Low oil pressure: What could be the cause of this problem?
Low oil pressure is one of the problems that are not common, but very serious. There are only a few reasons that can cause low oil pressure.
It is often a low oil level, caused by an oil leak, insufficient pressure in the pump, or clogged components. An illuminated oil pressure warning light almost always indicates a drop in engine oil pressure, which we will discuss first.
Table of Contents
- Oil pressure indicator light
- Low oil pressure and its cause
- Engine seizure can occur due to insufficient lubrication
Oil pressure indicator light
This warning light is connected to the oil pressure sensor in the lubrication system's pressure line behind the oil pump. If the oil pressure is sufficient, it pushes the engine oil against the diaphragm of the switching contact, which is connected to the vehicle frame.
Related article - Oil pressure warning light: What is the problem?
In this case, the connection to the vehicle frame will be broken, causing the oil pressure light to go out. If the pressure is insufficient, the oil pressure warning light lights up, and the engine goes into emergency mode in some cars.
Related article - Engine lubrication system: How does engine lubrication work?
If the engine oil pressure is low, it means only two things: the engine is low on oil, or there is a malfunction in the engine lubrication system. Let's look at the malfunctions directly related to the drop in engine pressure.
Low oil pressure and its cause
- Loose or cracked oil intake pipe
- There is no or very little oil in the engine
- Opened oil pressure control valve at low engine speeds
- Worn or otherwise damaged oil pump
- Worn main crankshaft bearings
- Clogged engine oil inlet strainer
- Clogged oil filter
Low oil pressure causes insufficient lubrication of moving engine parts, which can lead to severe and irreversible damage.
Engine seizure can occur due to insufficient lubrication
- Main bearings of the crankshaft
- Connecting rod bearings
- Piston rings
- Piston in the cylinder
- Valve guides
In the case of low engine oil pressure, we recommend stopping the car immediately and calling a tow truck, or solving the problem by topping up the oil. After stopping the vehicle and opening the hood, be careful not to burn yourself on hot engine parts.
Related article - Seized Engine: What does it mean, and what's the cause?
If you continue to drive the car and ignore the low engine oil pressure, there is a risk of damage to the engine's moving parts and, in the worst case, engine seizure. Correcting the problem in time can prevent serious damage to the engine, which would make your wallet cry.