3 Common Oil Pressure Gauge Problems

The oil pressure gauge reads high in a Jeep.

Have you noticed that your oil pressure gauge is not working properly? Often, the oil pressure sensor and the oil pressure gauge are the first things to break. While a broken oil pressure gauge is not a threat to your vehicle, it is too important a tool for you to lose. It alerts you when there's a real problem going on in your engine. It is your indicator when your engine is running low on oil or when it is overheating, and if these problems go unaddressed, it could mean engine failure and hefty repair costs. That's why it is important to understand when your oil pressure gauge is faulty.

1. Oil Pressure Gauge Not Working

You will notice your gauge not working at all when it stays bottomed out whether the engine is turned off, idle, or running. Try to step on the gas to rev up the engine. If the oil pressure gauge still doesn't change its reading, your gauge is busted. It's best to replace it as soon as possible because you won't have any idea if your car is already low on oil overheating.

2. Oil Pressure Gauge Reading Too Low

When your engine is idle or when you’ve just started your car, the oil pressure gauge will have a low reading. When the engine starts running and heating up or when you're already cruising on the freeway, your gauge's reading should increase. If it stays on a low reading, then you know your oil pressure gauge is broken.

3. Oil Pressure Gauge Reading Too High

Another common oil pressure gauge problem is a reading that’s too high when your engine is idle or when it's turned off. The gauge should never read very high when you’re not driving because the engine should be fairly cool due to inactivity. If you park or idle your car after driving and your pressure gauge reading does not return to a lower number, the gauge is defective.

There are many reasons why an oil pressure gauge may be broken. Replacing the gauge itself should be the first thing to try, but if your issues continue even after a new one has been installed, check for other problems. Make sure the wiring in your dash is not shorted or faulty, and consider taking your car to a mechanic to get your oil pressure sending unit checked or replaced. Or, if you’re an eager DIYer, you can even do it yourself.