2000 Honda Civic LX - check oil light

My wife just called me to tell me that the check oil light came on as she was driving home after running some errands. I asked where she was, and she told me she was at home. After a 10 second pause to prevent me from biting her head off, I asked where she was when she first saw that it was on. She said it was less than a mile from home. I arrived home a half hour later and checked the oil, and it appeared to be at the full mark on the dipstick.

So what might have caused the check oil light to come on? Is it a bad sensor, or could it be something more nefarious?

Check your owner’s manual. I believe the light is a “Low Oil Pressure” warning light, not a “low oil level” warning light.

She noticed the light less than a mile from home. Who knows how long it was on?

If you’re lucky the oil pressure sender is faulty, but you should have the ACTUAL oil pressure checked by a mechanic, just to be sure. If the pressure is actually low you can ruin the engine in a very short distance.

I second everything that mcparadise has stated, and I want to add that thugdrummer should take the time to read the section of his Owner’s Manual regarding warning lights and gauges.

I’m aware that the light indicates low pressure. The obvious first thing to check is whether there’s enough oil. I knew it was overdue for a change, and wanted to make sure it hadn’t gotten low. So, possible other causes are a bad sensor, bad wiring, a failing oil pump or maybe a blocked oil passage leading to the sensor. Is there anything else I might be missing?

I’ve worked enough cars in my life to know that I don’t find it enjoyable, and would prefer to pay someone else to do the big jobs (replacing head gaskets sucks). I haven’t done any engine work on this car so I’m not familiar with it.

I’m just looking for advice from those who maybe are familiar w/ the 2000 Civic and maybe know of common causes of what I’m experiencing.

You’ve pretty much covered everything. We can’t do much more to help without putting our hands on the car. Oil light issues are pretty universal to all makes and models. My Civic is two years older (probably the same generation of Civic) and it has 183,000 miles on it, and I haven’t had any of these issues. I have done all the oil changes on time though.

What was the condition of the oil on the dip stick? Did it look normal? I guess it is possible the oil was overfilled. When this happens, the crank shaft can stir the oil into a froth, keeping it from working properly. This is a long shot though. I wouldn’t count on this being the answer. Just hope for a faulty sensor. It if was a real drop in oil pressure, some real damage may have been done.