Today’s vehicles come equipped with a wide array of warning devices intended to prevent undue harm from being done to an engine, in the event of mechanical failure. These warnings notify motorists of any issue that might threaten a vehicle’s safety or mechanical integrity, thereby allowing you to safely exit their lane of traffic before irreversible damage is done.
One of the most critical of all vehicle-related warning systems is that which relates to engine oil pressure. A vehicle’s engine can be damaged to a catastrophic extent if run without sufficient lube oil pressure for only a few seconds.
Luckily, the bulk of today’s vehicles is designed to display a visible warning light of a similar warning message if an engine’s oil pressure drops below its safe operating range.
Additionally, in many instances, a warning of this type will be accompanied by the illumination of a vehicle’s check engine light, as an applicable fault code is stored. One prime example is diagnostic fault code P0522, which generally indicates the presence of a low engine oil pressure condition that requires further investigation.
Read on to learn more about DTC P0522, as well as how to fix such issues, should they come up in the future.
What Does Code P0522 Mean?
Diagnostic trouble code P0522 is indicative of low lubricating engine oil pressure, as presented to the affected vehicle’s PCM/ECM by the engine’s oil pressure sensor/switch. Conversely, related code P0523 would indicate high oil pressure.
Simply put, a vehicle’s operating software has established that feedback presented by the engine’s oil pressure monitoring circuit has fallen outside of its normal operating range, and is trending toward the lower end of its monitoring threshold.
This is of high significance due to the fact that an engine’s moving components require constant lubrication to prevent accelerated wear. In fact, an oil-starved engine can be damaged in mere seconds, and will often fail unconditionally in a minute or less, especially when under a load. Therefore, the presence of this code should be cause for immediate concern.
In the event of an active P0522 fault code, you must quickly determine whether the affected engine is truly suffering from oil pressure loss, or if the vehicle’s PCM has merely been tricked into thinking such, due to a failure in the monitoring circuit.
Knowing this, you will be required to isolate the issue at hand, making a determination regarding whether it is mechanical or electrical in nature.
Related: P0520 Code
Symptoms of Code P0522
Diagnostic fault code P0522 can be accompanied by a host of secondary symptoms, some of which can be notably severe in nature. Learning to recognize these symptoms as they arise can pay dividends when attempting to resolve the issue at hand.
The following are several of the most common symptoms associated with DTC P0522.
- Illuminated check engine light
- Illuminated oil pressure warning light
- Lack of oil pressure gauge movement
- Intermittent stalling
- Starting-related issues
- Abnormal engine noise
Causes of Code P0522
Code P0522 can be caused by one of several underlying issues, some of which tend to be rather concerning. Understanding the potential causes of this code can prove invaluable when attempting to correct a low lube oil pressure condition.
The following are several of the most common causes of diagnostic trouble code P0522.
- Faulty oil pressure sender
- Damage oil pressure sender wiring
- Lack of lubricating oil pressure
- Compromised PCM
Is Code P0522 Serious?
Diagnostic fault code P0522 is generally considered to be quite severe in nature, due to the potential issues that it often alludes to. In the event that a vehicle’s engine has truly suffered a loss in lubricating oil pressure, the operation should cease immediately, as catastrophic internal engine damage can result from continued driving.
Knowing this, you should never assume that their engine’s oil pressure sender has simply failed. An assumption of this type, without probable cause, can quickly destroy an engine if this assumption proves to be off point.
Therefore, the safest course of action in the event of perceived oil pressure loss is to immediately shut off a vehicle’s engine, before having it towed to its ultimate point of repair.
In any event, the root cause of a vehicle’s P0522 diagnostic trouble code should be diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible. Doing so can greatly reduce the chance of incurring additional damage to a vehicle’s engine that must be repaired before continuing operation.
If you do not feel comfortable tackling such repairs yourself, an appointment should be made with a trusted service center as soon as possible.
How to Fix Code P0522
The following steps can be followed to assist in diagnosing and repairing the root cause of your vehicle’s P0522 diagnostic trouble code. As always, factory-specific service literature for your particular model of the vehicle should be consulted before attempting any such repairs.
#1 – Check For Additional DTCs
Before beginning the diagnostic process, you should check for the presence of additional diagnostic fault codes with the use of a quality scan tool. Any codes uncovered should be thoroughly diagnosed before proceeding.
#2 – Check Oil Level
Begin by simply checking your vehicle’s engine oil level to ensure that it is filled to within its operating capacity. If this is not the case, the affected engine’s oil level should be topped off with oil of the correct viscosity.
#3 – Inspect Oil Pressure Sensor
Next, perform a careful visual inspection of your engine’s oil pressure sender. Ensure that this specific sensor is free of obvious damage and that its connector latches firmly.
It is also important to check for signs of damage to this sensor’s wiring pigtail. Any damage discovered should be repaired immediately.
#4 – Check Sensor Resistance
You can also test the oil sender itself by testing its internal resistance across its terminals, as specified by your vehicle’s manufacturer. These readings should be compared to those specified by applicable service literature.
#5 – Perform Mechanical Tests
Finally, your vehicle’s actual oil pressure can be verified with the use of a mechanical oil pressure gauge.
In-spec readings, in light of passing sensor resistance tests, would indicate a wiring/PCM issue, while lower than specified pressure readings would indicate a mechanical issue within the affected vehicle’s engine.
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