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What’s Wrong with the Oil Pressure Switch?

What’s Wrong with the Oil Pressure Switch?

A faulty oil pressure switch isn’t the worst repair. It only costs $100, more or less, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. The most common sign is that the oil pressure switch isn’t working correctly is a false low pressure or low oil alert on the car’s dashboard.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


There are certain car problems that give us hope. For example, sometimes the check engine line shows up just because the gas tank lid was left ajar ever so slightly. No big deal there. Another “easy” repair could be the oil pressure switch which makes the car think its broken when it’s not that bad.

Oil is like the blood of the car. It keeps everything flowing correctly under the hood. Unlike blood, it can’t replace itself on its own. Leaks, head gasket problems, and corrosion could cause a notification in the engine’s computer that something is amiss. Sometimes, however, it’s just the oil pressure switch.

If you’re driving an old car, you might find yourself becoming pretty savvy about car repair. That being said, it’s not the type of driving experience everybody enjoys. Nobody likes a breakdown, especially when the real problem isn’t the oil pressure switch but that your car is on its last leg altogether.

Perhaps the fault is common in a certain make or model. If the car is especially new, the repair might even be covered under warranty or recall.

Either way, knowing a little bit more about the car’s oil pressure switch is going to help you know. In this article, we’ll cover what an oil pressure switch does, what the signs are that it is going bad, and how much it costs to repair the part.

How do I know if I need a New Oil Pressure Switch?

If your car doesn’t have enough oil in it while it’s operating, you’re going to have big problems on your hands; this is why it’s important to know if your car needs serious help or if it’s just a fault oil pressure switch, sometimes known as an oil pressure sensor.

The oil pressure switch essentially measures the pressure of the oil in the car to ensure that there is enough oil present to operate the vehicle without damaging it. Sometimes the car has the right oil, but it’s the sensor that’s gone bad. A few clues that this is the case are:

  • Low oil alert appears on computer dashboard
  • Low oil or oil can figure flickers on the dashboard
  • The oil pressure gauge is reading zero, but the car is actually okay on oil.

If these symptoms are occurring on your daily commute, you need to check out the situation as soon as possible. If you know a thing or two about cars, then you might take a peek yourself. If you’re a total amateur or you hate having oil on your hands, then it’s time to visit a local mechanic. 

Don’t fret if you’re seeing that oil can flicker while you’re driving. It could be a false alarm; you just need a new oil pressure sensor. If that’s the case, you’re looking at a repair bill of about $100 for parts and labor combined. Of course, some makes and models require special care, driving up the bill

Why is my Oil Light Blinking in my Car?

There are two common indications that the oil pressure switch has a fault. The oil pressure warning light appears. Or, in some cases, the light seems to flicker on and off rapidly and seemingly randomly. 

Regardless of your guess about what’s causing the light to come on, it’s important to get the car to a licensed and certified mechanic right away. 

Older cars barely had computers in them. Today, our vehicle’s engines are so hopped up on sensors that one little glitch in the system can send the car’s mechanics into a tailspin. In fact, there are many times when the only thing wrong with the car is the sensor itself. 

The problem is that some newer cars won’t allow for an override. The manufacturer has built in failsafe technology into modern cars. The cars know when the repair is so bad that running the vehicle may cause damage or pose a safety risk. As such, a faulty sensor is reason to visit a mechanic.

If you’re nervous about the light, check the car’s oil level before driving. If it’s low, it’s not the sensor that’s the problem. It’s probably something more serious. Drivers are advised to call for roadside assistance or a tow truck if this happens.

The blinking oil light is kind of a funny symptom. It could be really bad news like low oil, a dry engine, sludge, a blown head gasket… the list goes on and on! However, it could just be the oil sensor that’s bad. If that’s the case, a repair bill of $100 is in the future.

The Oil Pressure Gauge in my Car is Reading Zero

A bad oil pressure switch could be causing a zero reading when it comes to oil pressure.

A lot of older cars have a gauge that tells of the oil pressure. It’s the same type of device one might see on an oxygen tank, pool vacuum, or any other pressurized symptom.

It’s showing zero, but the oil is acceptable, then it’s the gauge or the oil pressure switch that’s no longer working.

Sometimes the pressure gauge doesn’t sit at zero. Instead, it fluctuates rapidly or reads at the highest level. These little gauges aren’t meant to last forever. If you’re having a problem like this on an older car, then it’s time to call a mechanic. Make sure the mechanic checks the whole car out. 

