5 Symptoms of a Bad Oil Pressure Sensor/Switch in Your Car

Last Updated on March 31, 2020 by themechanic

The oil pressure is what sustains the oil flow inside of your internal combustion engine. As you know, the engine is comprised of several moving components. Many of these components create friction because they rub against each other. This friction generates heat which must be cooled down. The benefit of engine oil is that it cools and lubricates these components to reduce the heat and keep them running smoothly. As long as the oil pressure does not diminish, the oil can continue to benefit the engine in this way.

The amount of oil pressure in the engine is detected by the oil pressure sensor. Once the sensor has this information, the data gets sent to the engine control unit where it is calculated further. Based on the calculation, the unit will know how to properly regulate the oil flow in the engine. If more demand is placed on the engine because the driver steps on the accelerator, the oil pressure increases. All these components work together to make this possible.

5 Bad Symptoms

When the oil pressure is lower than normal, it could mean there is a problem with the oil pressure sensor. The symptoms are not too serious in the beginning, but they can lead to more serious symptoms if you don’t replace your oil pressure sensor early on. Therefore, take the symptoms seriously before it is too late.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of a bad oil pressure sensor.

1) Oil Pressure Warning Light

One of the first signs of trouble with your oil pressure sensor is when the oil pressure warning light comes on. In some vehicles, this is called the “Low Oil Warning Light.” Whenever this light stays on, it means there is either low oil, low oil pressure, or some other kind of oil problem in your engine. Often, it can be traced back to a faulty oil pressure sensor. Replace the sensor and your oil system should return to normal again.

2) Check Engine Warning Light

The engine control unit monitors the oil pressure sensor. If the unit detects a problem with the sensor, it may respond by illuminating the Check Engine warning light on the dashboard. Anytime there is a problem which has an impact on the functionality of the engine, you can expect the Check Engine warning light to come on. You’ll know this means that you have a bad oil pressure sensor if the oil pressure warning light is on at the same time as this one.

3) Hotter Engine

Oil pressure needs to remain consistent to keep the engine cool. With a bad oil pressure sensor, the engine computer may not properly increase the oil pressure when it is desperately needed. As a result, the engine will start to get hotter because the oil pressure is too low. If this continues, the temperature gauge will show the engine temperature rising.

4) Oil Pressure Light Blinking

Aside from the oil pressure light just turning on, you may see it blink repeatedly. It may also blink for a while, stop, and then go back to blinking again. Take this as an advanced warning that the oil pressure sensor is wearing out. You still have time to do something about it before your engine suffers serious damage. Take it to the mechanic and have them replace your oil pressure sensor.

5) Bad Oil Pressure Gauge Reading

The instrument cluster of your dashboard has an oil pressure gauge which is directly connected to the oil pressure sensor. The gauge tells the driver what the current oil pressure is. If you ever notice the oil pressure gauge indicating a strange pressure reading, then it definitely means your oil pressure sensor is bad. Either that or there is a possible oil leak somewhere in the system.

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Driving with a Bad Oil Pressure Sensor

Driving with a bad oil pressure sensor is extremely unwise. The key problem is that you won’t know for sure your car’s real oil level, and that could have some dangerous consequences.

As we said before, oil is the lifeblood of your car’s engine. Low oil pressure means the oil has less time to cool before it is reintroduced to the system to do its job of lubrication, cooling, cleaning and more. This will lead to the oil heating up and thus contributing to an engine overheating.

Knowing this, we should realize that knowing our car’s correct and proper level of oil pressure is an absolutely critical piece of knowledge for our car’s health and our personal safety. A faulty sensor will give you false information, at best inconveniencing you as you constantly pop your hood to check the oil levels, but at worst not telling you properly when levels are low, and you doing significant damage to your engine.

In short, driving with a bad oil pressure sensor is mean you put yourself and all of your passengers into an unsafe position. Replacing the oil pressure sensor is a fairly simple and inexpensive procedure that your mechanic is undoubtedly capable of quickly completing. If you know your way around an engine, you might even be able to do it yourself.

In the end, what will happen if you leave the bad oil pressure sensor untouched is that much greater harm will come to your car’s engine, and possibly even to yourself. Stay safe, and make sure you oil pressure sensor is working properly.

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