The engine is the main component of your vehicle that drives the car by burning the fuel. Although the engine burns the fuel, it requires proper lubrication to move different components. That’s where engine oil becomes important, as it lubricates other parts of the engine. This reduces the friction and increases the engine’s efficiency in terms of burning the fuel and performing well (1). Furthermore, maintaining proper oil levels also reduces the chances of corrosion and abrasion at the point of contact.
Although, most of the time, this sign seems to illustrate a drop in the engine oil pressure. Yet the experts suggest that the oil pressure warning light can indicate other discussed problems.
Difference between Oil Pressure Warning Light and Service Maintenance Light
Some drivers confuse the oil pressure warning light and the service maintenance light (1). Although, modern automotive makers have included warning lights in the vehicle’s cluster meter.
Where the drivers can drive the car when the service maintenance light is blinking, it is advised that the drivers should stop driving the vehicle when the oil pressure warning light flashes. The oil pressure warning light can indicate that the engine oil pressure is critically low, and lack of lubrication can cause the engine to seize up. In most cases, a seized engine is irreparable and needs to be replaced. Thus, to prevent this great expense, it is recommended to stop driving when the oil pressure warning light blinks on the vehicle’s dashboard.
Why should the Oil pressure warning Sign not be ignored?
An oil pressure warning sign is a critical warning sign sent by the onboard computer when there is a serious issue with the engine oil pressure or related parts (2).
Thus, the experts recommend stopping the vehicle for a while when this sign appears while driving. If the sign results from the wrong signal sent by the onboard computer or heated-up engine, it should go away after resting the vehicle for a few minutes. However, if the sign still blinks, it is time for you to stop driving and call up a tow truck before some irreparable damage is done to the engine.
Main Triggers of the Oil pressure warning Light
Low oil pressure
Oil pressure is a vital component in the engine.
The engine pump generates the oil pressure and pushes the oil through the hardware system. This helps in lubricating the components (2). But when the oil pressure is not generated in the required amount, the warning light turns on, indicating that the parts need to be properly lubricated. This is major because of less amount oil in the engine.
The oil may become less due to various reasons, such as evaporation. Also, the oil may become less in the engine due to excessive burning (5). Excessive burning of oil in the engine occurs when piston rings are defective. Also, the leakage due to the loose cap can drop the amount of oil, and as a result, the required amount of pressure is not generated. The engine’s oil level also decreases when the engine becomes old (3). This is because the functionality of the old engine is reduced, and it will consume a large amount of oil hence the number of oil drops in the engine. Thus, the low amount of oil will turn the warning light on.
In this case, you are recommended to stop the vehicle and take out the engine oil stick. Place the oil stick back after cleaning. If the oil does not reach the fill line, it is a sign of low engine oil, and you should fill in the oil according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. If the oil reaches the fill line, it is recommended to visit a professional mechanic, as the oil pressure is falling due to some component failure.
Defected Engine Oil Pump
The oil pump is responsible for pumping the oil into different vehicle parts. When less amount of oil is pumped to parts of the vehicle, these parts rub together, and as a result, an excessive amount of heat is produced (2). As a result, the warning light appears, indicating that the temperature has become high due to the minimum oil pressure.
Other than it, there are various parts known as valve train systems, which help the engine function correctly. Besides the valve train, there are hydraulic filters, push rods, and seals. The functionality of these parts depends upon the lubrication. A minimum amount of oil affects the functionality of the vehicle parts. Also, the valve train continuously produces noise, and oil pressure decreases due to a weak or defective oil pump. As a result, the light is turned on.
The engine oil pump is mainly located below the engine, and the engine might require dismounting for the pump’s replacement. Thus, you should refrain from trying any DIY methods at home if you are unprofessional and take the car to a professional service center for engine oil pump replacement.
Issue in Viscosity of Oil
The oil pressure may get defective due to the difference in the oil viscosity when there is high or low viscosity.
When the oil’s viscosity is low, the minimum resistance is generated, and the oil needs to be properly supplied to the car’s parts (5). Thus, the lubrication phenomenon slows down. When the oil’s viscosity is high, a large amount of resistance is generated in the engine. High resistance becomes a hindrance, and oil is not pumped correctly to different car components. As a result lubrication phenomenon gets weak. The oil viscosity depends upon the selection of the lubricant, its temperature, and the other contaminants present in the lubricant. Thus, due to the difference in viscosity, the lubrication process becomes weak, and components may get damaged. This, as a result, turns the light on.
You can purchase an inexpensive viscometer to check the oil viscosity. After reviewing the oil viscosity, compare it with the standard viscosity provided in the instruction manual. If the oil viscosity is above or below average, change the engine oil to avoid any issues.
Defective oil Gauge
The instrument is either damaged or unable to measure the oil pressure accurately. Therefore, there are chances that sensors cannot perform accurately and wrong information is sent, which turns the light on (2). The other reason that turns the warning light on is the unusual noises and high temperature in the engine. Moreover, sensors require specific power to function, but the fluctuations in the voltages might affect the sensors’ performance, wrong oil pressure is measured, and light is illuminated.
The oil sensor is primarily located in the cylinder block or at the oil filter housing. In any case, this sensor is difficult to access. Thus, you should take your car to a professional service center to get this sensor replaced or cleaned.
In the engine, a filter system is present after the lubrication system, and the filter system is responsible for removing the contaminants from the oil (4).
The filters might become blocked due to the contamination and dirt particles in the oil. In addition, filters might be clogged due to the soot particles or water particles. Water particles usually enter the filters when there is a leakage in the cooling system. When the filters are blocked, lubrication of the parts becomes difficult, and as a result, oil pressure is decreased, which turns the warning light on, indicating that there is an error in an engine.
Try replacing the oil filter regularly (interim service maintenance) to avoid the engine oil pressure warning light.