Low Oil Pressure: Symptoms & Causes (& How To Fix It)

Low Oil Pressure Symptoms and Causes – How to Fix

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The oil inside your car is actually the most crucial factor affecting the functionality and longevity of the engine. Motor oil (also called engine oil ) is pumped throughout the inside of your engine in order to coat all of the moving metal parts with a thin layer of lubrication to keep them from rubbing against one another. But if the oil pump breaks down or the oil pressure falls for some other reason, the motor oil won’t get to where it’s needed.

Without sufficient lubrication, an engine can stop working very quickly. Fortunately, your car can tell you if and when the oil pressure drops below the recommended range, as well as when the oil level is low or it’s time for an oil change. Some telltale symptoms of low oil pressure are unintended but nonetheless occur; other warning signs are built in as a safety measure. Here are the results of low oil pressure, the signs that your oil pressure is low, and the causes that can create the condition.

5 Low Oil Pressure Symptoms (And Common Causes)

Results of Low Oil Pressure

What takes place if the oil pressure is low? Well, for starters, a decreased oil pressure prevents oil from reaching all of the moving parts in the engine. There are literally hundreds of them, including camshafts, valves, bearings, and pistons. Moreover, if any component stops being lubricated, it will come into contact with other components’ metals. Almost instantly, degradation occurs. Motor oil is necessary for your engine to function.

A decline in engine performance, including a loss of power, decreased fuel efficiency, and stalling, is one indication of low oil pressure. Reduced engine performance can, of course, be attributed to more than just oil pressure issues, and by the time an engine is significantly underperforming and stalling out due to low oil pressure, most likely considerable damage has already taken place.

Actually, if the oil pressure in your engine drops, it won’t run for very long. How long can an engine function without oil pressure? Maybe a half hour, and that is a very big maybe. After you have found a solution to the problem of being stranded wherever your engine decided to quit, it is likely time for a new engine.

Signs of Low Oil Pressure

Your engine’s oil pressure could decrease for a few different reasons. Your car has a built-in warning system to alert you if it does. Your engine will eventually alert you to a problem if it fails to do so or if you ignore the early warning signs. Long engine life depends on early problem detection. Besides a general decline in engine performance, here are some other symptoms of low oil pressure:

Oil Warning Light

Your sensor may turn on the oil warning light on the dashboard if the oil pressure falls below the necessary level. If it starts to glow, find a secure spot to stop, ideally a parking lot, a gas station, or a service station, and check your oil. It is still advised to have the vehicle towed to a repair facility even if the oil level is accurate. You might be dealing with a more serious issue than just a malfunctioning oil pressure sensor.

Diminishing Engine Performance

It’s possible that your engine performance is deteriorating if you find yourself abruptly losing power, stalling out, or using up your gas tank more quickly. While there are a number of potential automotive problems that could be the cause of this drop, low engine oil pressure is a typical culprit. Therefore, start small and check your oil level to see if you just need to change your oil and filter.

Burning Oil Smell

If your car smells like burning oil, it may be leaking oil, and that oil may be coming in contact with a component’s hot surface. The smell typically denotes a leak, which can cause the oil pressure to drop. Find a gas station or parking area where you can safely stop and check your oil level if you notice the burning smell of oil while you’re driving.

Engine Noise

Your engine’s components stop getting the lubrication they require to work properly when your engine oil level is low. Once this occurs, the engine of your car may begin to make clunking, knocking, ticking, or grinding noises. In that case, you should schedule an appointment with a qualified mechanic right away to have your vehicle serviced.

Engine Overheating

Your engine’s moving parts are lubricated by engine oil. If your car’s engine doesn’t have enough oil pressure, it will operate with less lubrication and more friction, which produces more heat. Overheating in engines can be a complicated problem. Although it’s not always the case, low engine oil pressure can cause an overheated engine. Additionally, an overheated engine puts strain and wear on its internals.

Symptoms of Low Engine Oil | Jaguar Albuquerque NM

Causes of Low Oil Pressure

Stop driving your car if you see any of the aforementioned problems. So that you can avoid high repair costs, have it examined by a qualified technician at a reputable repair facility. If any of these symptoms or signs manifest, one of the causes listed below (in no particular order) is probably to blame.

  • incorrect oil viscosity Motor oil viscosity (also referred to as the weight or grade ) refers to the thickness of the oil, its resistance to flow. You may be familiar with terms like 5W-20 or 0W-16, which are codes related to an oil product’s viscosity. Low oil pressure may result from using oil with a viscosity that is different from what the engine’s manufacturer recommends. You should always use the same type and volume of oil in your engine as what the manufacturer specifies in the owner’s manual for your car.
  • malfunctioning oil pump or oil pressure sensor. Your engine won’t experience enough oil pressure if the oil pump isn’t operating correctly. Similarly, you might receive a false pressure reading if the oil pressure sensor is malfunctioning. In either scenario, you ought to notice the oil pressure light turning on (or a low reading on the pressure gauge), so get your car serviced to address the issue.
  • oil leak, either external or internal. Your engine’s susceptibility to oil leaks and other fluid leaks increases over time. Depending on how frequently you change the oil and the type of oil you use, an oil leak may form or appear sooner than expected. As was previously mentioned, an overheated engine can result in low oil pressure as well as an oil leak. Low oil pressure may result from oil leaks as well.
  • Dirty oil filter. Several car filters require regular maintenance. Your engine’s oil filter is there to remove any particles from the oil, such as dirt that gets into the engine or debris from worn engine components. Every time you get your oil changed, you should replace the oil filters. Oil pressure will decrease if they become clogged otherwise.

Low oil pressure is a serious problem. When the pressure drops, continuing to drive will severely harm your engine. Have your engine serviced as soon as possible if your oil light comes on or you notice any other indicators of low oil pressure.

What Are Bad Oil Pump Symptoms And Replacement Cost

What to Do If You Have Low Engine Oil Pressure

The lifespan of your engine may be shortened by low engine oil pressure. Visit your nearby Tires Plus today for a full-service oil change and any necessary maintenance to stay ahead of motor oil problems!


Oil can flow through engine components because of the pressure the oil pump generates. The oil travels through the channels until it reaches the bearings. The rotating shaft won’t produce excessive friction or cause any other issues as long as the oil pressure remains adequate.

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