An engine oil pressure sensor or an engine oil pressure switch is a vital part of your car that keeps track of the condition of the oil flow and oil pressure through the engine. It makes sure that your engine and its moving components are properly lubricated. If the engine oil pressure becomes faulty, the overall engine operation will be compromised and it could create issues that can lead to engine failure and other engine component problems. With this guide, we will go over its importance, symptoms of a faulty one, how to fix it, and everything that you need to know about the engine oil pressure sensor.
Engine Oil Pressure Sensor: What is an engine oil pressure sensor?
An engine needs an appropriate amount of oil to get its job done. The engine oil helps the engine in three ways – for lubrication, for cleaning, and for cooling. That is why many systems found in your car are built and designed to ensure that its engine is supplied with the proper amount of oil and that the oil is kept under pressure. Engine oil has to be kept under pressure because it prevents it from being swept away by the intensity in the engine and it also provides the needed resistance to lubricate the engine’s moving parts.
When the vehicle’s oil pump circulates the engine oil, the oil will pass through an engine oil pressure sensor or the oil pressure sender. The engine oil pressure sensor is the one that constantly monitors if the oil pressure is still within the manufacturer’s recommended limits. It then sends a signal to the oil pressure gauge or to your car’s computer that sets off the oil pressure warning light to alert the driver when a problem is detected.
The engine oil pressure sensor makes sure that your engine is operating safely with proper lubrication. It helps you get accurate information about the status of your oil flow and oil pressure.
Engine Oil Pressure Sensor: What happens when the oil pressure sensor goes bad?
Maintaining the right oil pressure is important to keep the engine running properly. This is because engine components have metal parts that move at high speed producing lots of heat and friction and it will need a lot of lubrication to avoid damaging the engine and its components.
That is why the engine oil pressure sensor is very important because it takes on the job to monitor the oil pressure and transmits the signal to the oil pressure gauge found on your dash that alerts you whenever there is a problem. So what happens when the engine oil pressure sensor goes bad? How will you know that you have a failing engine oil pressure sensor? Here are some of the common symptoms of a bad engine oil pressure sensor.
- The warning light is on.
Although an illuminating low oil pressure light means that you have a low engine oil level, it could also mean that you have a faulty engine oil pressure sensor. This could happen especially when you check the oil in your engine but it’s at the appropriate level. This could mean that a faulty sensor is the one that triggered the illuminating low oil pressure light.
- Blinking oil pressure light.
When your vehicle has low engine oil pressure, an illuminating oil pressure light is enough to alert you about it. But if your oil pressure light is blinking intermittently, it must be because of a faulty engine oil pressure sensor or it is about to fail.
You can also check your oil level to make sure that it is not what’s causing the blinking oil pressure light. It is important that you don’t ignore the symptom. You should set a schedule to visit a service shop and have your engine oil pressure sensor replaced as soon as possible. Driving with a bad oil pressure sensor can cause potential damage to the engine.
- Oil pressure gauge reading is either very high or a zero.
A consistent oil pressure gauge reading of either very high or zero could be an indication of a faulty engine oil pressure sensor. This happens because the engine oil pressure sensor is directly connected to the oil pressure gauge.
The engine oil pressure sensor could be having an internal short that causes the very high reading. A signal pathway that has been damaged can cause the absolute zero reading. A bad oil pressure gauge reading can also be caused by a damaged wiring harness, an unplugged connection, or a corroded plug.
It is best that you check your oil level to rule out the possibility of having an actual low oil pressure. Low oil level can trigger the oil pressure light but overfilling your oil can also trigger it since too much oil can lead to foaming.
- Rising engine temperature.
As mentioned above, the engine oil can also help cool down the engine. A faulty engine oil pressure sensor does not send the correct information to the car’s computer and in turn, it won’t be able to increase the needed oil pressure. This could cause the engine temperature to rise.
Engine Oil Pressure Sensor: Will my car run without an engine oil pressure sensor?
It is important that your vehicle has an engine oil pressure sensor that is working properly. It is installed there for a reason. It is not just there as an extra feature, it is there for a very important purpose. Your car can run without a working engine oil pressure sensor, but it is not recommended that you drive your car knowing that you have a faulty one. It will be a gamble. You won’t be able to guarantee that your vehicle will have a safe operation.
Even when your vehicle can start and run normally, without a working engine oil pressure sensor, you won’t know the status of your engine oil pressure. You could be driving a car that has low oil pressure or low oil in the system. It can damage your engine or you could even break the motor and it will be very expensive to repair. It is best that you correct the problem right away.
