Here are the 5 common symptoms of low engine oil pressure:
- Warning light on the dashboard
- Weird burning oil smell
- Strange loud noises
- Reduced engine performance
- Engine overheating
Motor oil is a vital component in your vehicle, and it must be maintained within a certain range for your vehicle to operate properly. However, over time of use, it's not surprising to deal with a reduction in your oil pressure as your oil gets older.
When you notice that there is a low oil pressure warning sign on the vehicle’s dashboard, it is critical that you take it seriously because it is related to a very important problem. Your vehicle relies on the oil pressure to determine whether you have the right amount of oil in the oil sump. Therefore, the warning sign is a way for your vehicle to communicate with you and bring your attention to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Many inexperienced drivers don't know is what to do when they see this low-pressure sign and what does exactly means? Most importantly, are there any other signs that you should be aware of to determine that you're dealing with low oil pressure?
This article helps to answer this question and many more. Read on for more details about the meme symptoms of low engine oil pressure in your vehicle.
What is the engine oil pressure?
Before we dig into the details about the symptoms of low engine oil pressure, let's take a closer look at the reason why your vehicle relies on the oil pressure to talk about the oil level.
Your vehicle's lubrication system consists of important components, including the oil sample, which is where the oil is sitting, the oil transferring lines, the oil filter, which prevents dirt from getting inside the engine, and others.
To get it to all engine compartments and to the different components, this oil must be pushed under a certain level of pressure. If this pressure is not maintained, oil cannot get to the inaccessible components and you can easily deal with many negative consequences, including engine self-destruction in some scenarios.
When you first add oil to your vehicle's oil sump, it will have the right pressure and there shouldn't be any problem. However, during the lifetime of the engine oil, it will collect a lot of debris and contaminants that might impact the engine oil pressure.
Not only the oil itself might impact the oil pressure but also other external issues contribute to low oil pressure. For example, if there is any crack or seal breakage around the lubrication system, oil can escape, and pressure also can escape causing a drop in the oil pressure.
Symptoms of low engine oil pressure
Considering the importance of having the right oil pressure in your engine, it is important that you catch any sign indicating that the pressure in the oil is reduced. In other words, while you can rely on the dashboard to tell you that the oil pressure is dropping you got to be very proactive and catch the problem as early as possible to prevent dealing with significant consequences.
Therefore, educating yourself about the common symptoms of low engine oil pressure helps you save a ton on labor costs and prevents dealing with major undesirable outcomes.
Let's take a closer look at the common symptoms of low engine oil pressure:
1. Warning light on the dashboard
Obviously, the first thing that you will notice when the oil pressure is dropping is the warning light on the dashboard. Typically, whether this warning light is related to low oil pressure or something else, you must take warning lights seriously.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, warning lights are just waiting for your vehicle to communicate with you and tell you about an internal vehicle problem. Thus, when you see that little oil sign on the dashboard, you must immediately realize that there is an issue with the oil pressure.
Note that when you get to the point where the oil pressure triggers a warning light, it means that you're dealing with a significant situation, and you must pull over and stop your vehicle as soon as possible. While the warning light may not necessarily mean that you're dealing with a major breakdown right now immediately, you should take it very seriously because you don't want to have any chance of damaging the engine just because you drove your vehicle a couple more miles.
2. Weird burning oil smell
If the low oil pressure warning light was not triggered for any reason, you should pay attention to other symptoms. For example, when your vehicle has low oil pressure, you'll notice that there is a weird burning oil smell.
Obviously, the burning smell happens because some oil might have been leaking on the engine compartment and because it fell on a hot surface, it got burnt. Whenever you notice any weird burning smell, you must pull over and stop your vehicle to investigate what's going on.
Keep in mind that the burning oil smelt might be linked to something else other than the low oil pressure. However, in all situations, the oil leak is a significant issue and you must take it seriously before dealing with negative consequences that could cost you the entire engine.
3. Strange loud noises
When the engine metal components do not receive the right amount of lubrication, they'll start making some weird noises. For example, you might notice some clunking or grinding noises coming from under the hood, therefore, you must stop your vehicle immediately and investigate what's going on with the lubrication system.
