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Engine oil light comes on red but doesnt stay on.

2323 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  BMW-North
Hi, I have a 2001 325xi. The engine oil light started coming on a few weeks ago but was only orange. It came on when I started my car and stayed on about 4 more seconds than any of the other test lights. Then last week it turned red but it only comes on when the car is started then goes away. Not sure if it is also related but when the light went to red a ringing/alarm sound would go off longer that was not there before. I checked and the oil level is fine. Just wondering if any one else has had this problem and what it was.
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It is undoubtedly the oil level sensor...use Hella brand...

I'm not sure about the ringing/alarm sound.

Anyway, if I'm right, the light will come on when you start the car and go off 15 seconds later. No emergency, but next oil change you can replace it...very easy to do...just three nuts...very accessible...right on the oil pan.

But, until you change the oil and fix this, make sure you monitor the oil level regularly, just like all your fluids
Normal oil light behavior:

Red - Low oil pressure. Except for a second or two at start up, if you ever see this, shut off the engine immediately!
Yellow, comes on after the car is turned off - Oil is about half a quart low. Top off to correct.
Yellow, comes on while driving - Oil is a quart or more low. Top off ASAP!
Yellow, comes on for about 15 seconds almost immediately after starting - Oil level sensor fault. Replace at next oil change and monitor oil level manually until then.

The oil level sensor may be shot and that is YELLOW - most folk around here ignore it without issue Don't ignore THIS symptom - it is NOT your oil level sensor - it is a lack of oil pressure which activates the RED light.

Sounds like your oil pump may be failing. It could just be the infamous oil pump nut starting to unthread - when this happens the nut falls into the oil pan you will have no oil going to the cams and cause severe damage.

You should remove the oil pan and check out your oil pump if the red light continues to come on for any periods - especially when the car has been running. - this has nothing to do with the oil level sensor.

The only time for an acceptable red oil light is following an oil change and a cold start for a brief (less than 2 secs) period till the oil gets through the tubes for pumping.
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