and overfilling the oil. Other issues that may cause CEL after an oil change include an incorrectly seated dipstick and a crooked or backward gas cap.
2. How long does it take for a check engine light to go off after an oil change?
The check engine oil doesn’t come on because of an oil change. As such, changing the oil will not cause it to go away. The best way to reset the light is to have the fault codes that triggered it read. Only then can you discover what problem your car is going through and fix it, clearing the check engine light.
Having your car oil changed may result in the check engine light popping on and even your car shaking when you start it. The key causes for the check engine light include the wrong oil, improperly seated dipstick, loose or incorrectly fitted gas cap, and low oil pressure. Overfilling your engine oil can also trigger the check engine light.
Luckily, you can solve the issue by following the quick fixes we have discussed in the above guide, all of which are DIY and don’t require a professional. We have also shared effective methods for resetting the check engine light. If the light comes back on after a reset, we advise you to have a professional look at your vehicle for the underlying problem and have it fixed.