Take a closer look underneath the car and see if there are any signs of major oil leaks, which means that you cannot drive a car an inch otherwise, you'll deal with engine self-destruction immediately. Of course, the severity of the negative consequences depends heavily on how long have you been dealing with oil leaks.
4. Reduced engine performance
Obviously, the more grinding, the more challenges on the engine, the harder it is for the engine to work properly. You'll notice that your engine's performance is reduced significantly whenever you deal with low engine oil pressure.
For example, you will find stations where whenever you put more pressure on the gas pedal, the engine does not produce the right amount of energy and you'll find it very hard to accelerate your car.
5. Engine overheating
Finally, when the inaccessible and far engine components do not receive the right level of lubrication, they'll start creating some friction. The more friction, the higher the heat, the more engine overheating will deal with.
Engine overheating is the last thing you want to deal with when it comes to engine problems. It might sound like a simple problem, but it can easily lead to damaging the entire engine in no time.
What causes the oil pressure to drop?
Understanding the main symptoms of low engine oil pressure is not the only thing you have to learn. It's more important to understand what causes the oil pressure to drop before it's time. The oil pressure will drop over time but if you notice that it's dropping significantly, it might be related to an issue that you need to resolve first before topping off the oil and or changing your engine oil.
Let's take a look at some of the common causes of dropping the oil pressure:
1- Wrong oil
One of the most common reasons for the low oil pressure is choosing the wrong oil. Your vehicle is designed in a way that accepts a certain type of motor oil that provides it with a specific viscosity to achieve the right pressure. If you choose your own oil and you decided without reaching back to your mechanic or consulting your manual, you might deal with problems related to engine oil pressure.
Therefore, it is critical that you always check your vehicle owner’s manual to determine the right engine oil that you should go with.
2- Debris and contaminants
When the engine oil gets very dirty over time, the new foreign objects that are collected in the oil would impact the oil pressure here therefore, it's not surprising to deal with low oil pressure especially if you skipped oil changes for a long time.
3- Faulty oil pump
The oil pump is responsible for pumping oil to reach all the surrounding components around the engine. When the oil pump is not working properly, it cannot push this oil and it will not produce any pressure. Therefore, you'll see that the low oil pressure warning light is Illuminating on the dashboard.
4- Leaks and cracks
One of the very common reasons for dropping your oil pressure level is whenever you deal with cracks and leaks. This typically happens as your vehicle gets older but there are some instances where you might have dealt with significant issues that caused the damages. Therefore, you must take care of these cracks and leaks before topping off the motor oil and replacing it.
5- Malfunctioning oil pressure gauge
Finally, if you did not notice any other symptom other than the low oil pressure warning sign, it might be an issue with the gauge itself. The gauges on the dashboard are not problems free and they might be malfunctioning in reading the wrong pressure number and that's why the warning link will be triggered.
Therefore, it's important that your mechanic performs a thorough inspection and confirm that there are no other symptoms indicating that you're really dealing with low oil pressure. If that's the case, have him take a look at the gauge itself and see if it's the faulty component.
How to fix low oil pressure?
Once you confirm that you are dealing with a low engine oil pressure, the next step is to determine how to fix it. Before you fix the issues, you'll need to stop your car as soon as possible whenever you can and check out the problem.
To resolve the low oil pressure issue will, you'll have to figure out what's the problem causing it. For example, if the problem is related to some leaks, your mechanic needs to take care of these leaks and fix them before topping off the oil.
On the other hand, if the low engine oil is happening because of a faulty oil pump, you must replace this pump as soon as possible. Otherwise, your vehicle is not drivable.
Finally, if you confirm that you are just using the wrong oil type, you'll have to consult your mechanic and see if you need to flush it out and add the right type of oil.
Symptoms of low engine oil pressure: Final thoughts
Low engine oil pressure is one of the very severe issues that your vehicle might deal with. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with the comment symptoms of low engine oil pressure helps you detect the problem as early as possible, so you don't deal with major breakdowns.
While you'll notice that the low engine oil pressure will always get triggered whenever your engine doesn't have the right pressure, there are some other symptoms that can help you detect the problem much earlier.
This article highlighted the common symptoms of low engine oil pressure that you should be aware of. Whenever you notice any of these symptoms, you must stop your vehicle and resolve the issue as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might sacrifice the engine and deal with very high repair costs.
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