Top 4 Symptoms of a Bad Oil Pressure Sensor
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Without the proper amount of oil, your vehicle's engine could fail. This is why various systems must be installed in your car to monitor and maintain the oil levels, such as the oil pressure sensor.
The oil pressure sensor is essential for your car's computer to regulate oil flow and temperature. It is designed to detect and monitor the oil pressure and levels of a car. It's usually attached to the car's instrument cluster and connected to an oil pressure gauge.
If the oil pressure sensor senses a drop in oil levels, it will trigger an indicator light on your dashboard.
Sadly, the oil pressure sensor can go bad sometimes, leaving your car with a significant defect. Let’s look at the various symptoms of a bad oil pressure sensor.
Table of Contents
- Symptoms of a Bad Oil Pressure Sensor
- What Does the Oil Pressure Sensor Do?
- Is Driving With a Bad Oil Pressure Sensor Safe?
- Oil Pressure Sensor Replacement Cost
- Best Car Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
Symptoms of a Bad Oil Pressure Sensor
An indicator light on the dashboard is one of the most common symptoms of a bad oil pressure sensor. This usually indicates that the oil control valve is not functioning correctly.
The following are symptoms of a bad oil pressure sensor:
1. Oil Pressure Light on the Dash
The light from the oil pressure sensor illuminating the dash cluster is usually triggered by either high or low oil pressure.
When the detector senses oil levels drop, it will signal your car's electronic control unit (ECU). This signal then activates the oil warning light.
The theory is that if the oil pressure sensor is faulty, it will switch on the light illuminating the dash even if the oil pressure is still OK.
One of the easiest ways to diagnose this issue is to check the oil pressure using a pressure gauge.
Doing so allows you to determine if the sensor is faulty. Another method to check the condition of the oil pressure sensor is to use a fault code reader.
2. Noisy Timing Chain and Engine
The correct oil pressure is also essential if your car's timing chain is oil-fed. This is because the oil pumped from the engine's oil pump helps keep the chain moving freely and lubricated.
In addition, the other chain components designed to hold the tension in place are also often oil-fed.
If the oil pressure drops, it can cause the chain to slacken and get thrown around against the various housings and pulleys of the vehicle. This issue can be loud as you stand beside the car while idling.
If you can still hear this issue, but the oil light still hasn't been illuminated, this could be a sign that the oil pressure sensor is defective.
After you have replaced the faulty sensor, it's essential to inspect the other components of the vehicle to make sure that they're functioning correctly.
3. Oil Leak From Oil Pressure Sensor
The oil pressure sensor is designed to provide the necessary information to determine the oil pressure in your car.
However, if it gets stuck in the threads or the center of the sensor, it can cause the oil to leak.
This issue usually occurs in specific models of cars manufactured by British car manufacturer Chevrolet.
For instance, if the oil pressure sensor leaks oil into the body, it can cause the engine bay to get filled with oil.
If you suspect that the oil pressure sensor is defective, you can check for oil leaks by removing the block connectors from the sensor.
Inspecting the sensor while the engine is running can also help prevent oil from leaking from the body. If you find traces of oil in either of these locations, you need to replace the sensor.
4. Engine Is Overheating
If the oil pressure sensor is not working correctly, it could cause you to get a faulty reading on the condition of your vehicle under the hood.
Before the actual overheating begins, make sure you notice various noises from your engine.
The oil pressure sensor may be defective if the oil pressure gauge is at an average level and the vehicle begins making strange noises.
An overheated engine will then boil the coolant inside the car, which will cause the dashboard to get dangerously hot.
What Does the Oil Pressure Sensor Do?
The oil pressure sensor is an integral part of your car's engine. It's designed to measure the pressure of the oil in the vehicle. As the engine's oil pressure changes, the internal resistance of the sensor will also change.
Most older cars have an onboard power supply called the Optocouplers System (OPS) connected directly to the oil pressure sensor. This component provides a ground on one side of the gauge while receiving power from the battery. As the resistance of the sensor changes, it will force the indicator to move.
Late-model cars have different operating procedures when it comes to the Optocouplers System. In a typical system, the computer that controls the engine receives the information from the Optocouplers System.
The computer, known as the PCM, then reads the information from the Optocouplers System and returns a diagnostic code.
In some cars, an oil pressure switch is also included with the Optocouplers System. This switch turns on an oil pressure light to illuminate the dashboard. The switch will close when the oil pressure drops below a certain level.
If the oil pressure warning light appears on the dashboard, turn off the car. Doing so will minimize the risk of damaging the engine if the oil pressure drops below a certain level.
Is Driving With a Bad Oil Pressure Sensor Safe?
Although the low oil pressure warning light might be caused by the faulty Optocouplers System, it's not necessarily the fault of the oil pressure sensor.
Since the oil pressure warning light appears on the dashboard, shutting off the car immediately is essential to minimize the risk of damaging the engine.
Having the vehicle towed to a nearby repair shop can also diagnose the issue.
If your mechanic suspects the oil pressure sensor has a faulty component, you should immediately address the issue.
Having a functional Optocouplers System will allow you to monitor the oil pressure in the car.
Oil Pressure Sensor Replacement Cost
The cost of replacing the oil pressure sensor can vary depending on the model and make of the car. Usually, it costs around $50 to $250 for the replacement.
The exact cost of the oil pressure sensor will depend on the model and make of the car.
However, you can expect to pay around $5 to $100. If you want someone else to fit it for you, the labor usually takes approximately 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the sensor's location.
The oil pressure sensor's simple design makes it relatively easy to replace. Make sure you don't over-tighten the new one.
While removing the old one, be careful, as it can still leak oil if it gets too low.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Oil Pressure Sensor Located?
Depending on the model and make of your car, the oil pressure sensor's location can vary. Usually, it's located near the bottom of the engine block. However, it can also be installed on a cylinder head. This component has a block connector and thin wires.
How Do I Diagnose a Faulty Oil Pressure Sensor?
If you have the correct measurements, it's usually easier to identify a faulty oil pressure sensor. This is because the sensor has only a couple of pins, which have a specific resistance to ground. So, to determine the opposition, you need to measure the oil pressure.
How Long Do Oil Pressure Sensors Last?
Most car models have oil pressure sensors designed to last a long time. But like other car components, they can eventually fail. In most cases, they wear out only occasionally.
How Long Does It Take To Replace an Oil Pressure Sensor?
Generally, it shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to replace an oil pressure sensor in most cars. However, it can take longer if you're unfamiliar with the process. In most cases, you should hire a professional mechanic to handle the job.
How Do I Reset My Oil Pressure Sensor?
A normal oil pressure sensor cannot be reset. After you have installed a new one, remove the old one and start the car. If everything is fine, the light will disappear, and the oil pressure will no longer be visible.