Why Is My Car’s Oil Pressure Light On?

Your dashboard is full of lights that glow when a potential problem or hazard arises in different components of your car or truck faces. One of these is the oil pressure light, indicating low oil. While this is a common hazard light, pinpointing exactly what’s causing it to activate isn’t always easy.

You see, your vehicle’s engine is made up of multiple moving parts that move against each other at high velocities as you drive. Engine oil runs through them to lubricate the parts and reduce the amount of friction. The oil is pressurized by an oil pump that the engine runs, also helping to cool the engine and protect its components. The warning light will kick on if the minimum pressure value isn’t attained.

There are six main causes for the low oil pressure light turning on.

A Faulty Sensor

This is the first thing that should be checked before you go any further. If the sensor isn’t doing its job, it can easily read the wrong pressure levels and trigger the warning light even though it is not necessary.

A Malfunctioning Oil Pump

The oil pump generates the pressure to move the engine oil throughout the system, carrying the oil in the pan and directing it into the cylinder head and engine block. If it malfunctions, bubbles get into the oil, reducing the pressure.

A Bad Oil Filter

The oil filter removes contaminants in the oil. It becomes clogged with debris because of how it traps these contaminants. It can become so clogged that the particles and debris flow back into the engine. If the filter prevents the oil from flowing freely, it will cripple the entire system’s efficiency and trigger the warning light.

Wrong Engine Grade Oil

Your owner’s manual should tell you the proper engine oil for your vehicle, as oil varieties come with different specifications. Oil types can vary widely in viscosity and density, so you can’t just pull anything off the shelf and assume that it will work. Plus, some cars require the use of synthetic oil.

You should also check periodically to make sure your oil isn’t turning colors or showing other signs of needing to be changed.

Engine Oil Leaks

Oil leaks can be caused by several problems, including worn gaskets, pans, and seal rings. This seriously compromises its ability to lubricate, putting the health of your entire engine at risk. Leaks need to be repaired quickly to avoid more costly damage.

Low Oil Levels

Sometimes the engine oil is genuinely low. Adding oil solves the problem completely and comes with the reminder that you should check your oil levels regularly and remember to get it changed on time.

Engine Oil Is Necessary for the Health of Your Vehicle’s Engine

Without oil, the engine’s many moving parts grind and wear, sometimes even breaking. If you suspect a problem with your engine oil, don’t hesitate to bring your vehicle to a mechanic, as it can save you a bundle down the road.

Photo by Kameleon007 from getty images Signature via Canva Pro

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