It is critical to change the oil at regular intervals. If you see the check engine light after changing the oil, it is possible that the dipstick was not properly seated, the oil fill cap was not properly installed, or the oil pressure was low.

Let us learn more about the engine check light and its use.

What Does Your Check Engine Light Mean?

The check engine light, also known as the MIL (Malfunction indicator lamp), is found on the dashboard. It is usually red or yellow, with the words “Check” or “Service Engine” depending on the brand of your car. The check engine light will usually turn on or start flashing. 

Check Engine Light On vs. Check Engine Light Flashing

If the check engine light is on, the problem will likely be minor. To avoid serious damage, you can still drive the car to the nearest service center and have the issue diagnosed. When the check engine light flashes, it indicates that there is a serious problem with the engine, such as unburned fuel or misfiring.

The engine check light is essential for detecting engine problems; therefore, it should never be ignored. If the check engine light comes on, don’t drive the car until you figure out why it’s on. In this article, we will go over the causes of the check engine light in detail.

Causes of Check Engine Light After Oil Change

Changing the oil involves removing the oil cap, draining the old oil, and adding the new oil. When you use the wrong oil or change the oil incorrectly, the check engine light usually turns on. Sometimes you may see white smoke after changing the oil of your vehicle.

Also, it takes some time for the oil to settle in the engine passages and build the proper oil pressure. There is a chance that the check engine light will go out once the oil sensor detects the oil pressure.

There could be several reasons why your check engine light came on after the oil change –

1. Oil Filler Cap is Incorrectly Installed

The engine check light will illuminate if the oil filler cap is not correctly installed. The oil filler cap is necessary to prevent oil from spilling out. The oil filler cap also ensures that no outside contaminants enter the tank. If you see oil filler cap leaking in any way, this can be a cause of the check engine light. Be sure not to overtighten the oil filler cap, as this might damage the seals.

2. Dipstick is Not Properly Placed

A dipstick is used to check the engine oil level, and in case no oil spotted on the dipstick, we refill it. Air can enter the oil tank when the dipstick is not properly seated in the tube. Insert the dipstick from the correct side and push it back in. This air can cause damage to engine internals of the engine, such as cylinder walls, pistons, and valves.

3. Excessive Oil in the Engine

If you put too much oil in the engine, the check engine light will most likely illuminate. Too much oil can cause pressure on the oil filler cap or foam in the oil. Overfilled oil even by a quart, can cause an oil leak, tailpipe smoke, or a misfire. So make sure not to fill the oil reservoir above the maximum level indicated.

4. Low Oil Pressure

Putting new oil in the oil tank takes some time to settle in the sump. After you drain the old oil, the oil pressure gauge gets reset and shows low oil pressure reading. The check light will automatically turn off after the oil pressure sensor detects the oil pressure. Incorrect oil pressure readings from the bouncy oil pressure gauge can also cause your check engine light to illuminate. Sometimes, the oil pressure also causes the oil light to blink.

5. Using the Incorrect Viscosity of Oil

Using the proper viscosity oil is critical for the engine. High-viscosity oil is recommended for high temperatures, whereas low-viscosity oil is recommended for cold temperatures. The wrong viscosity oil can cause improper engine lubrication and turn the check engine light on.

How to Turn Off the Check Engine Light After Oil Change?

The check engine light is a warning that you shouldn’t ignore. The problem causing the check engine light to come on cannot be fixed by turning it off or resetting it.

However, if everything is fine, you can reset the check engine light using a few easy steps.

Method 1:

  1. Turn on the ignition and wait for the dashboard lights to illuminate fully.
  2. Press the gas at least three times for five seconds at a time.
  3. Turn the engine on to check whether the check engine light is still on or off.

Method 2:

  1. Turn on the ignition and wait for the dashboard lighting to come on.
  2. Find the “reset” stick between the tachometer and the speedometer.
  3. Until the check engine light blinks, repeatedly press the “reset” stick. 

FAQ’s on Check Engine Light After Oil Change

Sometimes the oil pressure sensor has trouble registering newly added oil, which results in the check engine light turning on. If you believe the oil pressure sensor is not registering the oil pressure, it is advised that you drive the car for at least 50 to 100 miles. You can also reset the check engine light.


In conclusion, if the check engine light comes on, something wasn’t done correctly when changing the oil. You may not have properly reinstalled the oil cap or dipstick. Additionally, it’s possible that the oil tank is overfilled or the incorrect oil was used.

Before you start the car, make sure the problem is fixed. Make sure to reset your check engine light if it won’t turn off. Visit the mechanic if the check engine light continues to come on even after resetting.

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