Oil pressure sensor

Things You Need To Know About The Oil Pressure Sensor

Any automotive engine needs an oil pressure sensor (switch), which is an essential component. It keeps track of the lubricating system’s oil pressure. All rotating and moving elements inside the engine are supplied with oil under pressure via the engine lubrication system.

Oil pressure sensor

Oil is pumped through the oil filter and into the lubricating system channels by an oil pump after being drawn from the oil pan. The main bearings, other bearings, camshafts, and other rotating and moving elements of the engine receive pressure-applied oil through the channels. Any engine won’t run for more than a few minutes without oil pressure.

Well, in this article, we’ll delve deep into the oil pressure sensor. That said, the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • What is the oil pressure sensor?
  • How does it work?
  • Where is it located?
  • What are the problems associated with the oil pressure sensor?
  • How do you tell the sensor is bad?
  • How can you test the oil pressure sensor?
  • What is the cost of replacing an oil pressure sensor?

So, let’s get started!


What is the oil pressure sensor?

An oil pressure sensor is a device used to measure the oil pressure on an engine. An oil pressure switch and an oil pressure sender are two independent and unique types of sensors that are covered under the term “oil pressure sensor.”

How does it work?

The oil pressure alarm is activated when it deviates from a predetermined range. The diaphragm and the spring-loaded switch are two essential parts of the oil pressure sensor. An engine block holds the pressure switch, which is coupled to the oil gallery. When the oil pressure on the diaphragm starts to increase, the switch’s spring pressure overrides the force needed to separate the electrical contacts, which illuminates the warning light.

To enable the switch contacts to display a warning signal to the driver if oil pressure drops below a predetermined level, the diaphragm releases pressure from the springs. A dashboard warning light for low oil pressure is present in vehicles. Any driver will recognize that when this light blinks quickly, it denotes a little decrease in oil pressure.

The driver gets informed of a complete loss of oil pressure even if the light is still on. An electrical current flow from a fuse to the oil pressure switch when the engine is started, guaranteeing that the indication light is turned off. The diaphragm separates the connections when the oil pressure exceeds 4.3 PSI, activating the oil pressure light.

Where is it located?

The cylinder block, usually near the housing for the oil filter, is where an oil pressure sensor (switch) is mounted. Oil pressure sensors come in two different varieties: An oil pressure sensor is often a straightforward switch that opens the electrical circuit when the oil pressure reaches the minimum level necessary. The real oil pressure is measured by an oil pressure sensor in other vehicles.

What are the problems associated with the oil pressure sensor?

One of the frequent issues is when the oil pressure sensor (switch) begins to leak oil. The tread or the sensor itself could both leak oil. Your mechanic might advise resealing the tread if oil spills from it. The sensor itself must be changed if it is leaking. When the oil pressure sensor becomes clogged or malfunctions internally and cannot accurately measure the oil pressure, this is another frequent issue.

Even when there is sufficient pressure, this may cause the low oil pressure warning light to illuminate. The Check Engine light may illuminate in some vehicles with the code P0520 – Engine Oil Pressure Sensor Circuit when an oil pressure sensor fails. For instance, it frequently occurs in numerous Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep vehicles.

The first thing to do when the code P0520 is present is to search for service bulletins. As an illustration, consider Chrysler Service Bulletin 18-034-14 REV. If the fault is confirmed, it suggests substituting a malfunctioning oil pressure sensor with an updated component. The sensor electric circuit (wiring, connectors) needs to be checked as well if there are no advisories.

How do you tell the sensor is bad?

Oil pressure sensor

The engine oil pressure light will typically come on if there is an issue with the oil pressure sensor. It can also result in the oil pressure gauge giving an incorrect reading. The most common symptoms of a bad oil pressure switch or sensor are provided below:

  • The oil Pressure Light Comes On.
  • Oil Pressure Light Continuously Blinking.
  • Check Engine Light Is On.
  • The oil pressure gauge displays the incorrect reading.

The oil Pressure Light Comes On

The lights on the oil pressure gauge are the best way to determine if your sensor is defective. When the engine’s oil levels are normal and it is running smoothly and silently but the low oil pressure warning light still illuminates, you most likely have a faulty oil pressure sensor. This sensor will always give you inaccurate readings.

When oil levels are normal but your engine is making grinding, ticking, or other noises, you have a real oil pressure issue, such as a broken oil pump, and the sensor is only doing its job. These readings will eventually exceed the normal range to the point that the warning light will turn on. To keep track of your oil pressure level properly at this time, you should replace your sensor.

Oil Pressure Light Continuously Blinking

On occasion, the low oil indicator on the dashboard will flicker if the oil pressure sensor is malfunctioning. A driver can become anxious as a result of thinking that their oil levels are low, which, if accurate, would result in engine damage. You should physically check your oil level to see if it is low to see if this is a warning or not. If it isn’t, you should replace the oil pressure sensor immediately away because it probably has a problem.

Check Engine Light Is On

The check engine light may illuminate and error codes such as P0520 (general sensor malfunction), P0522 (low oil pressure), or P0523 (excessive oil pressure) may be set off if the transmitting unit malfunctions. These codes can be useful in identifying the problem, but it’s crucial to have a qualified mechanic analyze the car in order to validate the issue and perform the required repairs.

