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Oil in your car and oil pressure

Oil is not something that you might think is essential to the operation of a car, but infact it is. Oil acts as a lubricant for the moving parts such as the moving parts of the engine, and it is also used to help transfer heat.

High pressure is used to force the oil to move along a number of channels to the moving parts. And therefore there is an associated expected pressure of the oil. If it drops, then this is when the oil warning light will be illuminated up on your dashboard.

You need to react to this as soon as it is safe to do so by stopping and turning off the engine. It could be that you've run low on oil if this happens; but if you find that you don't know what the problem is you'll need to call for assistance.

Other causes of the oil pressure dropping and the warning light coming on are several, but commonly can include things like the oil pump malfunctioning, or oil pipes having burst.

Sometimes the light will not come on solid but be intermittent and this will usually suggest that the level of oil is low in the sump. Use your dipstick to check the oil level and see if that's the problem - if so then you need to refill.

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Your vehicle catches fire while driving through a tunnel. It is still driveable. What should you do? A) leave it where it is with the engine running B) Pull up, then walk to an emergency telephone point C) Park it away from the carriageway D) drive it out of the tunnel if you can do so

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