Low oil pressure

Low oil pressure when engine is at idle or driving. Noise after engine warms up

My car has 150000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Low oil pressure can be due to a weak oil pump or engine wear. Typically, a worn crankshaft or main bearings will cause a drop in oil pressure. Find a local repair shop that can remove the oil pan to inspect the lower end of the engine (crankshaft, bearings, cylinder bores). If all look good, try replacing the oil pump and switching to a thicker viscosity oil. If the inspection reveals excessive wear, then I would recommend an engine overhaul. If that’s out of the question, then maybe switch to a thicker viscosity oil to get some more time out of the engine. If you address this as soon as possible, you just might get quite a bit more life out of the engine.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Clogged or Dirty Oil Filter

Filters can only hold so much before they need replacing. If your filter is starting to get clogged up, less oil will flow around the engine, causing the pressure to drop. What to do – Have your oil filter checked by a mechanic and replaced if necessary.

If the oil level on the dipstick is between “add” and “full,” a possible cause of low pressure would be worn engine bearings, especially if the engine has very high mileage. Excessive wear reduces the original flow restriction, which consequently drops the pressure.
Normal oil pressures in the Jeep 4.0 engine when the engine`s hot are minimum 13psi at idle, and minimum 37psi from 1600rpm upwards (10W-30 weight oil).
Low oil level is the most common cause of low pressure; it`s also the easiest to fix. Oil changes are important, and between oil changes, it`s equally important to regularly check your motor oil level and top it off as necessary.
Low oil pressure is no joke. Keep driving when the pressure drops and you will seriously damage your engine. If your oil light comes on or you see any other signs of low oil pressure, have your engine serviced as soon as possible.
Oil pressure is measured in PSI and the perfect amount of oil pressure varies depending on what brand and model car you own. In general, if the pressure is below 20 PSI or under the normal range on the gauge it requires your immediate attention.
Without sufficient oil pressure, your car`s engine will operate with decreased lubrication and increased friction resulting in more heat. Engine overheating can be a complex issue. While it doesn`t always mean low engine oil pressure, low engine oil pressure can lead to an overheating engine.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

lost all oil pressure, replaced the oil pump, low oil sensor, oil pressure sensor, oil pan gasket,
ANSWER : The fuel pump will not stay on if you loose oil pressure. This is why it is shutting off. The loss of oil pressure may be from bad crankshaft bearings or camshaft bearings. The engine oil pan should be removed and the oil pump needs to be checked to ensure that you put in the pick up tube seal to the pump and connected the pump to the block. Then remove at least one main bearing cap and inspect the bearings for excessive wear and crankshaft damage. If you need some help with this, consider YourMechanic, as a certified technician can help diagnose the issue with your oil pressure firsthand and help you fix it accordingly.

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Low oil pressure light comes on when idle. Check engine light is on as well. Both came on after getting an oil change 3 days ago.
ANSWER : It is possible that they put in the wrong viscosity oil. In rare instances, a defective filter will also cause low pressure. If there is too much oil, it will aerate and cause low pressure. Be sure the oil level is really not above "max". The P2187 code will appear if the oil fill cap is not tight but it will also appear due to a myriad of causes because that code only "generally" identifies a lean running condition. Consequently, numerous parts would have to be tested including the O2 sensor, gas cap seal, manifold air leaks, any vacuum leak anywhere including PCV and EVAP systems, exhaust leaks, and fuel system faults such as failing fuel pump, clogged filter and more. Since the car has relatively low mileage, you would not expect a failed oil pump, although the pressure sensor (or switch) could be bad. However, the occurrence of the oil pressure warning light is quite coincidental to the oil change, thus I would suggest bringing the car back and asking them to redo with a new filter and double check the viscosity of the new oil that they use. If the problem persists after that, you will have to test actual operating oil pressure (at idle for instance) as well as the oil pressure switch. Finally, if the oil pressure warning light comes on continuously, unless the warning circuit itself is malfunctioning, that means the oil pressure is too low to operate the engine without damaging it. Anytime the light comes on for more than literally an instant, you should shut down the car and thus an issue like this obviously has to be repaired.

