Are you seeing a low oil pressure warning light? How to Fix it

Having high oil pressure is one of the things which makes a modern engine’s life so much longer than car engines before in time.

You can see the oil pressure light on your dashboard when your car's oil pressure drops or rises.

Low oil pressure, or even no oil pressure, can cause engine damage in a matter of seconds. It is important that you take the warning light seriously.

What causes the oil pressure light? Is it low oil pressure or something else that makes it appear? Let’s find out!

Low oil levels are the most frequent reason why a low-oil pressure warning light appears. Low oil pressure can be caused by an oil pump malfunction, oil pickup tube failure, internal oil leakage, or a faulty filter. A bad sensor of oil pressure or defective wirings could cause a false alarm.

The oil pressure light can illuminate in one of two situations, as mentioned above. You can have a false alarm and/or a problem with your oil pressure sensor, wiring, or both.

You may also have low oil pressure. This is more serious. To help you troubleshoot, it is a good idea to check the oil pressure using a manual oil pressure gauge. Check out this video to see how you can check your oil pressure.

Below is a list that explains the causes and symptoms of oil pressure lights on dashboards.

Índice de Contenido
  1. Warning light for oil pressure
    1. 1. Maintaining a low engine oil level
    2. 2. Low Oil Pressure Sensor
    3. 3. Futility in Oil Pressure Sensor Wirings
    4. 4. A Faulty Oil Pump
    5. 5. Pickup Tube for Clogged Oil
    6. 6. Filter blockage
    7. 7. Cluster for Faulty Instruments
    8. 8. Internal Oil Leak
    9. 9. Blockage of oil passageways
    10. 10. Wear to engine parts

Warning light for oil pressure

1. Maintaining a low engine oil level

Engine Oil Level

Oil must be pressedurized by the engine to produce oil pressure. It is impossible for an oil pump to perform its task properly if it doesn't have oil to pressurize.

Low engine oil levels may be the reason why your oil pressure light turns on or off occasionally. A yellow oil can symbol may appear on the dashboard.

It is easy to check the oil level in your engine. Just check your car’s service manual, and you will find instructions there on how to do it properly.

It is the responsibility of car owners to ensure that your oil levels are maintained at all times. It is a critical part of your car and can cause damage.

RELATED : Is the engine oil hot or cold?

2. Low Oil Pressure Sensor

Oil Pressure Sensor Location

The oil pressure is actually the sensor that monitors the engine’s oil pressure, and its only job is to switch on or off the oil pressure light. The sensors can fail because they are made from plastic.

If you locate it on the engine block and you see a lot of engine oil around it – it may be a sign that there is a crack in the sensor, which may cause it to fail reading the oil pressure properly.

You can measure these sensors’ resistance with a multimeter to determine if it is functional or not. However, you will need to determine the correct values for each sensor. You can see how it works in this video: How do you test an oil pressure sensor?

RELATED: Symptoms of a Bad Oil Pressure Sensor & Location

3. Futility in Oil Pressure Sensor Wirings

Broken Wirings

The sensor must have one to two wires running between the instrument cluster, the oil pressure sensor and it in order for it to work.

While driving the engine gets hot and you feel constant vibrations. It can result in wirings becoming loose or even failing completely.

When the instrument cluster can’t feel the signal from the oil pressure sensor because of a broken wire or bad connection – it will light up the oil pressure light.

Make sure to inspect the connection at the oil pressure gauge for corrosion and that all wires appear clean.

Next, measure the wiring. It is not something we are going to cover in this article. You'll need to have basic knowledge of electrical wiring and a diagram.

The possibility of wires becoming damaged is rare, but it's worth checking these things first.

4. A Faulty Oil Pump

Oil Pressure Inside

The Oil Pump pumps the oil within the engine. The oil pump is often driven from the crankshaft by a chain, although it may also be installed directly around the crankshaft.

It sometimes happens that this oil pump fails, which can cause a low oil pressure – which will cause the oil pressure light to show up.

A pressure relief valve in an oil pump is located inside. This can cause oil pressure to drop.

To replace the valve you will need to take apart the engine. You may also want to change the entire oil pump, not just the valve.

RELATED: Symptoms of a Bad Oil Pump & Location

5. Pickup Tube for Clogged Oil

Vw Oil Pressure Hiccup

An oil pump must be equipped with a tube to allow it to get the oil from the bottom. Dirt can also collect on the bottom oil pan.

This tube contains a “net” to prevent dirt and other parts from getting sucked into the oil pump. If your car is old, and especially if the car’s oil maintenance has been bad, this pickup tube can get clogged by dirt and other oil sludge.

If this happens, the oil pump will stop sucking oil. This can lead to low oil pressure.

This issue can be fixed by removing the oil pan, and cleaning or replacing the oil pump pickup tube.

6. Filter blockage

Bad Oil Filters

There are many contaminants inside a car's engine. These include metal chips, carbon deposits and other particles. This is where the oil filter comes in. It filters out all of these contaminants, and prevents them from getting into your engine.

The mechanic will replace the oil filter during regular maintenance. You can avoid clogging your oil filter by following the recommended oil changes.

However, if you haven’t taken care of your car’s service maintenance properly, you may actually get a clogged oil filter caused by oil sludge. The oil pressure will drop, resulting in an oil light on the dashboard.

7. Cluster for Faulty Instruments

Instrument Cluster Failed

A second possibility is the low oil pressure, or possibly no sensor issue. The problem may be with the cluster of instruments.

Many solderings are found inside of the instrument cluster. It happens to some cars that these cracks can be seen on certain models. The connection will then get worse until it lights up the oil pressure light.

These solderings can only be found by a qualified professional who has the knowledge and skills to take apart the cluster to check for cracks.

Because the cluster is usually integrated with the car's immobilizer, it can be difficult to replace it. It is best to have an authorized dealer do this.

8. Internal Oil Leak

Crankcase Car

Leakage of oil inside an engine can indicate that there is oil in the engine. You cannot inspect the engine without removing the engine. It is rare and shouldn't be taken seriously.

It is also difficult to locate internal oil leaks. To check for cracks and other indications of leaks, you will need to remove the engine.

9. Blockage of oil passageways

Engine Block

The oil pan holds most of the engine oil. The oil pump presses oil into circulation to allow it to flow to the engine, and any other moving parts.

The oil is then filtered by the filter as soon as it leaves the pump. This filters out most impurities. After that, the oil flows through the crankshaft to the engine's head.

But, oil can blockage in any oil passages could cause oil to not reach the oil pressure sensor. This will result in oil pressure dropping.

This is not a common issue. You should first consider all other factors before looking into the problem.

10. Wear to engine parts

Bad Rod Bearing

To keep your crankshaft and cam bearings in good condition, oil is essential.

As these parts wear, like worn bearings or bad bearings oil leaks from the cracks. This can lead to a great deal of play. Oil pressure is reduced by this oil.

You may notice a decrease in oil pressure over time. This could indicate wear to your engine.

RELATED: Rod Knock – Causes, Information, and Fixes

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