Top 4 Reasons Why Oil Light Comes on When Braking and How to Fix Them

Aside from the notorious squeak when you brake, all drivers have experienced the frightening feeling when a dashboard sign lights up when you brake since it only implies one thing: something is wrong. Modern automobile electrical systems rely on several sensors wired to dashboard warning lights and symbols.

This article will provide causes why oil light comes on when braking. We will also provide simple steps on how to fix them.

Why Oil Light Comes on When Braking

Without a complete examination of your car, it is difficult to determine why your oil light turns on when you brake. However, it is almost certainly being brought on for the following reasons:

  1. Low or high oil levels
  2. Oil leak
  3. Defective oil pressure sensor
  4. Bad oil pump

Continue reading this article if you want to save yourself from possible accidents, engine breakdown, and paying for a more expensive repair fee because of an illuminating oil light.

How does the oil pressure sensor work?

An engine oil pressure sensor’s main job is to keep track of the vehicle’s oil pressure and transmit that information to the instrument panel. The oil pressure sensor transmits data to the vehicle’s electronic control module for examination when a problem arises.

Standard oil pressure sensors can produce a warning signal when the oil pressure deviates from the predetermined range. The dashboard of a car may have a low oil pressure warning light. 

It is crucial to have an oil pressure sensor that is in good working order because it monitors the oil pressure in your car. It is unsafe to drive with a damaged oil pressure sensor because it won’t be able to warn you when your engine is running low on oil. It can potentially damage its internal components.

1. Low or high oil level

Checking your car’s oil level on the infotainment system is crucial. Low oil levels might harm the engine. Moving parts may experience excessive wear and overheat as a result. Although the oil level may appear high enough, braking will force it to shift, turning on the low oil level indicator.

Also, suppose the amount of oil is high enough to reach the crank or overfill. In that case, it may cause the illumination of your car’s oil light or possibly expensive problems like the bursting of gaskets.

How to fix low or high oil levels?

  1. First, check your oil level by lifting the hood and searching for the dipstick. Look at the owner’s handbook if you’re unsure where it is. However, some older cars may also have a dipstick for the gearbox fluid, so take caution.
  2. On some newer cars, this procedure may be carried out without even opening the hood from the convenience of the driver’s seat. Typically, navigating to the Settings area of the infotainment system will provide access to checking the oil level.
  3. Then, add more if it falls below the advised minimum level. Count the miles until you need to top off again and search for oil drops on the ground to check for leaks. If the level is high, unplug the drain and release a cup or two at a time, just as you would while changing the oil.
  4. After that, tighten the drain plug, start and idle your engine for a minute, turn it off and recheck the dipstick. Vacuum oil extractor pumps can also be used to remove excess oil.

3. Oil leak

Old gaskets or damaged engine heads are only two examples of the many causes of oil leaks. Regardless of the origin, an oil leak might be one of the primary causes of your oil light coming on when braking. When oil pressure drops while braking due to an oil leak, there may not be enough oil in the pan. This will result in the oil indicator flashing.

How to fix an oil leak?

  1. First, place a fresh piece of light-colored cardboard beneath the front of the car to check engine oil leaks. You have an oil leak if a brown fluid gathers on the cardboard.
  2. Use the oil dipstick, and check the oil levels using the same procedure explained above. Locate the engine oil bay, remove the cover, and use a funnel to pour in the recommended engine oil as directed in your owner’s manual if the dipstick is dry.
  3. Repairing an engine leak is not a task for beginners, just like replacing an oil pump. Finding the leak source may be challenging, and qualified mechanics may need extensive pressure testing to identify the oil’s origin.
  4. It’s also possible that your engine has to be transferred to a facility focusing on engine repairs.

3. Faulty oil pressure sensor

An oil pressure sensor may have trouble delivering data to the control panel rapidly enough when it malfunctions, which will eventually occur. As a result, a fall in oil pressure during braking may be mistakenly read as being outside of the allowed range. However, it is normal for the oil pressure to drop as the RPMs drop.

How to fix a defective oil pressure sensor?

  1. Perform a preliminary inspection first. Suppose the instrumentation on your dashboard indicates low oil pressure. In that case, a low oil level may cause a loss of oil pressure, resulting in expensive engine damage.
  2. After that, you should check the oil pressure sensor or switch visually. Check for problems like frayed wires and faulty connections. You may use a mechanical gauge to check the engine oil pressure if everything appears in order.
  3. Then use a mechanical gauge to check the engine oil pressure. Remove the oil pressure sensor first, then attach the gauge (or switch). The adapter for the gauge can be installed in the engine once the sensor has been taken out.
  4. Following that, join the gauge to the adaptor. Once the engine is running, take note of the gauge’s reading.
  5. If the gauge indicates normal oil pressure, there is a problem with the dashboard instrumentation, the oil pressure sensor, or its circuit.
  6. Lastly, changing an oil pressure sensor or switch is reasonably straightforward. However, the procedure will vary according to the vehicle’s year, make, and model. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check a repair manual or repair database for the replacement instructions for your application.

4. Bad oil pump

Finally, a bad oil pump may be the reason why the oil light comes on when braking. The engine’s rotating bearings, sliding pistons, and camshaft are all lubricated with pressurized oil circulated by the oil pump. This aids in cooling the engine and lubricates the bearings.

How to fix a bad oil pump?

  1. There is always a risk that the reduced oil pressure resulting from lowered RPMs might cause the oil light to come on when the brakes are applied in a vehicle with a defective oil pump.
  2. A beginner should usually avoid attempting to replace an oil pump. It is a time-consuming and complicated repair that typically requires the utilization of an entire mechanic’s shop.
  3. A professional oil pump repair for most automobiles will cost between $300 and $600.


The most frequent causes of the oil light coming on when braking are low or high oil levels, leaks, faulty oil pressure sensors, and bad oil pumps. So the first thing you should do is check the oil level and the oil pressure sensor. If the oil pressure sensor is the culprit, fixing the problem is typically easy, cheap, and uncomplicated.

You may take your car to a mechanic if the issue is caused by a faulty oil pump or engine leak. Even if you’re sure it’s just a bad pressure sensor, you should never drive a car while the oil light is on.

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