Do Check Engine Lights Come On For Oil Changes?

Car maintenance is vital for its increased lifespan and safety. However, that is easier said than done, especially for new and inexperienced drivers. In fact, many experienced drivers need clarification on various engine oil-related issues. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for drivers of varying experience to wonder whether the Check Engine Lights indicate that the engine oil needs a replacement.

This guide tries to resolve this query and answer if the Check Engine Lights come on for an oil change. So, buckle up, and let’s dive right in as we look for answers related to the Check Engine Lights.

Do Check Engine Lights Come On For Oil Changes?

If you are wondering whether the Check Engine Lights come on when the oil needs to be changed, the answer is yes and no. This is because oil replacement doesn’t directly toggle Check Engine Light. However, if your oil replacement is overdue, it gives rise to certain conditions which can turn on the Check Engine Lights.

Check Engine Lights are not designed to be on when the periodic replacement of engine oil is due. However, old oil that requires a replacement can create specific issues with the standard functionality of the car, specifically the engine component, which may trigger this indication. The primary reasons for this indication are dirty, less viscous, and poor-quality oil.

To understand this concept in more depth, let’s look at various reasons directly linked to Check Engine Lights. You will see how some of them tie back to the engine oil needing a replacement.

Possible Reasons For Check Engine Lights To Come On

Needing an oil change can be a reason for the Check Engine Lights to come on, but it’s certainly not the only one. You should be aware of different reasons for this indication as it can prevent the severe breakdown of the car and its components. We have discussed some of the common triggers for this indication below.

1.    Overheating

When the engine oil exceeds its optimal temperature and causes overheating in the engine, the Check Engine Lights come on to indicate this issue. You can also notice other overheating indications, like AT Oil Temp light switch and smoke under the hood. It is a severe issue that can severely damage your engine and needs to be rectified on a priority basis with an oil change.

2.    Low Oil Pressure

Another problem that can hinder your car’s efficiency and is highlighted with Check Engine Lights turning on is the low oil pressure in the engine. If the proper oil change regime isn’t being followed, or you’re using poor quality motor oil that’s not suited for your engine, it causes low engine oil pressure. Another indication of this defect is the oil lights turning on.

3.    Problem With The Emissions System

The car’s emissions system is an essential circuit that emits all the wastes and chemical by-products from ignition by a safe passage through the exhaust pipe. Any problem with the emissions system, like a blockage in the path, can jeopardize the health and safety of the car and reduce fuel economy as well. Sometimes, the Engine Lights turning can indicate a problem in the emissions systems.

4.    Problem With The Oxygen Sensor

Another potential reason for the Check Engine Lights indication is a problem with one of the oxygen sensors installed in the car. There are usually 2 to 4 oxygen sensors that monitor fuel consumption by measuring any unburned oxygen going out of the car’s exhaust. A fault in any of the oxygen sensors may result in this indication and needs to be dealt with immediately.

5.    Problem With The Gas Cap

The gas cap is one tiny component of the car that may not seem to be of any particular value. However, its worth can’t be undermined as it prevents gas leakage from the fuel compartment, reducing emissions and increasing fuel efficiency. If the gas gap comes loose, you can get an indication of Check Engine Lights in your car. You can rectify this by tightening the gas cap or buying or new one in case of damage.

6.    Problem With The Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is one of the more essential components of the car as it converts the dangerous carbon monoxide gas into carbon dioxide, which is safe for emission. It is a critical piece of equipment that could fail due to a fault in spark plugs, oxygen sensors, or some other components that function in tandem with it. Any malfunction in the catalytic converter’s working can turn on the Check Engine Lights.

7.    Problem With The Spark Plugs

Spark plugs play an essential role in starting your car as they generate a spark for the initial combustion of the fuel. Wear and tear and aging can result in the misfiring of the spark plugs, which creates problems with the car startup and turning on the Check Engine Light. In such cases, spark plugs should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid further inconvenience.

8.    Problem With The Airflow Sensors

The airflow sensors work like oxygen sensors and measure airflow in the engine compartment for efficient fuel consumption indication. Any fault in these sensors results in poor mileage and reduced fuel efficiency. Furthermore, they cause the Check Engine Lights to be on, causing more nuisance for the driver. Proper maintenance and replacement of airflow sensors can deal with this issue effectively.

Other Indications For Oil Changes

Now that we have established that Check Engine Lights can turn on when the engine oil needs to be changed, there are several other indications we need to look out for. We have mentioned some of the most common indicators of motor oil needing a replacement below:

  • Aside from the Check Engine Lights, there are designated Oil Change Lights that stipulate the oil’s requirement to be changed. Keep an eye out for this alarm for proper lubrication of your engine.
  • Usually, the excessive waste emitting from your car’s exhaust is in the form of transparent smoke. However, if it turns into thick and dark cloudy smoke, it indicates that your engine oil needs to be changed.
  • In case of oil leakage, you can sense the smell of oil and exhaust fumes in your car. Don’t procrastinate in such a case; call a mechanic immediately to prevent engine damage.
  • If the oil compartment gets filled with dust particles and other contaminants, you can tell by its color turning dark. In such a case, get the engine oil replaced on a priority basis, as dirty oil can hamper your engine’s performance.
  • As a significant function of engine oil is to act as a protective layer on the engine components and avoid metal-to-metal contact, you can hear engine noise and knocking sounds if it gets less dense. In such a case, replace the engine oil immediately, as the metal friction can result in sparkings and engine fires.

Can You Drive With Check Engine Lights On?

It is possible to drive the car with the Check Engine Lights on, but it’s never recommended. In fact, it is advisable not to drive a vehicle with this indication as it can be detrimental to the car and driver’s safety. If you have your Check Engine Lights on, we recommend calling a mechanic for help and sorting out the overarching issue before taking your vehicle back on the road.


With this, our guide on whether the need for an oil change can trigger Check Engine Lights is concluded. We have discussed all the potential reasons for this indicator light to come on in-depth, and we hope you will heed such warnings while driving. If you like this guide, make sure to comment down your thought and review.






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