What does it mean if the Oil Pressure light comes on in the dash?

What does it mean if the Oil Pressure light comes on in the dash?
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Engine oil is vital to the operation of your car. If the oil level drops too low, or if the pressure cannot be maintained, then the engine isn’t being properly lubricated and severe damage could result. If the Oil Pressure light comes on in the dash, it’s your signal that something is very wrong. Pull over somewhere safe. Check the oil level, but it may not be related to this. It could be a failed pump, a blocked screen or a failed sensor somewhere in the system. Have your vehicle inspected immediately.

Tip

If the Oil Pressure light comes on, have your vehicle inspected right away. Do not attempt to drive if the light is on.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

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When the low oil pressure light comes on, it is best to turn your vehicle off and not use it until the problem is fixed. While we understand this is very inconvenient, it is better than risking the dangerous amount of damage driving the vehicle may cause on your engine.
The oil pressure light is often triggered due to very low oil or no oil in your engine. This could be because the oil hasn`t been changed in much too long or there is a major oil leak. Your oil filter can also be clogged, usually because of the lack of regular oil changes.
Most systems include two dashboard lights: one indicates that it`s time to change the oil, while the other tells you that the engine has low oil pressure.
Engines can work without oil, but the effect is so damaging they are only capable of running for less than 30 minutes until failing – and in most cases, it`s a lot quicker than that.
While your car will run without an oil pressure sensor, it is not a good idea to drive without one. The oil pressure sensor (also known as an oil pressure switch) measures if you have the correct amount of oil in your vehicle. Without a working sensor, you won`t know if you have the correct oil levels.
When too much oil is in the engine, the crankshaft`s rotation whips the oil up, mixing air into it. It causes the oil to be bubbly or frothy, and the oil pump pickup tube can`t draw oil in properly. The result can be low oil pressure – kind of ironic, isn`t it?
In reality, low oil pressure is a signal that there`s something wrong in the engine. It could be as simple as low oil level (which can be corrected by adding more oil or changing the oil). Or it could a mechanical issue that isn`t going to be fixed with a simple oil additive.
The low oil pressure light is a warning that there`s not enough oil pressure or that the oil level is too low. This prevents the oil from going through the narrow passages to provide sufficient lubrication. Lack of lubrication can cause the engine to seize up or cause damage beyond repair.
Most modern vehicles feature two lights relating to the oil system; the first one indicates the time required to change the oil while the other one means the oil pressure level is low.
Loud popping, knocking, and stuttering noises from the hood of your vehicle are cause for concern, and could be a sign of major engine damage.
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.
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.
High oil pressure is an indicator that the oil is not able to properly pass through the bores and reach all parts of the engine effectively. An engine that is not lubricated correctly can face (sometimes instant) wear through friction, damage to its components, and in extreme cases, it can lead to engine failure.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

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.

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.

Check engine light and oil light comes on before oil change?
ANSWER : Hi There,
As you may know, these lights are designed to come on at specific mileage intervals that are preset by the factory. When your mileage exceeds a certain amount relative to the last oil change, this will trigger the lights to come on. Typically this will include the oil light and the check engine light as there are also other basic service items that are checked during oil changes. I would recommend obtaining an owner’s manual for your car if you do not already have one. This will usually indicate the specific service intervals and recommended maintenance items for your vehicle at the various mileage intervals.

The tire pressure monitor will also come on when the air pressure in the tires has reached a specific threshold relative to the tire design specification. Tire pressure is also impacted by the outside air temperature. For every 10° drop in air temperature outside your tires will lose about 1% in PSI or inflation. As you may know, as the temperature of the air changes the density of the air changes as well causing the tire pressure to be impacted by this. When this happens, the sensors in the wheels will detect this change in tire pressure and cause the tire pressure light to come on. Aside from replacing faulty tire pressure sensors, another way to help prevent this type of fluctuation in tire pressure is by the use of Nitrogen in your tires rather than regular air. As you may know, air is approximately 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and the rest is water vapor and some other small concentrations of gases. Nitrogen is much less likely to migrate through tire rubber than oxygen. This will maintain your tire pressure much more consistently during large temperature fluctuations.

No dash lights, back right tail light is out, no parking lights. Brake lights work though as does head lights.
ANSWER : Hi there. In many cases, when you have electrical problems like you’re describing, it’s caused by multiple electrical component failure. It’s likely that a few electrical relays are not working; especially if you have systems that utilize the same components (such as your brake light and tail lights). I would recommend having a professional mobile mechanic come to your location to complete an electrical problems inspection first, so they can pinpoint what is damaged and recommend the right repairs.

My oil pressure low light comes oil and I replaced the sensor several times but it still comes on
ANSWER : Hello, thank you for writing in. Particularly having the check engine light on, the vehicle will have set off diagnostic troubleshooting codes that pertain to whatever component has set off the warning lights. You will want to start by having these codes read by a scan tool, which can be done by a technician, or at most automotive parts stores. Once you have those codes, you may have a better idea on what is going wrong. Without the diagnostic codes, and considering what you have already done to the vehicle, you will want to look into the condition of the oil pump and oil pressure sending unit. Keep in mind that the oil pressure is supposed to raise and fall with the RPMs of the engine. The lower the RPM, the less oil pressure generated or needed by the engine (generally speaking 10 psi/1000 RPM). Start with scanning the vehicle for diagnostic codes to determine what the engine has already detected is wrong, and take further testing from there. For more help, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

My oil pressure light comes on when driving
ANSWER : The Check Engine Light may have come on for another reason and may not be related. You should have it scanned and diagnosed.

As for the Oil Pressure Light, you may have a blockage in the oil pump screen and damage to the bearings if the pressure is low enough to starve the camshaft bearings of oil. The valve cover should be removed and check a few camshaft bearing caps for damage. If no damage is found then remove the oil pan and check the oil pickup tube for sludge blockage. Afterwards, replace the screen and perform an engine flush to clear out any sludge using a remote filter off of the engine’s filter adapter.

Be sure to follow all procedures per manufactures technical bulletin group: 17 10-2. If there is excessive wear found on the camshafts then the engine is supposed to be replaced.

I’d suggest getting this vehicle checked out by a certified technician who has the tools and capability to diagnose both your Check Engine Light and Oil Pressure Light firsthand. You’ll be able to find out what exactly needs to be done from there. Best of luck.

Oil pressure light won’t turn off
ANSWER : Hello. There could be an oil leak somewhere, or a problem with the car’s oil pump not working properly. It is also possible that the new oil pressure sensor that you just put in is defective and needs to be replaced. Have a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic complete an inspection to determine why your oil pressure light is on.

Hello Ben, my oil pressure is came on. Slight oil drip. Mechanic changed oil, replaced sending unit. Light came on after a day.
ANSWER : You need to have the oil pressure checked to see if the oil pressure is within specifications before you condemn the engine internal problem with oil pump or crankshaft and bearings. You may want to get the dealer involved now and let them take care of getting the light diagnosed.