yellow oil warning light


Asked by Jun 14, 2008 at 07:25 AM about the 2001 BMW 3 Series 330Ci Coupe RWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

when starting my car after about ten seconds the yellow oil warning light comes on, this stays on for about ten seconds and goes out, the oil is not low, this happens every time without fail, so it seems like a programming problem, if any one could help i would be very greatful, its getting on my nerves ha ha, thanks!

23 Answers


Sounds like this is supposed to be happening. Most of the lights come on when you start the car as a self-test. If you feel it is lingering too long you might want to have the oil pressure sensor checked out by a BMW dealership but it doesn't sound out of the ordinary to me.

18 people found this helpful.

I have come across the same problem a couple of times and it was the oil level sensor in the sump that was to blame.

18 people found this helpful.

If the car still under warranty..bring it back to the dealer and ask for a oil sensor change. It is not uncommon this happen in in all M54 engine, it burns oil according to the dealer's services manager said. Sometimes my yellow oil light came on and i added half quart of Castro Syntec and it would be gone for about another 6000 miles. It is normal.

10 people found this helpful.

They usually take 1 quart every month, check the oil level and add more if its low. If you still have the light on after adding more oil, you might have a bad Oil Level Sensor. Here is a DIY to change it, cost $100 and you can save money if you can DIY

27 people found this helpful.

I own a 2001 330xi and have consistantly added a quart of oil every 500 to 800 miles. no leaks or smokey exhaust. Normal??

23 people found this helpful.

no, def not normal. go get a bottle of heartland oil stop leak and add that. it will take care of your problem.

6 people found this helpful.

This is a well known issue with BMW e46 vehicles, and many others that use the same oil level sender. This usually occurs after you have had your oil serviced when they left the key in the ignition turned to ignition position 1. The sender uses a current through a thin wire to determine if the system requires more oil. The oil in turn cools the sender but when no oil is present at all, the sender wire burns out. When you start your engine the light is off for about 6 seconds then turn on for between 10 and 15 seconds and the goes out. That when you know the sender is bad. The few above that said oil level sender is bad are correct.

40 people found this helpful.


6 people found this helpful.

Hmm, listening to this I definately have a messed up sensor I've been ignoring for 200,000KM on the 323. :-( Another BMW Warranty dodge, and given that it was ONLY BMW serviced before this started, ... guess who did it! Anyhow, neither my 323 or 330 burn a significant amount between oil changes (I usually do about half the recommended interval). The only oil burner I've had was a 1995 318is 4 banger (still only 1 quart every 5,000 KM).[ I ditched it for other reasons.] I figure I do over 15,000 KMs on less than a quart. My old '86 325e that I sold to a buddy, which now has about 500,000 KM on it, still doesn't burn more than a quart between intervals. ? I guess some of you are having bad luck ?

3 people found this helpful.

I have a 330ci automatic year 2000 , its covered 118,000 miles and also does the same , yellow light is level not pressure so if your level is ok then its the sensor thats at fault , my 330 doesnt burn any oil , has regular oil changes but the light still comes on every time for about 10 seconds , it runs a dream , i had it checked out and told easy fixed with a new sump level sensor but not urgent as the car is fine. Its very common on this car, dont worry - but if the light stays on then get the sensor changed at around £100 ish. Stu

13 people found this helpful.

that happen to me when I didn't put enough oil in the car I added one more quart to the engine and it fixed the problem

3 people found this helpful.

I have this problem, whan I shot down my car ,come yellow oil lamp. Oil level is fine. I think is sensor problem. but whan turn on yellow whay not red if is sensor problem??? bmw e46 325ci 2001

17 people found this helpful.

Thanks to TitaniumCranium for post this is exactly what,s happened to my 2003 320ci coupe, burnt virtually no oil for a year then took it for oil service since then yellow oil warning comess on for a few seconds , oil level is perfect and it only happens when engine is warmed up and never happened before oil change !!

