Engine oil is an important component in your engine.
It lubricates moving car parts. As soon as you notice low oil pressure, stop your car immediately and have it checked.
You may need to check your oil level first. Wait until the car has cooled down and remove the dipstick. Clean it with a soft cloth and reinsert it. This should give you an indication of the oil level.
What are the potential causes for oil pressure turning on?
Low oil pressure can be caused by internal or external oil leakage. Internal oil leaks mean that the oil is leaking inside the engine and you cannot see it without disassembling the engine. This is a fairly rare scenario. External oil leaks can also cause the oil level to become too low and as a result the oil pressure light will illuminate.
You can check the following for wear and leaks: Oil pan, front and rear crankshaft oil seals, valve covers, or gaskets. If you find leaks in any of the above, you must have them repaired before proceeding. You can still check your dipstick for further leaks every few miles driven.
Faulty oil pump
The oil pump is of crucial importance for pressurizing oil. This allows the oil to easily enter all moving parts of the engine. If the oil pump is faulty, the pressure drops and your moving parts generate excessive heat through friction. If the problem is not solved immediately, further friction will cause permanent damage to engine parts. You can check the oil pressure with a pressure gauge. If your oil pump is in good condition, you should have values of 10 psi at 1000 rpm.
Clogged Oil filter
Inside the motor there is often a lot of metal chips, carbon deposits and other debris. The oil filter plays an important role in filtering all these contaminants and preventing them from entering the engine. During regular maintenance of the engine, the mechanic replaces the oil filter. However, if you do not do this, it becomes dirty and causes low oil pressure.
Clogged oil passages
Most of the engine oil is stored in the oil sump. The oil pump pressurises the oil so that it can circulate to the engine and the subsequent moving parts. As soon as the oil leaves the pump, it is filtered through the oil filter. This removes most of the impurities. The oil then flows through the crankshaft and the bearings in the car. However, if the crankshaft is clogged with impurities, the oil loses pressure, causing the light to illuminate.
Lack of oil change
If you have an old car, you will have problems with low oil pressure. This occurs more often if you do not have the oil changed at your next service. This will cause a sludge-like substance to form at the bottom of the oil pan. This reduces the oil pressure. In these cases, you will notice that the oil pressure light is still on even after you change the oil.
Damaged pressure sensor
If you have topped up your engine oil with fresh oil, but the light is still on, the culprit could be the engine pressure sensor. The sensor is connected to the dashboard via a circuit from the engine. Over time, the sensors fill up with dirt and this reduces their ability to effectively detect low oil pressure. When this happens, you will need to replace your sensors.
Wear of engine parts
Oil is needed to keep the crankshaft, cam bearings, and other moving parts working at their best. When these components wear out, oil begins to leak through the openings created. This oil contributes to reducing oil pressure.
There are some easy and some more difficult ways to repair a low oil pressure. If a simple solution does not work, a low oil pressure engine can be very expensive.
Check the oil level
If your oil level is low, you may be getting low oil pressure. Always make sure that the oil level in your engine is correct and check it at least once or twice a month.
Check the oil pressure with a manual gauge
Check the oil pressure with another pressure gauge to ensure that only the sensor is sending the wrong information. A wire may also be broken, so be sure to check if the oil pressure is correct.
Oil with the right viscosity
You must be extremely careful with the type of oil you buy. High viscosity oil will not work well with your engine. When topping up your engine oil, be careful not to overfill it. The viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil.
Higher viscosity oils are less effective because they do not flow efficiently through all engine parts. Oil with a high viscosity does not allow the oil pressure to increase sufficiently. To maintain the viscosity of the oil, you should change your oil filter regularly.
Replace the oil pump
Changing the oil pump and filter is not a major mechanical challenge. You can do this in minutes. In some cars, the oil pump is located right next to the oil pan. To replace it, just remove the oil pan. In other vehicles, the oil pump is located inside the timing cover. You must lift the car to remove the oil pump.
If you do not take immediate action when the oil pressure is low, it will lead to further engine problems. Oil is used to lubricate your bearings and all moving engine parts. The presence of oil means that the crankshaft does not come into contact with other metals. At low oil pressure, friction increases. This causes your engine to start overheating. Eventually, some of the moving parts of the engine will be destroyed, so you will have to spend more money on repairs.
Oil is vital to keep all moving parts in the engine, such as the cam bearings and crankshaft, moving. If you have a low oil level in your car, you will notice the low oil pressure light coming on. You should not continue driving your car the moment you notice this, as it will cause further engine problems. Low oil pressure is caused by several factors. You must first check your dipstick for oil levels. If it is low, add a little more oil. If the light is still on, it could be that your oil pump or filters are dirty.
These must be replaced at the next service check. Make sure that you always have the correct engine oil. Oil with a higher viscosity makes the oil pressure gauge go up. If all this fails, the problem could be with the oil sensors or the oil pressure gauge. These are often clogged with dirt and you will need to change them.