Top 5 Reasons for Low Engine Oil Pressure

low oil pressure

Quality engine oil is vital in keeping a car’s engine running properly. The purpose of the oil is to keep the internal parts of the engine well lubricated. Insufficient oil can cause the engine to overheat. The inner components of the engine may also be subject to wear and tear because of constant friction with insufficient oil. Low oil pressure can lead to serious damage. This is the reason why engine pressure should be regularly monitored and maintained. Do not ignore when the pressure gauge reports a low reading as it could be a sign of a major problem.

low oil pressure

Why low engine oil pressure happens

To help you gain a better understanding of engine oil pressure, read this article and learn about the top reasons for low engine oil pressure.

Insufficient oil in the engine

Adding more lubricant during an oil change doesn’t always guarantee a constant oil pressure. There are times when the oil is unduly consumed due to leaks, evaporation and other factors. Some car owners miss out on checking their engine oil levels. Be sure to check your oil levels to avoid serious damage to your engine. It is also important to take note that, as the engine ages, it will burn more oil and increase its oil consumption. The best thing to do is to top up the oil in the engine. Also, if there are oil drops on the floor, that could be a sign of leaks. If you can find any leaking component, be sure to have it repaired as soon as possible. Lastly, follow proper oil change schedules and intervals to ensure an adequate supply of oil in the engine.

Engine wear

Engine oil flows through a car’s engine by following a system of passages. As time goes by, the clearance of some engine parts becomes wider due to natural wearing. This will allow oil to easily flow, thereby reducing oil pressure. You can tell when low oil pressure is caused by engine wear when the dipstick is between “add” and “full”. This is especially common with engines that have very high mileage. When this happens, you can either have the engine rebuilt or have it replaced.

Too high or too low viscosity

A very low or very high viscosity is also one of the reasons for low oil pressure. Viscosity is the thickness of the oil used in the engine. Oil that has a high viscosity does not flow as fast because of its thickness. This results in the slow build-up of oil pressure. It is also something that you should pay attention to in cold temperatures. Low oil viscosity, on the other hand, generates low flow resistance. It moves faster along the passages and is recorded by the gauge as lower pressure. The key to avoiding low oil pressure is to choose the right lubricant viscosity. Follow the recommended viscosity grades for your engine.

Clogged filter

The oil filter plays a very crucial role in maintaining a car’s oil pressure levels. The pressure goes down when the filter gets clogged. A clogged filter is usually a result of soot or water contamination, or an overextended oil. If the bypass valve, which is responsible for making sure that the pressure is under control, gets damaged, you can source the problem to a defective filter.

Defective oil pressure gauge

There are cases when the oil level is correct and yet the oil pressure gauge shows otherwise. When this happens and there are no unusual high temperatures or noises, the problem might have something to do with your oil pressure gauge. Oil pressure gauges are there for real-time monitoring of the car’s oil pressure. But if it is no longer working right, you can opt to have the sensor replaced or check if the issue has something to do with a bad oil pump.

Whether used or brand new, maintaining the right oil levels is crucial in keeping your vehicle in good shape. The lack of sufficient oil can result in serious difficulties. So, take time to check oil levels regularly, maintain oil filters and more importantly, follow routine maintenance on the car.

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