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Low Engine Oil Signs – What Are The Causes?

Low Engine Oil Signs

Engine oil is basically the life source of your car. Engine oil is the thick fluid that needs to be the right viscosity to lubricate and fuel your car properly. The lubrication prevents overheating, excess friction of metal on metal contact, and provides cooling for your car’s engine. All engines need oil, but the type of oil that your specific car needs will depend on what specific type of engine you have. 

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Although there are various causes as to your engine not working correctly, if you notice low engine oil symptoms, you should find out the cause as soon as possible to prevent any further damage. 

What is engine oil?

When talking about what kind of engine oil you need and the function of this liquid in your car, it plays a vital role in the vehicle’s lubrication process. Different kinds of engine oil work efficiently, depending on what kind of engine you have. 


The type of engine oil you need varies depending on the engine’s performance engine and when the engine was manufactured. Newer engines have more specific requirements for fuel economy when it comes to oil consumption, with older engines having a wider variety of oil types that can be used. If you realize any low engine oil symptoms, then you will have to refill the tank. 


Preventing low engine oil symptoms can prevent your engine from running erratically and causing a drop in performance. In addition, low engine oil symptoms can lead to a problem with the engine, leading to expensive and severe issues. By recognizing and fixing low engine oil symptoms, you can keep your car running at an optimal performance level. Keep reading to find out the symptoms of low oil pressure so you can prevent the problem from getting worse over time!


  • Different Types of Engine Oil


There are two main types of engine oil that you will find to put in your vehicle – either mineral or synthetic oil. Mineral oil is a petroleum product, while synthetic oil is developed unnaturally, made from a laboratory production instead of being a part of the earth. Although mineral oil is cheaper, synthetic oil is more high-end, high-quality, long-lasting, and provides better performance benefits. Keep an eye out for any low engine levels, so you do not experience any low engine oil symptoms. 


  • Why Engine Oil Is Important 



We already know that engine oil is a key ingredient and lubricant for your vehicle. Now let’s find out the other reasons as to why engine oil is so important to use in your car:

  • Engine oil needs to provide proper lubrication for the internal engine parts that are susceptible to overheating, excess friction, and rubbing against each other during use. The lubricating aids in keeping the moving parts protected and preventing them from excess wear and tear too early. Without the engine oil, metal-on-metal contact would absolutely damage your engine to the point of no return very shortly, leading to an expensive and extensive replacement. 
  • The second main reason as to why engine oil is vital for your vehicle is cooling the parts due to overheating. Most of the cooling required is supplied by the coolant system, like the radiator or the water pump. 
  • The last reason why engine oil is essential in your car is to clean the engine and prevent any buildup of debris, dirt, and contaminants. 



  • When to Change Your Engine Oil


Although there is not one universal recommendation as to the right time to change your oil since all engines are different, you should still adhere to a few key principles. With higher quality oil blends, like synthetic oil, you can last a bit longer between changes, going upward of 10,000 miles before requiring a change.


However, if you use the traditional mineral oils or are unsure how long it has been since your last oil change, you should stick with the general rule of getting your oil changed every three months or 3,000 miles. 


  • Choosing the Right Engine Oil For Your Car


When deciding what kind of engine oil to buy, you might be debating between conventional (mineral) or synthetic options on the market. This can lead to a confusing decision – but we are here to help. The biggest piece of advice for choosing what kind of engine oil works best for your car is to look at your car’s manual.


By looking at your car’s manual or asking your local mechanic what kind of engine oil is best for your vehicle, you can prevent any unwanted damages or repairs that can come from improperly lubricating the inner parts of your engine. If you frequently use engine oil with the wrong viscosity, you might not be properly lubricating and cooling your engine during use. Furthermore, if you use the wrong engine oil, whether it be conventional or synthetic, this can drastically shorten your engine’s lifespan. 

Symptoms of Low Engine Oil 


Having low engine oil in your vehicle can lead to a problem that only gets worse over time. Keeping your oil at the proper level can prevent your car from breaking down on the road, parts from getting worn out too quickly, and your car from having more expensive replacements and repairs as it ages. Let’s see what the most common low engine oil symptoms are. 


  • Oil Warning Light


Possibly the most noticeable low engine oil symptom that most drivers and passengers notice is the oil warning light flashing on their dashboard, indicating there is a problem you need to take care of immediately. This suggests that you have low engine oil since there is not enough oil in your engine to run the car and power the vehicle to drive on the road. 


