What Is Low Oil Pressure?

October 1, 2023

Your oil lubricates engine components to reduce friction and allow the engine to run smoothly. Oil pressure describes the rate at which the oil runs through the engine’s openings. The appropriate amount of pressure ensures oil reaches every component within the engine.

When the oil pressure isn’t high enough, it fails to deliver sufficient lubrication to some engine parts. Without the right amount of lubrication, metal parts will rub together, and the friction causes them to wear and deteriorate. 

The metric for oil pressure is pounds per square inch (PSI). The ideal PSI varies between vehicles, but most range from 25-65 PSI. Anything lower than 20 PSI indicates low oil pressure, but check your owner’s manual to see the ideal oil pressure for your car. 


What Are the Symptoms of Low Oil Pressure? 

Low oil pressure indicators range from visual warnings from your car’s computer system to subtle performance symptoms. Some of the most common low oil pressure symptoms include:

  • Burning smells: Oil may be leaking, which reduces the pressure. The burning smell comes from oil dripping onto hot surfaces. 
  • Engine noise: Low oil pressure reduces lubrication, causing metal components to clank against each other. 
  • Overheating: Low lubrication leads to high friction and heat. Your engine may overheat if a leak reduces oil pressure or if the oil contaminates the coolant fluid. 
  • Poor engine performance: Without sufficient lubrication, the engine will work harder to achieve the same results. It may fail sooner as a result. 
  • Oil warning light or pressure gauge: A light on your dashboard may illuminate to tell you there’s an oil pressure issue. 


What Are the Causes of Low Oil Pressure?

Low oil pressure may occur as a result of: 

  • Low oil: Factors like worn engine components or loose filters can cause oil to leak inside the engine. The heat evaporates the oil, leaving you with less than you need. 
  • The wrong oil: Every car has specific oil needs, so check your manual to ensure you’re using the right kind. If the viscosity is too high or low, the engine will receive the wrong amount of lubrication. 
  • Debris accumulation: Stiction and sludge build up inside an engine over time, clogging the line between the oil pan and the oil pump. The clog will limit the oil flow.
  • Oil pump damage: Whether from poor installation, insufficient maintenance, contamination or too much use with low oil, the oil pump can wear down over time and lose its ability to facilitate the correct pressure. 


How Can You Fix Low Oil Pressure?

Low oil pressure can spell trouble for your engine’s health, so restoring oil pressure fast is critical when you notice an issue. 

Checking your oil level and topping it off is a good step to take. Refer to your owner’s manual to see which type of oil your car’s engine should use. When you know which type of oil to buy, you can visit a store or shop online to pick up the kind you need. 

If debris accumulation is the issue, do an oil change using Stiction Eliminator to gently remove the buildup and provide additional lubrication for the metal surfaces. You should take your vehicle to a reliable repair shop for a more serious issue like a broken oil valve.


How to Reduce the Risk of Low Oil Pressure

Preventing low oil pressure is all about taking good care of your vehicle. It’s important to schedule regular maintenance and oil changes so that a professional can monitor each component and keep oil in your engine.

Between appointments, you can prevent issues by monitoring your pressure and topping your engine off when necessary. Be sure to check your oil pressure or have a professional check it if the warning light comes on, even if it flickers on and off when idling. 


How Can Hot Shot’s Secret Help?

At Ho Shot’s Secret, we provide oil for most types of automobiles. You can browse our oil selection to find various conventional, full synthetic and synthetic blend options. We also produce oil additives that can boost your engine’s performance. Shop online or find a nearby retailer to pick up Hot Shot’s Secret oil products. 

For more information, call us at 800-341-5616 today!