There could be other problems. If not, the basic oil pressure switch repair should only run the car owner about $100.

How do I fix the Oil Pressure Switch in my Car?

Some mechanics support car owners tinkering around the hood of their old car, swapping out parts like the spark plugs or the oil pressure switch, without a second thought. Others warn that messing around the hood when you don’t know what you’re doing is not a good idea.

Generally, DIY car care should be left to the professional mechanics. That being said, back in the day, our cars were designed for the average Joe to do a little bit of work himself. Changing the brakes, fixing a flat, getting a new oil filter or oil pressure switch was no sweat.

Although the part can be pricey, some estimates for certain makes and models are as low as $5 if you shop around online or at local junkyards. If the piece can be unscrewed and switched out without a fuss, why not try it yourself?

The first step is to find it. If you’re driving a newer car, this will be harder as they’re not designed for the driver to really play around with the engine. On older cars, however, the piece can be found mounted near the engine block.

Check to make sure the oil is actually good before deeming this a one and done repair job. If the oil is low, leaking, or burning, simply changing the oil pressure switch won’t do much good.

Unplug the sensor’s electoral connector next. In fact, inspect while you’re checking it out. It could just be dirty from debris.

Sometimes these pieces get stuck! Lube can help; if it’s too tight, call a professional mechanic.

Using the right tool, a wrench or socket, remove the oil pressure switch from the engine. A few twists of the hand should get it off once it’s good and loose. Then, add the new oil pressure switch.

Be sure to use the correct sealant since we’re installing a pressure gauge. When it’s attached, connect the electrical and voila! 

Of course, the part must be tested. If you’re driving around the car and still that see oil light coming on after the oil pressure switch has been successfully changed, there’s something else going on that requires attention.

If you’re going parts only on this repair, it could be between $5 and $50 to do the work on your own. If you need a mechanic, the bill may run as high as $100.

Where can I buy an Oil Pressure Switch?

Buying an oil pressure switch is fairly easy thanks to the Internet. If your car is newer, it will be easier to find the part. Just search online for a retailer that sells the part you need for the make and model of your car.

If you’re old school, or driving an old school car, you might have to go the traditional route. You could check at local auto parts stores for the piece. If it’s not in stock, perhaps it can be ordered. If not, you may have to search for equivalent parts or visit a junkyard.

Auto recyclers and junkyards often have plenty of spare parts for older vehicles. It might only cost a few bucks to grab the piece from them. 

If you’re dreading this repair, then perhaps you could instead call the junkyard to get rid of your car and start over with a newer vehicle.

Is it Worth It to Repair the Oil Pressure Switch on an Old Vehicle?

Whether the oil pressure switch repair is worth it or not is a good question. If your car only has this one little detail, then sure. It makes sense to drive a safe and well-running car.

However, if your car is older, and it’s just another repair bill on a list of many, then perhaps no. It could be time to say goodbye that broken-down car and send it to the junkyard.

Driving an old car is fun at first. The price is right, and it looks cool cruising down the expressway. We all want to stand out with our ride. Nevertheless, a broken-down car on the shoulder isn’t as cool. Whether it’s the oil pressure switch, or some other bum part, don’t let the glamour of the old car fool you.

It could be a cheap fix or another hundred bucks thrown into a money pit. If you’re ready to let go, then the junkyard is a fine option.

The good news is that in this case, the junkyard will come to you. They bring a tow truck to haul off the vehicle, handing you cash money on the spot. You might that money toward a new car (or a bus pass!).

Driving old cars is actually bad for the environment, especially if the oil system is messed up. It would be better to get a newer car or to rely on public transit or ride sharing.

Getting paid $100 bucks sure beats spending it for an oil pressure switch.

Another No-nonsense Repair: The Oil Pressure Switch

There are some repairs that aren’t a big deal. We have to change the oil filter, the timing belt, and the windshield wipers from time to time. It’s just the average maintenance schedule.  For about $100 or less, if the oil pressure switch is to blame, your car could be up and running in no time flat.

Remember that the low oil pressure indication, or the flickering oil light, doesn’t mean it’s always the sensor. It’s probably the oil pressure switch if everything else with the car is fine and dandy. If there’s burning oil, an oil leak, or a dry engine, there could be a more serious problem at play.

When your car is breaking down all the time, even if it’s just the oil pressure switch this time, you’ve got to that car to the shop (or to the junkyard) and stat.