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Why You Shouldn’t Drive with a Low Oil Level 

pouring oil into engine

Is driving with a low oil level or with your oil light on really a big deal? In short—yes! Oil is an integral part of the safe and successful operation of your vehicle, and you shouldn’t drive with a low oil level.  

The Dangers of a Low Oil Level 

Why is oil important?

It’s important to understand what oil does, so that the dangers of low oil become clear. The role of oil is to keep your car’s engine going. With so many quickly moving metal-on-metal parts, proper lubrication is the only way to create a protective barrier for smooth operation. Oil can prevent your vehicle from overheating as well as keeps engine parts from scraping, causing excessive wear and damage. It can also remove deposits and inhibit corrosion. Plus, a well-maintained engine will help you get the best gas mileage.  

Driving with a low oil level means that your vehicle will not be protected and could sustain damage.  

How to prevent low oil levels

It’s a good idea to check your oil often with the dipstick to assess wear and levels. Many current vehicles come with an oil sensor that can alert you if your oil is low or if the oil’s integrity has become degraded. When you check your oil level, also complete a visual inspection of your engine to see if you can spot any seepage. Also, pay attention to where you park to see if any oil is leaking from the bottom, leaving the tell-tale greasy spot under your vehicle.  

What if your oil light comes on?

If your vehicle’s oil light comes on, determine why the light is on. Most vehicles have two different alerts for oil. One shows your oil life percentage and is there to alert you when it’s time to schedule an oil change. If that light comes on, simply schedule an oil change at your local dealership service department.  

If the emergency oil light comes on, that could be a sign of a problem. Pull off the road right away so you can assess the safety of your vehicle. If you see oil leaking from underneath or at the top of the engine, you know your vehicle isn’t safe to drive. Let your vehicle cool and check oil level and quality with the dipstick. If you have a leak, no oil is showing on the dipstick or you spot any other issues, contact a tow company to have them bring your vehicle in for service.     

How often should you change your oil?

It’s likely that you’ve heard the three months or 3,000 miles rule. The truth is, that the length in time between your vehicle’s oil changes can depend on a variety of factors including: 

  • Distance of commute/time vehicle runs each day 
  • Usage conditions including stop-and-go traffic or towing heavy loads 
  • The type of oil your vehicle uses – conventional, blend or full synthetic 
  • Engine type – internal combustion engine or hybrid 

Most modern vehicles use some type of blend or synthetic oil, which can go from 7,500 up to 15,000 miles before needing to be changed.  

A Low Oil Level is Serious

Oil is vital to the operation of your vehicle. A low oil level can be dangerous and can negatively affect both the safety of the vehicle to drive as well as the ability to preserve good running conditions. Check your vehicle’s oil level, watch for any check engine lights/signs of a leak and schedule regular oil changes to maintain good oil quality for your car.    

Get help with service

Contact any of the service departments at Ontario Auto Center to get help with your vehicle’s oil, an oil change or if you need emergency maintenance.  

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While great effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, errors can occur. Please verify all pricing information with a customer service representative. This is easily done by calling us or visiting us at the dealership.

Customer may not qualify for ALL Rebates shown. Some rebates are stackable and others can and cannot be combined. See Dealer For Complete Details.