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Top 5 Causes of Low Oil Pressure

One of the most significant metrics in a car engine is oil pressure. When the engine light comes on or the pressure gauge has a lower-than-normal reading, it could mean your vehicle has a serious issue. Driving your car in that condition could damage your engine beyond repair in only a few minutes. Since you can't know whether the issue is very serious, the best thing to do is just to turn off your engine. This post dives deep into low oil pressure and its causes to help you better understand this mechanical issue.

mechanic adding oil to vehicle to fix low oil pressure

What is Oil Pressure?

The concept of oil pressure helps to keep the engine functioning properly and lasting long. With the engine having numerous complex pieces and pulling plenty of weight, oil lubricates the moving parts for smooth functionality. When its pressure is high, it reaches all parts and flows seamlessly. When its pressure is low, the oil can no longer flow easily to all moving parts, and some moving parts are likely to grind on each other. This movement leads to friction, warping, broken seals, and numerous other problems. In short, it is a swift way to damage an engine.

Causes of Low Oil Pressure

The top five causes of low oil pressure include:

1. Insufficient Oil in the Engine

The low oil pressure warning beeps quickly whenever the oil drops below the minimum dipstick level. It can beep at any time, even when you just had an oil change, particularly due to leaking seals, evaporation, and worn piston rings. You should check your oil levels; if they are low, add more. Check for signs of oil drops on the ground too.

2. Poor Oil Viscosity

When the oil viscosity in your engine is either too high or too low, the low oil pressure light can turn on. Low-viscosity oils are great during colder temperatures, while high-viscosity ones are great when it is hot outside. You should check your car's manual to ensure you use the right oil.

3. Engine Wear

When you have sufficient oil in the engine and are using the right oil type, your engine may be the issue. Have an engine technician look at it to verify the issue.

4. Oil Pump Failure

A malfunctioning oil pump triggers the low oil pressure light to turn on, a hot engine temperature, decreased power, and a stalled engine. Have a mechanic check the pump and confirm the problem.

5. Dirty or Clogged Oil Filter

Plenty of dirt and contaminants in oil can damage your engine without a filter. However, less oil will pass through when overfilled, and its pressure will drop. Have a mechanic check the filter and replace it if necessary. When your oil warning light turns on, Custom Complete Automotive is the best place to turn. Our auto repair experts will perform an oil change and maintenance check to verify whether there are other issues. Contact us today to learn more!

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About the Author
Eric Riddles

Eric Riddles is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician who has been working as an auto mechanic since 1998 and originally joined the team at Custom Complete Automotive in 2005. Eric has numerous certifications in various aspects of car repair and spent 10 years training the next generation of auto technicians at a local high school Auto Shop classroom.

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