Have you ever seen illuminating low oil pressure warning light? When this warning light comes on, it means the oil pressure is not up to the required level. The lower the oil pressure will go, the heftier the engine damage will cause.
As you know that sufficient oil pressure helps lubricating the engine components and eliminates friction which lengthens the life span of the engine. But if the oil pressure goes extremely low and you do not find any solution then it can cause friction between engine components, resulting into overheating and premature damage of engine components and obviously the repair is pretty much costly.
Here, in this article, we will guide you and teach you about what all you can do so that the low oil pressure light can go off without causing any damage.
Let’s start with a variety of reasons that can cause the low oil pressure light to come on.
Reasons Why Low Oil Pressure Light Comes On
#1 – Low Level of Engine Oil
This is the most common thing which turns on low oil pressure light. When there is no sufficient oil in the engine, the oil pump can’t generate sufficient oil pressure to lubricate engine parts and this causes the low oil pressure light to come on.
#2 – Issue with Oil Viscosity
Oil viscosity is all about the oil thickness and thinness – too low viscosity means oil is too thin and too high viscosity means oil is too thick. On the basis of oil viscosity, different engine oils have been allowed different grade. To know which engine oil grade is best for your engine, you should only refer to the vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendation.
If you use an oil that has too low viscosity, the oil will not be able to flow freely and will result in low oil pressure. If the oil has too high viscosity, it will not lubricate the parts properly and an oil pressure sensor will interpret this as low oil pressure and a warning light will activate.
#3 – Dirty and Clogged Oil Filter
The oil filter helps remove impurities from your vehicle’s engine oil, present in the form of dirt, carbon, and metal particles. If you do not replace the oil filter as per the manufacturer’s recommended schedule, it gets clogged over a period of time and restricts the smooth flow of the engine oil which consequences in low oil pressure and it triggers the warning light.
#4 – Engine Oil Not Replaced at Right Time
It is essential you change the engine oil as per the manufacturer’s recommended schedule to maintain a smooth flow of oil throughout the engine. If you delay the engine oil replacement, the oil will wear out and lose its viscosity and this old oil will no longer lubricate the engine components and also hinder the oil flow which will affect the oil pressure too.
#5 – Faulty Oil Pump
In the context of oil pressure, a bad oil pump is also one of the reasons low oil pressure light comes on. The oil pump is the main component that pressurizes the oil and circulates it throughout the system. If the oil pump gets damaged, the oil pressure will reduce and the low oil pressure warning light will come on.
With low oil pressure, the engine components will not get sufficient oil for lubrication and that will cause more friction between components, leading to severe damage.
#6 – Engine Wear
When the oil pump pushes the oil through congested passageways, it helps build a good amount of oil pressure, but if any of the engine parts get damaged, it broadens the passageways which causes the oil to flow more easily and it significantly reduces the oil pressure. The more narrow the area would be, the better the oil pressure would build up.
#6 – Faulty Oil Pressure Gauge
It is not always necessary that your engine has insufficient amount of oil pressure when oil pressure light comes on. It may be possible that your vehicle’s oil pressure gauge is not working properly or the oil pressure sensor is faulty which is showing a false reading and causing the warning light to come on. So, before taking any step, you must check the oil pressure manually.
What to Do When Low Oil Pressure Light Comes On
You may take the problem of low oil pressure not so seriously but if you leave this issue unattended, the consequences only lead to severe engine damage. The best thing is that handling the issue of low oil pressure is not that difficult. We will guide you step by step that what you should do when you notice low oil pressure light activated.
First of all,
1. Check the level of oil
Maintaining the correct oil level in the engine is essential for generating sufficient oil pressure. So, make sure you check the oil level and if it is below the line marked as a lower limit, then add the oil of recommended viscosity up to the level is supposed to be. After adding more oil, check the low oil pressure light, if the light goes off, it means the issue is resolved but if it still stays on, then move to the second step.
2. Check if the Sensor or Oil Pressure Gauge is Faulty
Check the oil level manually using a dipstick. If the oil level is up to the mark it should be, it means the oil pressure gauge is sending incorrect information.
In this case, either the sensor or the oil pressure gauge is at fault. Check the connections and wiring or get them inspected by a technician, and replace them as needed. Now, after replacing the sensor and oil pressure gauge, still, the oil pressure light is illuminated, then move to the next step.
3. Change the Oil With the Right Viscosity
You may have not changed the engine oil for a longer period of time and this bad and worn out engine oil with too low viscosity is causing the oil pressure to drop. So, change the engine oil with the manufacturer’s recommended engine oil grade. After changing the oil check if the low oil pressure light is on or off. If it stays on, then follow the next thing.
4. Replace the oil filter
If despite having an adequate level of engine oil with the right viscosity, the engine is not getting sufficient oil pressure, then the oil filter may be the culprit. Oil filters easily get clogged over a period of time and changing the oil filter is an inexpensive deal, so change it every time when you change the engine oil. After replacing the oil filter, see, if it has turned off the low oil pressure light, if not, then the problem is likely a faulty oil pump.
5. Replace the Oil Pump
When your engine has a damaged or faulty oil pump, along with low oil pressure warning light, you can also hear a knocking sound coming out from the engine. If this is the case, then it is necessary to replace it with a brand-new oil pump. Accessing the oil pump can be very challenging, so, go to an expert technician to get the faulty oil pump removed and replaced.
If after doing everything given above, the low oil pressure warning light does not get turned off, it means there is some internal damage in the engine such as worn engine bearings or the crankshaft bearings which is preventing your oil pressure light from turning off. Here, you should only approach a professional to have a thorough inspection of the engine.
On a final note, we would only want to say that do not take the issue of low oil pressure casually. Once you notice the engine oil pressure warning light comes on, stop driving your vehicle and get it inspected and repaired by a professional. If you ignore or do not fix the issue of warning light on time, you may destroy your engine.