If there's anything your car's engine needs besides air and fuel, it would have to be oil. It's what keeps engine parts lubricated. Oil also keeps engine temperature at ideal levels.But for oil to do that well, there has to be an adequate amount of it in the engine. One device that helps safeguard against low oil levels is the oil pressure switch. The switch is hooked to a light on your dash. Once oil pressure levels dip to 5 psi or lower, the switch is triggered and a light on your dash flashes to warn you.If the oil pressure switch breaks down, you'll have no way of knowing whether there's enough oil in the engine or not. That's one sure way of allowing your car's engine to overheat.Replacing the switch should be fairly easy as long as you're able to locate it. And to make things easier, quality oil pressure switches are available here at Carparts.
• The switch warns you of dangerously low oil pressure in the engine.
• By warning you, the switch helps you avoid engine overheating.
• Our oil pressure switches are guaranteed to work accurately.
Oil Pressure Switch Buyer's Guide
- The oil pressure switch is a type of sensor that alerts the driver whenever the engine oil pressure drops below manufacturer-specified levels.
- The oil pressure switch is a device that protects the engine from lubricant starvation. The normal range for oil pressure is typically at 7 to 12 psi at idle, and 40 to 60 psi while in motion. The oil pressure switch typically activates the warning light whenever levels drop to 5 psi or lower
- Low engine oil pressure can result in poor performance and subsequent engine failure. This is why it’s important to have an oil pressure switch that is in good working condition.
- Some symptoms of a bad oil pressure switch: Check Engine Light is on, oil light is always on/off, erratic oil pressure gauge readings, and poor engine performance.
- Excluding labor costs, an OE replacement oil pressure switch will cost you $50 on average.
- While it’s possible to drive your vehicle with a bad oil pressure switch, it’s better to have it replaced right away for your peace of mind. The oil pressure switch is designed to protect your engine and its components from too much friction and overheating.
Engine oil is one of the most important fluids in your vehicle. The moving parts of your engine need lubrication to protect metal components from accelerated wear. Maintaining the recommended level of engine oil extends the lifespan of your engine by minimizing friction and preventing overheating. One of the parts that warn you of low engine oil levels or potential leaks in the system is the oil pressure switch.
What is an oil pressure switch?
The oil pressure switch is a type of sensor that alerts the driver whenever the engine oil pressure drops below manufacturer-specified levels. It is usually bolted onto the engine block, near the oil pan and oil filter. In some models, it may be installed behind the intake manifold. Accurate readings from this sensor is critical to the smooth operation of the engine.
What does an oil pressure switch do?
The oil pressure switch is a device that protects the engine from lubricant starvation. It closes the circuit which illuminates the oil light on the instrument cluster whenever it detects that oil pressure has fallen below the normal range. In some vehicles, it may be connected to an oil pressure gauge instead of or in combination with the dashboard warning light.
The normal range for oil pressure is typically at 7 to 12 psi at idle, and 40 to 60 psi while in motion. The oil pressure switch typically activates the warning light whenever levels drop to 5 psi or lower. Each auto manufacturer may assign a different range for their vehicles.
The oil pressure switch is normally in a closed position. This is why the oil light typically illuminates whenever the ignition switch is turned on. As soon as the engine is running and oil pressure rises, the switch opens the circuit and disables the oil light.
Low engine oil pressure can result in poor performance and subsequent engine failure. Running an engine that lacks lubrication is likely to cost you a lot in repairs, and in worse cases, may even require engine replacement. These are some of the top reasons why it’s important to have an oil pressure switch that is in good working condition.
Bad oil pressure switch symptoms
Below are some of the common symptoms of a faulty or malfunctioning oil pressure switch. Get your vehicle checked by a trusted professional if your vehicle experiences one or more of these signs:
Check Engine Light is on
The Check Engine Light may be triggered by the engine control unit because the latter has detected that the oil pressure switch is no longer operating. However, this warning light may also be triggered by a slew of other engine problems.
You will need to connect your vehicle to an OBD-II scan tool to check whether your engine computer has logged an error code related to the operation of the oil pressure switch. For a more accurate diagnosis, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle diagnosed by a trusted mechanic.
Oil light is always off or is stuck on
An oil light that never switches on or stays illuminated, even after checking your vehicle has sufficient engine oil, are common signs that your oil pressure switch is no longer able to activate/disable the light based on engine oil pressure.
Erratic oil pressure gauge readings
Constant readings that show extremely high or extremely low oil pressure could be a sign of a faulty oil pressure switch. If you’ve confirmed that your oil level is good with a dipstick, there’s a good chance you’ll need to have the switch replaced.
Poor engine performance
A malfunctioning oil pressure switch that fails to alert you when oil pressure is low may lead to poor engine performance. Driving with low engine lubrication will increase friction between metal parts, increase engine workload, and reduce its efficiency. Over time, the increase in generated friction may even result in engine overheating.
