Bad Oil Pressure Sensor Symptoms & “Oil Presssure Light On” Causes

February 5, 2017 | Engine Info

Hello everyone, in this post I am going to discuss the following engine sensor: The Oil Pressure Sensor / Switch. I will be explaining what the functions of this sensor are, which symptoms will occur if this sensor malfunctions, and some of the reasons why the “oil pressure light comes on” even when the sensor is in good condition. So, here we go:

Basic Functions of an Oil Pressure Sensor / Switch

The main job of an engine oil pressure sensor / switch is to keep track of the oil pressure in the vehicle and then transmit this information straight to the combination meter or the instrument panel. If the vehicle has an electronic control module, then the oil pressure sensor will send this information to the module where it can be calculated. After it is calculated, the information gets sent to the combination meter or instrument panel so that the engine oil warning light or the oil pressure gauge can be activated.

Bad Oil Pressure Switch / Sensor Symptoms

If there is a problem with the oil pressure sensor, then this will usually activate the engine oil pressure light. It could also cause an inaccurate reading to be given from the oil pressure gauge. Below are the three most typical symptoms of a faulty oil pressure switch or sensor:

1) Repeated Blinking from the Oil Pressure Light

Sometimes if the oil pressure sensor is not working properly, there will be blinking from the low oil light on the dashboard. This could cause a driver to panic because they’ll believe that their oil levels are low, which would end up damaging the engine if it were true. In order to determine if this is a real warning or not, you should manually check your oil level to see if it is low. If it isn’t, then it means you have a faulty oil pressure sensor and you need to replace it right away.

2) The Wrong Reading Shows on the Oil Pressure Gauge

If you are driving an older vehicle, then it likely has a mechanical gauge that calculates the oil pressure. Whenever the oil levels are normal but the gauge is showing a zero, this means the oil pressure sensor needs to be replaced because it is faulty. If you are driving a modern vehicle, then your oil pressure gauge is probably electronic and transmit an electronic signal to get the reading. Whenever an oil pressure sensor is not working properly in a modern car, it will cause the gauge to have strange readings or it will sit on full or zero.

3) The Oil Pressure Light Activates

The best way to figure out the oil levels of your engine is through the lights on the oil pressure gauge. If the light for “Low Oil” comes on when they engine’s oil levels are normal, then you have a bad oil pressure sensor. Anytime this sensor is defective, it will give you false readings. Eventually, these readings will go away beyond the normal specifications which will cause the warning light to turn on. At this point, you should replace your sensor right away in order to stay properly informed on your oil levels.

Read also: Bad Engine Mount Symptoms and Replacement Cost

After you read the common symptoms above, you can check the condition of oil pressure sensor. Then the big question is: What happen if the Oil Pressure Sensor is Found to be in Good Condition? To find the answer, just continue read article below then you can narrow down the problem.

Common Causes of Oil Pressure Light On

If you’ve checked your oil pressure switch or sensor and it appears to be in good condition even though you’re still experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, then it could be a problem with your engine that needs to be fixed right away. There are a variety of reasons for why the oil gauge wouldn’t show the correct reading and why the engine oil pressure warning light comes ON or start to blink. Below are the most common reasons:

1) Faulty Oil Pump

Oil is pressurized in the engine by the oil pump and then this pressure pushes it through the engine. As a result, the oil lubricates the engine’s components so they can move more easily. If something were to go wrong with the oil pump, then the oil pressure would decrease and it would cause the oil pressure warning light of the vehicle to light up. And since there’s weak oil pressure, the oil won’t be able to move through the engine and lubricate the components. This will result in more friction between the components, causing higher temperatures inside the engine.

2) An Oil Filter That’s Clogged

An engine depends on an oil filter to protect it against abrasions and wear. The job of the oil filter is to screen out solid contaminants from getting into the engine. These contaminants often include metal particles, carbon, and dirt. If they were to get inside the engine, it would cause damage to the engine’s cylinder walls, journal, and bearing. So, the more contaminants that get filtered, the healthier your engine will be. However, oil filters tend to get clogged after a while. Once this happens, the oil pressure in your vehicle will decrease and the oil pressure warning light of your engine will activate. Your car will then start to experience problems as a result of this pressure change. This means you must repair the problem right away before it gets worse.

3) Oil Passages or Paths in the Engine

The oil pan or crankcase is what stores the engine oil. The oil capacity for the majority of engines is between four and six quarts. The job of the engine oil pump is to pressurize the oil and then circulate it. Once the oil leaves the pump, it will go straight to the oil filter so that its contaminants can be screened out. All the clean oil will then pass through the filter and enter a series of passages until it reaches the crankshaft. Because of the passages in the crankshaft, the oil is able to circulate through the bearings surfaces of the engine. However, if these passages got clogged, oil would not be able to flow through which would result in the oil pressure light become activated on the dashboard. Then, you can expect major problems to happen with your engine.

4) Engine Oil That’s Low

Oil lubricates the engine of the car. After a while, the level of oil may start to decrease because of a leak. Either that, or it may just get burnt away by the engine’s normal operation. Once the oil level decreases, you should see the oil pressure warning light begin to activate on the dashboard.


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