The oil pressure gauge displays the incorrect reading

If your car is more than ten years old, it probably contains a mechanical gauge that measures the oil pressure. The oil pressure sensor needs to be replaced if the oil levels are normal but the gauge is reading zero because it is broken or there is a connection problem.

Your oil pressure gauge is likely electronic and emits an electrical signal to obtain the reading if you drive a recent car. In a modern car, when an oil pressure sensor is malfunctioning, the gauge will display odd readings, stay at full, or be at zero. Check the sensor’s wiring and make any necessary replacements.

Without checking the dipstick, don’t assume your engine oil is low. Otherwise, you risk having too much oil in your engine, which could lead to a variety of other problems, such as too high oil pressure.

How can you test the oil pressure sensor?

Depending on the type of sensor, the testing process varies. Since the low oil pressure warning light frequently illuminates as a result of the low oil level, the first action is typically to check the engine oil level and condition. A standard testing process is for a technician to examine the sensor’s wiring and measure the engine lubrication system’s real oil pressure.

A unique adaptor is used to connect an oil pressure gauge in place of the oil pressure sensor, which is how mechanics monitor the oil pressure. When the engine is running, if the oil pressure is very low, an internal engine issue exists. If the pressure is within specifications and the wiring for the sensor seems good, the sensor is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Your mechanic can suggest replacing the oil pressure sensor first to see if it resolves the issue because the oil pressure test takes a lot of time and the sensor is not very expensive. We are aware of numerous instances where the oil pressure light problem was resolved by installing a new oil pressure sensor.

If the sensor and its wiring are in good condition, the oil level is correct, and the oil light continues to illuminate while the engine is running, there may be a problem with the internal combustion engine or with the lubrication system, such as a faulty oil filter or blocked oil pickup screen. Additional diagnostics will be needed in this situation.

What is the cost of replacing an oil pressure?

Several variables can affect the price of replacing a car’s defective oil pressure sensor. However, the typical replacement cost (including labor) should fall between $100 and $220. While labor charges can cost anywhere from $70 to $120, the oil pressure sensor itself can cost between $30 and $100.

If you choose aftermarket or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) vehicle parts, the cost of the parts may differ. The cost of labor can also change based on the location and experience of the mechanic. In general, a dealership will cost more than an independent mechanic.

Related Article


What happens when an oil pressure sensor goes bad?

A malfunctioning oil pressure sensor may erroneously indicate low oil pressure, turning on the oil light. The oil pressure light may also flash on and off if the oil pressure-sending device is faulty.

Read: Understanding Camshaft Position Sensor

What does the oil pressure sensor do?

Your oil pressure sensor’s main job is to keep track of your engine’s oil pressure and send that data to the cluster gauge on the instrument panel. The majority of contemporary automobiles have an electronic control module to which the oil pressure is directly connected.

Read: How To Bypass O2 Sensor

Can I drive with a bad oil pressure sensor?

It is not a good idea to drive with a bad oil pressure sensor even though your automobile will still function without one. The oil pressure sensor, commonly referred to as an oil pressure switch, determines whether your car has the right amount of oil in it. You won’t be able to tell if your oil levels are appropriate without a functional sensor.

Can a car not start if the oil pressure sensor is not working?

Since correct lubrication depends on the effective flow of engine oil, a damaged or unable sensor may cause the ECU to enter a fail-safe mode. The computer might stop the engine from starting if it signals that the pressure is low.

Read: Symptoms of a Faulty IAT Sensor

What controls the oil pressure sensor?

The engine’s oil circuit contains the oil pressure switch. It regulates an oil pressure indicator or switches on or off a warning light while keeping an eye on the oil pressure. Normally, the oil pressure switch is off. The warning light for low oil pressure turns on when the ignition is turned on.

Why is my oil light on but my oil is full?

A worn-out oil pressure sensor is the likely offender if the oil level and condition are OK, the engine is operating normally, but the oil light is still on. You can still drive safely in this situation, but you should get the automobile inspected and the sensor changed as soon as possible by a skilled mechanic.

Read: Understanding crankshaft position sensor

What causes low oil pressure?

One of the most frequent causes of low engine oil pressure is the oil level decreasing below the minimum dipstick line. Because of wear and use, an unattended oil change, or an oil leak, your car’s engine oil level may be low. The oil pump won’t be able to provide enough pressure if there isn’t enough oil.

What are the symptoms of low oil pressure?

  • Oil Warning Light. Your sensor might turn on the oil warning light on the dashboard if the oil pressure falls below the necessary level.
  • Engine performance is declining.
  • Burning-oil smell.
  • Engine rumbling.
  • Overheating of the engine.
  • Engine oil is low.
  • Inappropriate Oil Viscosity.
  • Poor oil pump.

That is all for this article, in which we’ve discussed the oil pressure sensor, addressing the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the oil pressure sensor?
  • How does it work?
  • Where is it located?
  • What are the problems associated with the oil pressure sensor?
  • How do you tell the sensor is bad?
  • How can you test the oil pressure sensor?
  • What is the cost of replacing an oil pressure sensor?

Hope it was helpful. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!


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