Beyond Leakage: Other Causes Of Low Engine Oil Pressure

Oil leakage is the premier cause of low engine oil pressure in many cars. However, there are cases where your car might exhibit symptoms of low engine oil without any leakage. Here are some of the alternative causes of low engine oil.

Worn Oil Pump

The engine oil pump is responsible for getting the oil flowing so that the oil can reach all relevant parts of the engine. The pump uses a set of gears that rotate to get the oil flowing. Over time, the rotation of the gears will wear them down and increase the tolerances (spaces) between the gears or between the gears and the pump's housing. Some of the oil will flow into these spaces, leading to low oil pressure.

Worn Bearings

Most operations of the engine involve rotations, which call for the use of bearings. These bearings experience considerable friction and pressure, which is one of the reasons they are lubricated with engine oil. Wear and tear is inevitable, however, despite the lubrication. Again, extreme wear increases the spaces between the bearings and other parts of the engine. The spaces trap the oil that should be flowing throughout the engine, leading to low oil pressure.

Malfunction of Pressure Relief Valve

The engine oil pressure should neither be too low nor too high; both extremes can lead to engine problems. The engine is fitted with a pressure release valve that opens to relieve some of the pressure if it starts to climb above the set threshold. Sometimes, however, the pressure relief valve might get stuck in its open position (debris intrusion can do this). That will lead to a constant low oil pressure in the engine.

Dirty Engine or Oil

Dirty oil or engine means the oil will not be able to circulate as fast as it should. Debris or varnish buildup in the engine are some of the common culprits for this. The result is that the oil might not return fast enough to lubricate the crankshaft, leading to low oil pressure.

Blocked Oil Filter

Lastly, your car can also experience low pressure because the oil filter is clogged. Remember that the filter cleans oil by trapping any particles, such as dirt or metal shavings, that might have found their way into the oil. Over time, the trapped debris becomes too much and reduces the volume of oil passing through the filter — leading to low oil pressure.

For more information about how to deal with these issues, reach out to auto repair services.