Is It Wrong to Drive with A Bad Oil Pressure Sensor? [+ 6 Bad Oil Pressure Sensor Symptoms]

Is It Wrong to Drive with A Bad Oil Pressure Sensor? Just like good food is essential for good health, so is oil for your car engine. The car engine oil works to lubricate and also keep your engine parts clean.

Usually, there’s always a permissible minimum level for the engine oil and if it goes below that level, there’s bound to be a problem for the engine.

Modern engines are built with oil pressure sensor to monitor the oil level in your engine and report its findings to the driver, especially when the oil level drops below allowable level.

By definition, an oil pressure sensor is an electrical switch that helps to measure the oil pressure in an engine. Driving with a faulty oil pressure sensor can be very dangerous.

Unfortunately, most people do not even realize they have a bad or faulty oil pressure sensor. This can be disastrous as a defective oil pressure sensor can cause problems to your engine as well as the internal parts of your vehicle.

On the other hand, a good oil pressure sensor helps to minimize damage to the components of your engine.

A bad oil pressure sensor would sometimes make your car engine light turn on even when there is no fault. It could also go as far as not giving an alarm when there is a shortage of oil in your engine. This could cause a lot of damage to the internal parts of your vehicle.

The purpose of the oil pressure sensor is to measure the internal pressure of oil in the engine and send signals to the oil pressure gauge whenever there is a problem.

Bad Oil Pressure Sensor Symptoms

When you notice the signs listed below, please be quick to check, these may be indicators of a bad oil pressure sensor.

Overheating of engine

A drop in oil flow can cause overheating.

Overheating could also be a sign of bad oil pressure. Engine overheating could also be as a result of oil pressure according to research.

Oil level is too low

This is one of the best ways to know if your car has a faulty oil pressure sensor. In every car, you will find a dipstick that can be used in checking the oil pressure of the engine.

When your oil level is low and your dipstick agrees with it, then you need to check and change your oil pressure sensor if it is indicating otherwise.

Repeated blinking of oil pressure light

When the light on your dashboard blinks continually, it is probably due to the fluctuations in the oil pressure of your engine.

This could be a warning that you might have a bad oil pressure sensor. Check your oil level and if it is not low, then you are at a higher risk of having a defective oil pressure sensor.

Engine light

If there is nothing wrong with your car and the engine light continually brightens up, then there might be a problem with your oil pressure sensor.

Burning or melting smell

Burning smells in your vehicle could mean an overheating has happened and some damages were done to the internal parts.

If the connecting wires to your oil pressure sensor are melted, then there might be a problem with the oil pressure sensor.

Reading the Oil Gauge

They are several indicators on your car’s dashboard. However, each car displays it differently.

While some cars could display a label like ‘P,’ ‘Oil,’ etc. with numbers that range between 1 to 100 or 1 to 80 with an indicator needle, some are also indicated by letters ‘L’ or ‘H’ which represents Low or High oil pressure respectively.

The crux of the matter is that once you notice a sign related to oil, you should give it attention.

bad oil pressure sensor

What Your Oil Gauge Means


When your oil gauge reads zero, it is normal and at an ideal state. But if it reads zero when you are at high speed, then it could mean a broken oil pump or its drive, faulty gauge, or low oil level.

Also, be cautious of the wire as damaged wiring harness or unplugged connections could be the source of the problem. In a situations as this, turn off your engine and check your vehicle to prevent damage.


When your oil gauge reads low, that is, it is showing numbers in the lower quarter of the gauge, then the issue could be a worn out engine compartments thereby resulting in a drop in oil pressure, or the gauge or instrument panel is faulty.

Insufficient oil pressure could lead to more costs in the future as driving with low oil pressure can cause the car’s engine to pack up.


When your oil gauge reads high, i.e, it is showing numbers in the upper quarter of the gauge, the culprit could be a cold engine, using the wrong type of motor oil, or a faulty oil pressure sensor.

After a cold start, if the readings are extremely high, the car engine should be turned off because the oil filter could burst as this happens when the pressure relief valve near the pump and the filter is stuck.

How to Fix A Bad Oil Pressure Sensor

As earlier stated, a bad oil pressure sensor could be bad for your vehicle. When you notice you have a defective oil pressure sensor, take the following steps to prevent further damage.

Drive gently

If you notice a change in your engine oil level, stop to check for leaks. Driving gently would prevent speeding up damage from overheating.

Change the sensor

When you have observed you have a bad oil pressure sensor, it is advisable to change it immediately.

Replacing A Bad Oil Pressure Sensor

Follow the steps below to change a faulty oil pressure sensor.

1. Find the location of the oil pressure sensor

The oil pressure sensor could be located in any number of places under the car’s bonnet but, it is often mounted on the cylinder head or engine blocks.

2. Unplug the electrical connector of your oil pressure sensor

This can be done by freeing the retaining tab on the electrical connector. Afterwards, carefully pull out the connector from the sensor.

As a result of residue build-ups, it may be required to push it in a number of times and push it out simultaneously from the sensor.

3. Remove the oil pressure sensor

Unscrew the oil pressure sensor with a suitable socket or wrench. When it is loose, you can complete the process with your bare hands.

4. Compare the old and new oil pressure sensor

You need to ensure that the new oil pressure sensor has the same features as the old oil pressure sensor such as the same internal construction and physical dimensions, same thread pitch and threads-in with the same diameter.

5. Put in the new oil pressure sensor

Thread the new oil pressure sensor with your hand until you can no longer do it. Afterwards, add a finishing tightening with a socket or a wrench.

6. Put back the electrical connector

Re-apply the connector and ensure the retaining tab is properly engaged.

7. Check for changes

After you’ve followed all the steps outlined above, start your car to see if your replacement works perfectly. Check the oil pressure level (high or low) or if the warning light of the oil pressure goes out.

Give up to 10 seconds for the oil pressure to build up.

Of course, it’s wrong to drive with a bad oil pressure sensor. When your oil pressure sensor is bad, you can’t tell the level of oil in your engine because there’s nothing that’s measuring it and sending the information to your dashboard. As such, the engine can develop overheating which can lead to many problems as a result.


Driving with low oil pressure can cause permanent damage to your car’s engine.

Noticing a warning light when driving should prompt you to make repairs as soon as possible. A fuel pump only affects the switch and not the pressure gauge. This feature prevents damage to your engine when there is a drop in the oil pressure.

As emphasized in this article, checking your car engine occasionally and paying attention to the signs your vehicle throws up will help you notice if your oil pressure sensor needs to be changed.

Once you notice that you have a faulty or bad oil pressure sensor, it is advisable you change it immediately to prevent more cost from internal damages. However, the cost to change a faulty oil pressure sensor depends on your car’s model and make.

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