If you’d like, a YourMechanic certified mechanic can come to your home or place of business to inspect the vehicle and perform an oil pressure light is on inspection to diagnose the vehicle and suggest potential repairs.

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Truck has oil in it but when i am idling at a stoplight, the oil pressure gauge drops and says low oil 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 4.7L
ANSWER : Hello – assuming an adequate oil level, which you have checked, there may be a real oil pressure problem. It’s worth checking with a know working oil pressure gauge, so that you can get the real readings (i.e. 40 psi at running RPM, 10 psi at idle – both hot – would be acceptable). It’s expected that your oil pressure will drop at a hot idle, as long as you have good pressure above idle. Low hot pressures all around are indications of excessive connecting rod or crankshaft main bearings, camshaft bearings, or oil flow bleeding off elsewhere in the engine. For professional assistance, I recommend a low oil pressure inspection performed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, and give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

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My car has low oil pressure. I’ve already changed the oil pressure sensor 3 times.
ANSWER : If you have replaced the sensor three times and it did not fix the problem, then you may have problems with the oil pressure being low at idle due to wear in the engine bearings. The reason it would be fine sometimes and not others may be due to engine load and temperature changes. Have the oil pressure tested at the sensor port to see if it is low and needs engine repairs.

I recommend having a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your location to perform an inspection to determine why the Oil Pressure Light is on.

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after replacing oil pan gasket,low oil level light stays on, but oil level and pressure are normal?
ANSWER : Bob: Thanks for your inquiry. Oil level and oil pressure are measured using separate sensing systems. If the level sensing feature stopped working at the time the pan gasket was replaced, either the level sensor was damaged, not reconnected, or the wire harness and terminal were damaged. There is a possibility that the wire harness was just never re-connected to the level sensor so check that first. If you desire that this problem be diagnosed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request a warning light diagnostic – oil level and the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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Are there accurate electrical oil pressure gauges that will beep me when my oil pressure goes too low and how do they work?
ANSWER : Oil pressure reporting systems with programmable audible alarms are readily available. An example is the CruzPro Digital Gauge but there are many other vendors and you really have to do a product comparison and look at all the reviews. Once you select an audible alarm based system, if you desire a professional installation, you can use YourMechanic’s oil pressure sending unit service page to request installation. Of note, most damage to engines related to oil starvation occurs in the few seconds after starting. Therefore, I would recommend you FIRST install a pre-pressurization system as that will give you the most bang for the buck and indeed solve what is an immediate problem in all engines. An example of this product is the Insta-Lube Engine Pre-Lube Kit. Again, though, there are many variations on this solution. I highly recommend pre-lube and the only reason all engines do not have it is such a system adds cost and complexity to motor vehicles but it solves a real problem. A certified mechanic from YourMechanic can install such a pre-lube kit as well, if you desire. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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replace oil pump and pick up tube
ANSWER : Hi there. Typically when the oil pressure changes based on the type of oil you are using, it’s an issue with the pick-up itself. Quite often, the wrong sized or style of oil pump or a pick-up line that is too short / long, can cause inconsistent oil pressure. It’s also possible as you indicated that the oil pickup screen is clogged with sludge or debris (especially if the engine has not been rebuilt). It might be a good idea to have a professional mobile mechanic complete an oil pressure light inspection to help you pinpoint the source of the issue and recommend the right repairs.

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Does my vehicle have an oil pressure sender or oil pressure sensor or both and where is it located?
ANSWER : Your motor (454/7.4L Big Block Chevy) should have an oil pressure sending unit that is typically mounted just above the oil filter housing. This is a relatively small unit (about the diameter or a quarter or slightly bigger) with threads going into the engine block and a line coming out of the other side of the unit. Your oil pressure fluctuation sounds like this may be a case of a failing sending unit. If you are not able to replace this on your own, feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our expert mechanics here at YourMechanic to come to your location to replace your oil pressure sending unit.

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