Oil pressure in a engine plays an important role in making sure that oil reach the areas they need to.

This helps reduce the wear of engine parts.

When checking the oil pressure gauge, keep in mind that the pressure reads higher in cold weather due to the higher thickness (also known as viscosity) of the oil.

Oil Pressure
Oil Pressure

Causes of a high or low oil pressure gauge reading

In addition to a bad oil-pressure gauge, problems with other parts can cause a high or low reading.

  • The oil needs changing: Over time, oil breaks down and loses some of its viscosity, causing a low reading on the oil-pressure gauge. The mechanic will check the condition of the oil and change it if necessary.
  • A blocked oil filter can cause a pressure gauge to read high: The mechanic will replace the filter and change the oil in this case.
  • A blocked oil gallery can also cause a high reading: If this happens, a mechanic flushes the oil system while changing the oil.
  • Sometimes the wrong grade of oil causes the pressure to read high. Make sure that your vehicle has the correct grade of oil and change it to the proper grade if necessary.
  • Worn bearings sometimes cause the pressure to show a low reading. The mechanic will change the bearings if needed.
  • A broken oil pump may cause a low oil-pressure reading. In this instance, a mechanic will replace the oil pump.

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What the oil pressure warning light means

When you start the engine, the light should turn on for a second or two to test the bulb. Once the engine has turned over, the light will turn off if everything is okay. If the light remains illuminated, immediately shut off the engine and check the dipstick.

Whenever you check your oil, always remember to wipe the dipstick clean, reinsert it back into the engine, and then read the level. Otherwise, your reading will be inaccurate. The same thing applies if you are driving and the light comes on. Pull over as quickly and safely as possible and check the oil level. If the overall level is correct, it is likely that the fuel pump or oil pressure gauge are malfunctioning. Replacing the pump or whatever is malfunctioning should turn the light off.