After oil changes, inspect the engine's light

It’s disturbing to see the Check Engine Light on the dashboard at any time, but it’s even worse after an oil change has been performed. Is it possible to fix the Check Engine Light after an oil change?

Most often, the Check Engine Light comes on after an oil change because the dipstick isn’t seated correctly or the oil fill cap is on backward. Otherwise, it could be due to low oil pressure, too much oil in the system, the wrong oil was used or the sensor didn’t reset. 

We will be discussing each option in this guide. We also examine the ways to turn the light off based on what’s wrong. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. Reasons for Check Engine Lights After an Oil Change
    1. 1. Dipstick isn’t Seated Correctly
    2. 2. The oil fill cap is incorrectly installed
    3. 3. Low Oil Pressure
    4. 4. Too much oil
    5. 5. False Oil
    6. 6. Sensor Didn’t Reset
  2. How to fix the engine light after oil change
    1. 1. Dipstick
    2. 2. Check Oil Filler Cap
    3. 3. Take a moment to start your engine
    4. 4. Get rid of excess oil
    5. 5. Choose the best oil
    6. 6. Reset Codes

Reasons for Check Engine Lights After an Oil Change

1. Dipstick isn’t Seated Correctly

To check oil levels in your engine, you will need a dipstick. The dipstick is removed, cleaned and then put back. This is part of your regular oil change. 

The dipstick should be placed in the tube if it is done properly. This design ensures the seal of the system. However, if the dipstick isn’t put back in just right, air can get into the engine through the tube. It can lead to serious engine damage over the long-term, and it could also cause the Check Engine Light (check engine light) to turn on. 

2. The oil fill cap is incorrectly installed

As important as checking where the dipstick is located, it's also crucial to check how you put the oil fill caps back on. You may have to re-attach the oil fill cap after changing the oil. But, it is not as simple as putting on the gas cap. 

In some cases, it’s possible to put it on backward or not thread it back on all of the way. With either option, the system will notice that there’s an imbalance of air getting into the system and the Check Engine Light might come on. 

3. Low Oil Pressure

Changing the oil itself isn’t going to lead to low oil pressure. However, what could happen is that the system takes a second to realize that there’s enough pressure after the change. 

It could take some time for the oil pressure gauge to read the new pressures after the oil has been drain and reset. The Check Engine Light might temporarily turn on while the oil pressure gauge resets. 

4. Too much oil

When you change the oil, make sure it is the correct amount. The Check Engine Light will turn on if you add too much oil to the engine. A misfiring engine or slow speed could be another sign.

Sometimes, excessive oil may cause a smokey exhaust. The oil that has escaped through the exhaust can cause this smoke. In the worst cases, the engine won’t start at all. 

RELATED : Is Your Car Engine Too Oily? (Here’s What to do)

5. False Oil

Every vehicle must use one type of oil to ensure its engine's optimal performance. It can lead to problems for your car if the oil you select is different in weight and viscosity. A common mistake is to apply 10W-30 while your vehicle only needs 5W-30. 

Oil that is excessively viscous doesn’t provide the same amount of lubrication, ensuring that heat isn’t transferred the way it should be. This problem will cause oil to heat faster, and the Check Engine Light will go on. 

READ MORE: 0w20 vs. 5w20 vs. 5w30 – Oil Viscosity Explained

6. Sensor Didn’t Reset

If the Check Engine Light is on to alert you to the service that’s needed, the oil change would automatically shut it off when the sensor is reset. But not every car has a reset button. 

If the sensor doesn’t reset, you might still see the Check Engine Light or Service Engine warning. It will stay on unless it is manually reset. 

How to fix the engine light after oil change

1. Dipstick

You can fix the issue by simply moving the dipstick. Look under the hood at the dipstick.

If it’s not in the tube correctly, make the necessary adjustments to get it seated. You should also look down into the tube to make sure debris isn’t stopping the stick from getting into place. 

2. Check Oil Filler Cap

Just like with the gas cap after filling up with fuel, it’s easy to keep the oil filler cap off slightly or in the wrong position. You can simply look at it to determine where it's located.

If it’s on backward or doesn’t seem to fit correctly, try again. You can also look in your service manual to find the appropriate way to put on the cap if you aren’t sure, but many cars only allow it to go on one way. 

3. Take a moment to start your engine

You might need to only take a few minutes to fix the problem if it seems like low oil pressure. To see if your engine can figure out the problem on its own, run it for several minutes.

The Check Engine Light will go on as the oil is circulating through the system. If it doesn’t, there’s something larger going on. 

You may need an OBD2 scanner to check if there was temporarily low oil pressure. It might resolve your problem.

RELATED: Can the Check Engine Light Reset Itself? (What happens if the check engine light does not turn on?

4. Get rid of excess oil

The only way to get rid of oil that has been clogged up is to drain it. A suction pump can be used to drain the excess oil. 

Some prefer to use the dipstick tub, others prefer using the cap access. Make sure you do your homework to find out which pump is best for you. 

5. Choose the best oil

You might have to do a fresh oil change if you accidentally used an oil that is not the correct viscosity. Drain the oil and start over with the oil recommended in the owner’s manual.

After you've done the oil change, it is time to replace the filter. After that, you should see the Check Engine Light turn on. 

6. Reset Codes

If the sensor doesn’t turn itself off, the Check Engine Light could remain on after an oil change. This sensor can be reset by you. To start, get your code scanner and plug it in under the driver’s side of the dashboard. Start the device, and then scan for any trouble codes. You can remove any codes that are not related to an existing problem by using your scanner. 

The light will turn on once the process is completed. You can take your car on a test drive in order to make sure the light is not coming back on. If it comes back, it’s time to have a professional look at the system to figure out what’s wrong. 

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