How Could You Know Whether the Oil Pressure Gauge Is Defective?

In most of the modern car models, the oil pressure always plays an essential role in ensuring that lubricants would reach the places where they need to such as the balance shaft bearings, main, and camshaft.

This will help lower the wear of many engine parts and make sure that the engine would continue to operate smoothly without getting too hot.

When you are checking the oil pressure gauge in your car, bear in mind that the readings of the pressure are often higher in cold weather because of higher viscosity or thickness of the oil.

How an Oil Pressure Gauge Operates

In general, the inner working of an oil pressure gauge would mostly depend on its type, which is either mechanical or electrical.

An electrical gauge basically applies a circuit and a sending unit to transmit electrical signals to the gauge through a wire-wound coil. Those components will allow the engine to change the indicator needle to present the correct pressure reading.

On the other hand, the oil will come to the end of the sensor and push against the diaphragm that moves up and down a wiper inside the sensor on a resistance blade. As a result, this creates the signal that helps to move the needle in the electrical gauge.

A mechanical model often applies a spring which is adjusted by the pressure of the engine oil. Another important part is a coiled tube, also known as a bulb, which is attached to the outer casing of the oil pressure gauge and the connection at the needle’s bottom.

Under high pressure, oil will be pumped into the bulb from a supply pipe, just like in the car engine.

Eventually, that makes the bulb to straighten. In general, this pressure is the main factor that moves the oil pressure needle on the dash, which shows the level of oil pressure in your car’s engine.

A couple of car models are made with an oil warning light rather than an oil pressure gauge. In these situations, the warning light is often connected to a sensor which has a simple off-on switch to read the oil pressure via a diaphragm in the engine.

Common Sign of a Defective Oil Pressure Gauge

If the oil pressure gauge in your car is not working correctly, ask a professional or experienced mechanic to know the underlying causes. The following are several common symptoms that the oil pressure gauge in your vehicle is not operating properly:

  • Oil pressure gauge readings are too high: If the reading is more than 80 psi while you are driving on the road, particularly at a higher rpm, you should check the manual guide for specific information on the proper level of oil pressure gauge reading when operating the engine at a certain rpm.


  • Oil pressure gauge readings are too low: When the reading is basically below 15 or 20 psi while you are driving on the road. A cold condition could also make the oil pressure reading low till the oil pump is able to provide the oil to the car’s engine.


  • Oil pressure gauge does not work: The reasons for this issue would range from the need for an oil replacement to a defective gauge. In these cases, you should get a professional mechanic examined the level of oil in your car.

Other Causes of a Low or High Oil Pressure Gauge Reading

Apart from a defective oil pressure gauge, problems with other parts and systems within the car’s engine could lead to a low or high reading.

With the help of a mechanic, you would check those affected areas to make sure those parts still remain in good working condition and are not causing any problems concerning the oil pressure.

  • The oil needs to be changed: Over time, oil in the engine of your car will break down and lose its viscosity, which results in a low reading on your oil pressure gauge. Have a mechanic checked the condition of the engine oil and replace it when necessary.
  • A clogged oil filter could lead to a high reading on oil pressure gauge: In this case, the mechanic will change the filter as well as replace the oil in the engine.
  • A clogged oil gallery could also lead to a high reading: When this issue occurs, the mechanic should change the oil engine while flushing the oil system.
  • The wrong oil grade sometimes can result in a high reading. Therefore, make sure to check the proper grade of engine oil in your car and change it if necessary.
  • Worn bearings can cause a low reading. The solution to this problem is replacing with a new one.
  • A broken oil pump might also cause a low reading.

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