How to reset the oil light after an oil change

Written by brenda priddy
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How to reset the oil light after an oil change
The oil reset button is typically located under the speedometer. (Car dashboard image by Andrejs Pidjass from Fotolia.com)

Each vehicle model has its own process for resetting the oil light, but the general procedure is the same for most cars.

Do not reset the oil light unless you have actually changed the oil. The light is there to tell you when it's time to change the oil. Resetting the light without changing the oil may cause you to miss an oil change, which can damage your engine.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Car manual
  • Make, model and year of car
  • Flashlight (optional)
  • Car keys

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn the car's systems on, but leave the engine off. Typically, this requires turning the key partway in the ignition, without turning it enough to start the engine.

  2. 2

    Locate the "Reset" button or stick, which is typically located on the dashboard, near the speedometer and fuel gauge. If you don't see a "Reset" button on the dashboard, it's probably under the hood. If necessary, consult your manual, or contact the manufacturer's customer service department.

  3. 3

    Hold the button down until the "Oil" icon or word starts to flash, or the indicator lights show some other sign of resetting. Some cars will flash the word "Reset," or display the numeral "100" to show that 100 per cent of oil life remains after the oil change.

  4. 4

    Turn the ignition off, wait a few moments, and then start the engine. Look at the dash to see if the oil light is still flashing or lit. If so, repeat the reset process.

    If the light is still lit after three reset attempts, contact the manufacturer to learn the correct reset procedure for your vehicle. If you can't reach the manufacturer, you can call a local mechanic, who will probably be willing to tell you how to reset the oil light, provided you know the car's make, model and year.

Tips and warnings

  • The oil lights on some car models cannot be reset by hand, because they are located inside the car's computer. It usually takes a special tool to reset these oil lights. If your car is one of these models, the manual should indicate whether it is possible to reset the oil light manually. If not, a mechanic will be able to reset the light for you.

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