Why Is My BMW Oil Light On And Off?

The concerning matter is if your BMW oil light is on in your dashboard. Everyone knows that oil is a necessary aspect of every engine. But oil shortage can be the reason for deleterious consequences. Don’t get so worried and determine which oil light is on. To see why the light is on you need to do a few simple tests. And then you should find out the next steps.

However, if you notice a ticking sound when the light is on, you need to pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so. An engine oil light with a ticking means it’s getting damaged. And if you drive your car in this condition, it can ruin your engine.

BMW Oil Light On

BMW Oil Light Reason & Meaning

The first thing to find out about the oil light is to ensure that it’s not a scheduled maintenance reminder. Depending on your vehicle, maintenance reminders may have similar warning lights and alarms. If you’re overdue for your last oil change, it will say ‘change oil now’. It’s not bad like an oil light but necessary to fix the problem.

Causes Of BMW Light Off:

If the engine is low on oil, the oil light may turn off. Some common causes of oil leaks are:

  • The oil filter was incorrectly replaced
  • Improperly sealed drain plug
  • The oil filler cap is damaged
  • Corroded gaskets

Additionally, if you aren’t a service technician you can see the oil leaks to pop the car hood. Your engine can be dirty but if you see a wet, and oily spot that means there is an oil leak. Adding the missing oil can be an easy task. But it eventually causes oil pressure if you are not corrected and the engine is damaged.

BMW Minimum Oil Level Warning:

If you get a notification from your BMW about the oil minimum warning level, your engine needs enough oil. And that means it’s time to add more oil.

Driving with low oil levels will damage your car’s engine, so it should be addressed right away. Fortunately, you can take your car to a mechanic to add the oil, or you can handle it yourself.

After doing that, If you want to add oil yourself, check your owner’s manual and find out what oil is best for your BMW and locate the oil cap. Then add oil by yourself and give it another to add the oil.

BMW Low Oil Symptoms:

If your BMW car runs out of oil, your engine will quickly seize up. Often you can’t fix it and you will need a full replacement. But if you are aware of common warning signs you can avoid this problem. Let’s see the symptoms of BMW low oil:

Oil Pressure Warning Light

BMW Oil pressure warning light will appear on your dashboard when your car detects the oil reserves drop below safe levels. When you can see this symbol, immediately fix this problem.

The Smell Of Burning Oil

Low oil levels put a heavy load on your engine system, as a result of it overheating. Often, this heat makes an unpleasant burning smell inside your cabin. After noticing it, pull over quickly and let your car cool down. Schedule a service appointment immediately.

Banging Of Knocking

Increased friction will loosen the rods in your engine, causing a loud knocking sound while driving. The rods are what hold the engine’s pistons in place. So when they come loose, it immediately reduces engine performance.

Engine Failure

At last, this is the worst-case scenario. You can easily avoid it by paying attention to the above symptoms. Besides this, you can also avoid this problem with regular maintenance.

Why Does BMW 1 Series Oil Light Keep Coming On?

We will now move on to the various causes of engine unit oil warning lights on the BMW 1 series. It can be red, orange or yellow. Here are the issues related to displaying this warning:

Yellow Or Orange Color Light

If your oil light is on but yellow or orange, you’re “out of luck”, meaning your oil level isn’t high enough.

  • Oil Pressure Sensor Problem: Monitoring the oil pressure level in your engine can trigger the BMW red oil light to illuminate. Immediately stop the engine of your BMW 1 series!
  • Oil Pump Problem: Like the pressure sensor, the oil pump failure will bring a red oil light on the BMW 1 Series dashboard. The oil will no longer flow properly and the risk of breakdown will be too high and critical.

Red Oil Light BMW 3 Series:

The light usually means low oil pressure instead of low oil level. Sadly it’s even worse, if you look it up it basically means “shut me down immediately I’m dying”.

The timing chain tensioner is known to leak internally (creating a short circuit – oil goes straight back into the sump). So, you should change it before you start the car.

In other words, it can only be one sensor. The worst-case scenario is engine oil pressure drops below the suggested threshold. Particularly, if your engine has high mileage it may experience excessive wear on bearings, crankshaft, or oil pump.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

Q. How to reset the oil light on BMW?

To reset the oil light on BMW, you need to do:

  1. Turn on the ignition but don’t start the engine. If your vehicle is push-to-start, press your start button and depress the brake pedal.
  1. Hold down the trip reset button on the instrument cluster until the service menu appears. The reset button is usually on the left side of the speedometer. And after holding the button for about 10 seconds the service menu should appear.
  1. Use the reset button to scroll through the settings until you get the oil change warning. Then, tap the reset button.
  1. Depending on the model, you may require to use the turn signal lever controls rather than scrolling. Then, tap the BC button at the end of the turn signal lever to reset it.
  1. You should hold the BC or recent button until the display shows it’s resetting. When promoted you should conform to the reset.

Q. Why is my oil light on but my oil is full?

The most common reason why is my oil light but my oil is full is the oil pressure sensors problem. This pressure sensor is responsible for sending a signal to light. Telling it to come on when the oil pressure gets too low.

Read About: Causes of Low Oil Pressure at Idle

If your sensor has a problem, it can’t send the correct signal. As a result, the light came on despite the engine having plenty of oil.

Q. Can I drive my car with the oil warning light on?

If you are driving and your oil warning light is on, you should take it seriously. Additionally, it indicates that your vehicle may be unsafe to drive. Your vehicle’s engine has lost oil pressure, or you have a low oil level. Furthermore, if the warning light comes on, pull over immediately and turn off the engine.

Final Word

On the other hand, when your BMW oil light is on your dashboard, it means your car’s oil pressure is low. Ultimately, this drop in oil pressure can be a sign of a few things. For example, your oil is low, you have an oil leak and your oil is dirty.

However, in this article, we have described the reasons and solutions. We hope after reading this article you can get proper information about what you are looking for. Thanks for reading the article.

Recommended: Why Is My Oil Light On Car Dashboard?


I am Engr. Z Eusuf Lubricant Specialist, Mechanical Engineer & has been working with engine lubricants for a long time and knows what makes them work best. I can help you find the right oil for your needs, and I have tips on how to keep your engine running at its best.