4 people found this helpful.

i have the same problem too with my BMW 320i, it appears immediately i start the engine and disappears just in a few seconds. what could be the problem if you don't replace the sensor just in time? ANY DAMAGE TO THE CAR?

22 people found this helpful.

SOS!!!!! Hi guys I have a major problem I heard that the yellow oil light is for water and the red one is for oil so ima bit confused but anyhow my bmw 320d E46 2003 models yellow light normally came on when I started the car then change to red in a few secs and then go of but since this morning it doesn't go of even when I drive or turn of the car and lock it what to do?!?!

10 people found this helpful.

Just out of curiosity has anyone of you checked for an oil leak on the underbelly tray? I have a 2005 320i e92 and my oil warning was coming on every time i started the car and every time i turned it off. My mechanic replaced the oil level sensor and it didnt fix the problem. He eventually replaced the PCV ring/valve or whatever its called about 4 months ago and it seems to have fixed the oil leak as well as the light coming on. The other day in horror i saw something was dripping onto the underbelly tray forming a puddle. Today the oil warning light cane on. Im wondering if its related? Im also now doybting that my mechanic changed that PVC thingy and all he did was put some of that stop leak stuff into it. Im furious and frustrated as ive spent hours and hours and wasted kilometres and kilometres at the mechanic with this problem since i bought the stupid car in February this year. I only drive roughly 20 kilometres per day. Im thinking maybe the oil light is telling me there is a slow leak? The amount that has come out would be roughly 1/4 cup full or even less.

2 people found this helpful.

My oil light has been orange for about a week. Today the ABS, Handbrake and Brake Sensor lights turned orange. After that my engine cut-off and wouldn't start. After allowing it to cool down for about 30 minutes it started again but after about 2KM it cut-off again. What may be the problem. I suspect the coil pack may be the problem. Please help

5 people found this helpful.

I have had the same problem with the oil level light so I changed the sensor "twice" but still have the problem so I have give up on it now. The oil level is fine and the car runs fine.

2 people found this helpful.

I have same yellow oil light problem in BMW e46 320d 2005. So I buy another sensor for oil level and went to mechanic. We do oil changer, sensor change and all filter too. I have same problem, my yellow lamp turn on 10 seconds after engine start and lasts 15 seconds. What you can suggest me to do next?

7 people found this helpful.

is it like the Audi where it has to have a certain grade of oil in it in the 1st place as we had problems with an Audi a4 constantly breaking down n ending up in garage for complete drain n new filters n oil in the end I found out that Audi have to have hi grade oil so new oil was put in after a 3rd drain n she ran beautiful n no more lights n breaking down.I think we do the same with beamer at the end of the day it deserves the best to run on. trish


I have a 2008 328i bmw. This model does not have a dipstick. My yellow oil light has come 9n, so do I just add a quart of oil automatically???

1 people found this helpful.

wow" i hear all this stories that is happening to me. I really thank you for all your help i haven't change the (sump level oil senor) and the (oil pressure senor) are these the same said. i have already done an oil change and light oil does turn on orange. I really liked one story said about when the light turns orange is because the BMW X3 suv probably needs a check on the radiator for antifreeze. and when it really goes red it really needs and oil change..Thinking about it i have not checked the water in a year, that's one more think to think about and a concern. ????


I had the same problem in my 2001 325i and I thought it was normal. I was going to my regular mechanic and he said it was fine. It's not people. Low and behold I was on my way to work and I saw smoke coming from the hood. Guess what? It was a major leak. BMW is known for oil leaks. If that yellow light is coming on there is a leak, trust me. I ignored mine and now I'm out of a car. Thank god I was able to make it back home; the wheel locked up and was hard to turn and the car smoked more heavily but I made it home. Read the forums and you will see that BMW has a major problem with oil leaks. The car sucks if you ask me. If it's not brand new don't buy it.

1 people found this helpful.

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