Inside your car, a sensor analyzes and detects the engine oil level in your car. It is also in charge of analyzing the amount of oil pressure present in your vehicle. Low engine oil can trigger this sensor, turning on the dashboard light to alert the driver of the problem and low engine oil symptoms. 


  • Knocking Noises


Another noticeable sign of low engine oil symptoms is knocking noises and loud sounds coming from your engine. Since these sounds will be very noticeable to everyone in the cabin, this is a symptom that is easy to recognize before the problem gets any worse. You will only see this low engine oil symptom if there is no correct oil level in your car, so you need to get it fixed right away.


When your engine and parts components lack lubrication and frequently rub against each other, causing excess friction and heat, the engine rods become looser and unable to function at the right level. Once this happens, you will immediately notice the low engine oil symptoms and overheating within the internal combustion cabin. 


  • Burning Smell


The third sign of low engine oil symptoms in your vehicle is the burning smell. Any smell in your car is not a sign of your car working correctly and usually indicates a problem that should be taken care of. However, a burning smell is a severe problem that generally signals low engine oil. 


Your engine has many components and parts that work together to run the car smoothly and efficiently. Most of these internal parts and mechanisms are made of metal, and they frequently come in contact with other metal, leading to increased friction and overheating. The oil is a lubricant that prevents heat from getting too high within the engine. If the oil is too low and causes the onset of low engine oil symptoms, you will see that the engine is not cooling off during use.


  • Dipstick Test


If you need to confirm your car has low engine oil levels, then a dipstick test can help put your mind at ease and figure out the cause of low engine oil symptoms. Ensure that your engine is turned off and has cooled before you do this test to prevent any hot oil from coming in contact with your skin. 


If the dipstick test shows that you have less engine oil than the minimum requirements, you need to add more oil to your car to keep it running safely and smoothly. Adding more oil to a low level can prevent any further low engine oil symptoms from happening in your car. 


  • Engine Failure


The worst aftereffect of the low engine oil symptoms in your car is engine failure. An engine failure is one of the most expensive repairs and replacements in your car since you will not be able to drive with this problem. If this is the case, you will have to pay a lot of money and spend a lot of time fixing the low engine oil symptoms. 


  • Reduced Engine Performance


Another noticeable low engine oil symptom to look out for is a less efficient performance and a reduced horsepower number in your car. Your car is usually designed and manufactured to deliver an impressive and competitive fuel economy. However, if your car has low engine oil, then you might notice a drop in performance and a lack of acceleration.

Low Engine Oil Causes

In order to figure out why you are experiencing low engine oil symptoms in your vehicle, there are certain causes that you need to take note of that can damage internal parts and lead to reduced engine performance. The top three causes are the wrong type of oil viscosity used, a faulty or broken oil pump, or an internal oil leak that is causing the low engine oil. 


  • Wrong Oil Viscosity


One reason why you might have low engine oil symptoms is that you are using the wrong kind of motor oil. Make sure you read your vehicle’s manual or bring your car to a local mechanic to determine the right type of oil viscosity that needs to be used in your specific car. Low viscosity fluids produce less resistance and can reduce oil pressure, keeping your engine healthy and running at a high-performing level.


  • Faulty Oil Pump


Low engine oil pressure can also drop due to fuel pump damage. If the fuel pump is not working correctly, the oil pump must move the motor lubricant through the engine system. If the engine oil pump becomes damaged, the oil will not move around the system at the right capacity and speed, leading to low engine oil symptoms. 


When the oil pump is not working well, the tubes’ pressure will drop and cause low engine oil symptoms. The low pressure can be due to the incorrect installation of the oil pump, poor maintenance of the pump, and oil contamination and debris within the pump.


  • Internal Oil Leak


A leak within the tubes and the engine system can lead to low engine oil symptoms. Instead of the oil moving through these tubes at the right capacity and speed, the oil will leak through the engine’s cracks or holes, causing a drop in pressure and fluid levels. 


Some common causes of the internal oil leaks and the low engine oil symptoms are broken piston rings and damaged valve seals. If the excess space in the valve guides is present, this can reduce the oil pressure. 



As you can see, one of the most critical fluids and internal parts of your car is the motor oil. Without this liquid, the lubrication of your engine would not take place, and the metal parts would rub against each other, causing excess friction, overheating, and premature wear and tear. This engine oil helps lubricate the components and keep your engine cool to run properly and for a long time. 


Figuring out the most common low engine oil symptoms can help you prevent any further issues in your vehicle. Knowing the cause of the low engine oil and low engine oil symptoms can help you diagnose the issue and prevent it from causing any further damage in your vehicle. 

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