Engine Oil Pressure Sensor: How do I test my oil pressure sensor?
If you think that you have a faulty engine oil pressure and you want to check it yourself to confirm, you can do so using these simple steps.
Using a multimeter.
You can use a multimeter to test your engine oil pressure sensor.
- Turn off your car’s engine.
- Disengage the lock by pressing the button and remove the electrical connector by pulling it.
- You can then test the resistance by connecting the one lead of the multimeter to the terminal for the warning light on the sensor and touch the other lead to the sensor housing.
- You should get a reading of 0 ohms for a properly operating engine oil pressure sensor.
- Connect the multimeter lead to the sending unit and the metal housing terminal. You should get an open circuit reading.
- Turn on your vehicle to do the next phase of the sensor test.
- Do the process again to check the resistance of each terminal while your engine is on.
- You should get a reading of infinity on the switch terminal that is an indication of open circuit if there is oil pressure present.
- You should get a reading of the sending unit of 30 to 55 ohm. The reading varies depending on the oil viscosity, the speed, and the operating temperature.
- Turn off your vehicle.
- If the sensor does not go back to its standard or proper settings after turning off your vehicle, it means that your engine oil pressure sensor is bad and you need to replace it immediately.
- If the sensor goes back to its specified settings, reattached the electrical connector.
You can also use this other method to test your engine oil pressure sensor.
- Get in your car, put your key in the ignition and turn the key to the accessory setting. Make sure that your engine is not running.
- Locate your oil gauge on the dashboard for you will be checking it in this method.
- If the oil gauge reads zero, disconnect the wire that is attached to the sending unit.
- If the oil gauge goes up and reads three after disconnecting, it is an indication that your engine oil pressure sensor is faulty and you need to replace it.
You can also touch the end of the sending unit’s unplugged wire end to the negative part of the battery or to some metal part of your vehicle. You will know if the engine oil pressure sensor is in good working condition if the oil gauge reads zero.
Engine Oil Pressure Sensor: How much does it cost to replace an oil pressure sensor?
The engine oil pressure sensor constantly checks the oil pressure as it moves through the engine and reports it to the Engine Control Unit. Maintaining the right oil pressure is necessary since without the right pressure, engine oil won’t be able to move as fast as it should to keep the moving parts lubricated and keep those parts from wearing out faster.
For this reason, you need to make sure that your engine oil pressure sensor is working properly. If it is faulty, you need to have it replaced immediately. You can contact your local service shop and set a schedule for an engine oil pressure sensor replacement. The estimated cost for a sensor replacement could go from $127 up to $146. Replacement parts are priced at $54 and labor costs can go from $73 to $92. Additional fees and taxes will also be added to the total bill.
When replacing an engine oil pressure sensor, there are many things that need to be done first. One of which is to check the oil level to make sure that it is correct. The oil pressure of the vehicle will also be checked to ensure that it matches the recommended specifications set by the manufacturer.
Can I replace the engine oil pressure sensor myself?
You can replace the engine oil pressure sensor yourself since it is physically possible but it is not encouraged. There are risks involved when you replace a sensor and it is something you just can’t do out on a whim. You know the importance of an engine oil pressure sensor that is why letting a professional do the replacing is the best way to ensure that the sensor will be installed properly.
Engine Oil Pressure Sensor: How long does an engine oil pressure sensor last?
Sensors or switches installed in your vehicle usually last as long as your vehicle. Although these sensors are built and designed to last long, it is not always the case. Several factors can cause these sensors to fail including the engine oil pressure sensor.
Wear and tear, harsh driving conditions, extreme weather, disregarding regular maintenance are some of the factors that can lead to a faulty or damaged engine oil pressure sensor. When this happens, a replacement will be needed. To make sure that you won’t get any further engine damage, you need to act immediately the moment you experience the symptoms of a faulty engine oil pressure sensor.
Engine Oil Pressure Sensor: Final Word
The engine oil pressure sensor is built and designed to ensure that the engine has a safe operating condition. It alerts the drivers of potential problems with the engine oil including its level, oil flow, or pressure.
When an engine oil pressure sensor goes bad, it can be annoying but it is more than just an inconvenience. It indicates a problem and you should act on it immediately. It is not something you can ignore. Sure you can check your oil pressure manually but the process is such a tiresome task and you have to pull over and check it every now and then. While doing that tedious process, little did you know the problem has become more than just a faulty engine oil pressure sensor and has become something that is too expensive to fix. To prevent something like that from happening, make sure that you take notice of the early signs of a failing engine oil pressure sensor and have it checked as soon as possible.