It’s important to understand that there is a difference between low oil pressure and low oil. Oil is considered the lifeblood of the engine. It circulates around all the moving parts to ensure they move without friction, maintaining the serviceability and capabilities of the engine.
In order for the oil to move around the engine properly, it needs to be under pressure. Most engines run at 50 to 60 psi.
In most vehicles, your oil light will come on if your oil pressure drops below 7 psi. There are several reasons why this could happen:
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Low Oil level
The engine burns a small amount of oil in normal use. Over time this can reduce the amount of il available for lubrication. If you never check your oil it could become low enough to cause an issue. However, low oil levels normally indicate either a leak or an issue with the engine.
If the level of oil is very low then the oil pump may not have enough to work with to create the pressure the engine needs. This type of low oil pressure can be dealt with by increasing oil level and monitoring it to make sure it’s not going down too fast.
Oil gets thicker the longer it is in the engine. This is partly because it has been heated and cooled multiple times and also because it collects debris from inside the engine.
This can make it harder for the pup to move the oil around the engine, reducing the pressure and potentially causing issues. You should find out more about the importance of regular oil changes.
There are several different types of oil available on the market. Most are designed to flow smoothly in a range of temperatures. But, if you have the wrong oil in your vehicle it may not be thin enough to run in the cold or too thin to work properly in the heat of the summer.
This can cause the oil pump to struggle, again reducing oil pressure.
The Oil Pump
The oil pump works every time you use the engine. It fits in from the bottom of the engine and pushes it around. It’s possible that the oil pump can fail, eliminating your oil pressure. This can be due to the age of the pump or the stress of dealing with the wrong oil type, blockages n the pipes, and other internal issues.
Unfortunately, the oil pump is often located inside the sump, meaning you’ll want a professional to take it apart and fix it properly for you.
Your low oil pressure can actually be a result of electrical issues. You could simply be suffering from a bad sensor or another electrical fault in the oil circuit. That’s why it’s always best to start investigating oil pressure issues with an oil pressure gauge. This will give you an accurate reading of the oil pressure and help you to identify the issue.