How much does an oil pressure switch replacement cost?
The cost of an oil pressure switch replacement varies between different makes and models. Excluding labor costs, an OE replacement oil pressure switch will cost you $50 on average. The price will also depend on which type of oil pressure switch (1-pin, 2-pin, or 3-pin) your vehicle needs.
Can you drive with a bad oil pressure switch?
While it’s possible to drive your vehicle with a bad oil pressure switch, it’s better to have it replaced right away for your peace of mind. The oil pressure switch is designed to protect your engine and its components from too much friction and overheating.
If you choose to drive with a faulty oil pressure switch, you will need to constantly go under the hood to check if the oil level is sufficient for engine lubrication. This is simply not practical for most drivers. It is best to take your vehicle to a professional so that you get optimum performance from your engine for as long as possible.
Finding the right fit
Make sure you get the right oil pressure switch for your vehicle with CarParts.com. Our built-in vehicle selector will help you narrow down your search to only compatible parts. Simply plug in the correct year, make, and model in the search filters and find the right part today.
Oil Pressure Switch Shopping 101
The engine’s longevity is largely dependent on how efficient its lubrication system is. This is the reason vehicles are outfitted with an oil pressure switch. Also known as oil pressure sensor or sending unit, this switch ensures that engine oil is of the right pressure to be able to lubricate the engine’s moving parts.
If your oil sensor has been with your ride for a while now and you’re starting to notice fluctuations in the engine oil pressure readings, you’d better have it checked as soon as possible. If your troubleshooting efforts suggest that you’re now in need of a replacement switch, don’t think twice in getting one. A faulty switch sends out inaccurate readings, making it difficult to gauge if the engine oil level has dropped to critical level.
When looking for a replacement, here are some factors to consider for you to find the switch that will fit your ride well, address your needs, and offer the best possible value for your money.
For the switch to work efficiently, it must be compatible with the engine management system and the entire lubrication system. You see, incompatibility issues can shorten the sensor’s service life, or worse, render it useless. So if you’re purchasing online, see to it that the one you’re going to purchase is designed specifically for your ride. Remember that not all oil pressure sensors are the same; they may vary from one vehicle to another, depending on the engine and lubrication system’s setup.
For you to get the oil pressure switch that will fit well in your engine, take note of the stock component’s specifications, including the terminal type, connector, and the thread size. Compare those with the specs of the replacement unit you’re eyeing. If they have the same specs and the sensor’s part number matches your stock’s part number, then you’ve probably found the replacement switch you’re looking for.
While the oil pressure switch rarely gets damaged, it is still important to get one with good warranty coverage. This is because there are defects that only come out after using the part for some time. The product’s warranty will assure you that if the switch breaks down within the covered period, you will get a replacement for free.
Steps in Replacing the Oil Pressure Switch
The oil pressure switch, otherwise known as the oil pressure sensor/sending unit, gauges the capacity or integrity of the engine’s lubrication system. It measures the pressure of oil at which the engine is running and responds to the changes in oil pressure to make sure the engine is well lubricated. While it isn’t among the vehicle’s most replaced components, age and constant use will wear the switch out, causing it to fail over time.
When it’s time to replace your ride’s oil pressure switch, here are the steps to help you carry out the task without the help of a pro:
What you’ll need:
- New oil pressure switch
- Automotive thread sealant
- Small, flathead screwdriver
Step 1: Park the vehicle in a properly ventilated, well-lit area with enough room for you to comfortably carry out this DIY task. Turn off the engine and let it cool down completely.
Step 2: Open the hood and look for the switch. Depending on your vehicle model, it can be positioned on the front of the engine, facing the radiator; right behind the distributor; or in the driver side, lower right corner between the oil filter and the header. If you can’t seem to find the switch, consult your owner’s manual.
Step 3: Get the shop rag and clean the area around the switch, making sure you rid the area of oil and grit. Disconnect the electrical connector or wiring harness from the switch. In some cases, you may need to gently pry the locking portion of the switch and wiring harness using a small flathead screwdriver, wiggle the connector left and right, and pull it until the connector is detached from the switch.
Step 4: Remove the old switch by rotating it counterclockwise using a wrench and unscrewing it until it is released.
Step 5: Check the replacement oil pressure switch. If it doesn’t have thread sealant, coat its threads with automotive thread sealant before inserting and screwing it into its place in the engine block.
Step 6: Secure the switch in place by tightening it according to the manufacturer’s specs. Be careful enough when tightening the switch because its threads are of National Pipe Thread standard and they are tapered, so it’s easy for a DIYer to over-tighten the switch.
Step 7: Plug the wiring harness into the replacement switch, making sure the electrical connector seats well and clicks into place.
The replacement process is fairly straightforward and can be done even by an inexperienced DIYer in less than an hour.