High Oil Pressure – Common Causes And What To Do

Your car’s engine oil is the most crucial part that keeps your vehicle’s engine lubricated. The engine runs and operates because of the smooth flowing of the oil through all its parts. However, when the oil pressure is not in balance and is low or high, it is time to get your engine checked.

High oil pressure, if left unchecked, can lead to total engine failure. Although, you can get it checked with your mechanic before things go out of hand. If followed and kept in mind, specific steps can help normalize the oil pressure level in your car.

The oil pressure be it low or high, is not suitable for the engine’s functioning. The ideal oil pressure varies with each brand, but technically the oil pressure is between 25-65 PSI is considered good.

Let us understand few factors that lead to high oil pressures and what can be done to nip it in the bud.

What is High Oil Pressure?

As discussed above, your car’s engine requires proper lubrication for it to function without any obstruction. Oil pressure is a deciding factor in the smooth functioning of a machine. The pressure helps the engine oil to reach all the vital parts of the engine.

High oil pressure results from the increased force needed to circulate the oil throughout the engine. The oil gauge in your dashboard may read and alert you if the pressure is high even if the engine has warmed up.

This scenario can usually happen if there is some blockage or an issue with your oil. Thus, if the pressure is high and the gauge reads 80 and above, then it is high time you get your engine oil checked.

What is a Normal Oil Pressure?

Normal or an ideal oil pressure means that there is enough pressure for the oil to flow. Additionally, this will help in lubricating all the engine parts to avoid any wear and tear.

Ideal oil pressure reads between 25-65 PSI (pounds per square inch) when the engine is warm. The reading will ensure that your engine is healthy and the oil flow is not getting restricted in any way.

Low vs. High Oil Pressure

There is no denying that engine oil is one of the most critical factors that help maintain your car’s performance. It helps in the smooth functioning of all the engine parts and ultimately helps in the long run of your vehicle.

To a limit, low oil pressure is manageable for a car’s engine, but high oil pressure is hazardous. If you witness a high-pressure reading in the oil gauge, you can consult a local mechanic.

High oil pressure may lead to adverse effects and can severely damage the engine’s lubrication. Low lubrication may lead to a lower amount of oil passing through and reach the engine’s vital parts.

Hence, high or low oil pressure is never considered a good sign. You should better get the engine fixed before it turns problematic.

What are the Causes of High Oil Pressure? 

A clogged oil passage is unquestionably the main cause of high oil pressure. A clogged or blocked passage for the oil to flow will ultimately lead to the damage of the car’s engine altogether.

With this in kind, let us identify few leading causes that cause high oil pressure in engines:

Blocked Passage

Oil change, if not done regularly, may lead to a significant blockage. E.g., In your home, if the drainpipe in the kitchen is clogged, it can affect the flow of water as well. This situation will create pressure in the pipe, which may lead to cracks later.

Likewise, the same situation occurs if the oil passages are blocked. Once the oil passes the filter, it has to flow through a series of passages to lubricate the engine’s parts. If this gets obstructed due to debris, it will undeniably lead to high oil pressure in the engine.

If left unattended, it may lead to oil leaks in the cam assembly of the engine.

Contaminated Oil Filter

A filter’s job is most certainly to flush out all the impurities in any process. The same goes for the oil filter. Your car’s engine does the job of filtering any foreign particle present in the oil. These filters, however, accumulate filth and dirt over a while.

The presence of dirt and debris in the filter will eventually block the oil from flowing. If you leave this unattended for a long time, it will lead to stress in the oil passage and ultimately increase the oil pressure.

Relief Valve Issues

An engine’s relief valve is something that regulates the oil pressure in your car. It helps in giving off the excess oil pressure when it rises to a certain level. If there is a malfunction in the relief valve, the oil pressure may quickly rise to a level and can cause damage to the engine.

Despite its vital role in the oiling system, the relief valve must be removed and cleaned to function well at times.

Engine Temperature

One of the usual causes of high oil pressure is engine temperature. When your car has been left unused for an extended time, the engine turns cold. It will end up provoking high oil pressures due to the engine’s cooler temperature.

While you drive, the engine starts to warm up, and the oil heats up consequently. It will help the oil to flow smoothly and quickly through the passage at an optimal temperature. Most of us do not realize that once our engine oil is cold, it raises internal pressure.

Oil Quality

Using bad oil for your engine is the same as cooking your food in low-quality oil. Your engine requires a certain quality of oil for it to flow smoothly. Identifying the oil’s viscosity (thickness and thinness) is essential since it affects the oil pressure in the engine.

Thinner oil will flow smoothly through the engine’s passage, whereas a thicker one will take up more time and, as a result, will increase the oil pressure. Therefore, you must follow few guidelines and also go through your owner’s manual to make a final decision.

Faulty Oil Sending Unit

The sending unit of an engine controls the gauge on our dashboard. If the sending unit turns out to be defective, it will show the wrong oil pressure readings. It will create unwanted anxiety within us, making us think that something is wrong with the oil pressure.

The inaccurate oil pressure will lead to the blinking of the lights unnecessarily. False high oil pressure readings will create a sense of confusion and panic within us. Hence, you need to replace the sending unit without any fail.

What are the Symptoms of High Oil Pressure? 

Proper lubrication is vital for the smooth working of the engine. If this doesn’t happen, then friction will build within the different regions of the engine. This scenario will lead to developing a crack in the engine block or blowing a head gasket increase.

One should call for action when they see the below initial symptoms of high oil pressure:

  1. Blinking oil pressure light on your dashboard: As soon as there is a change in the engine’s oil pressure, it sends the signal and alerts the driver. Be it the oil pressure is too low or too high, you are alerted with these blinking lights to stop your car immediately. It will consequently help you to avoid any damage to the engine.
  2. Lack of Power: If the oil pressure gets out of control, it could affect the functioning of different parts of the engine. The engine’s lubrication system needs to function smoothly to avoid any sort of friction inside the engine.
  3. Oil Leaks: Higher oil pressure may at times result in the oil dripping from the oil seals. Oil seals in your engine are nothing but a protective covering that prevents the oil from leaking out.

Due to high oil pressure, the oil may start leaking slowly. You may notice the oil drops right below the car, and when this happens, it needs to get fixed without any fail.

Will High Oil Pressure Damage My Car? 

It is pretty evident now that high oil pressure is the worst for the health of your engine. So yes, it can easily damage your car and lead to the overall failure of the engine and its parts. The longer you wait to fix this, it will end up causing more damage to your car.

High oil pressure can block all the necessary passages within the engine. It will interfere with your engine’s lubrication system. Hence, it is better to check with your local mechanic once you notice a higher reading of the oil pressure in the gauge.

Overview of the High Oil Pressure Repairs Cost

Well, the good news for you is that most of the engine parts for getting it fixed and replaced will not cost you a fortune. For instance, replacing the oil pressure that detects the pressure when the engine runs is not relatively high and is manageable. 

Critical issues such as replacing the oil pump or a pressure relief valve may cost you more than usual.  The reason being that the mechanic may have to check the engine thoroughly. This method involves removing the front and bottom of the engine to replace the faulty part. 

This process will require more time and workforce and hence result in more cost. Even though you can expect to spend some amount for a replacement, you can avoid paying a fortune in the future.

Apart from replacing the faulty parts of the engine, you can expect to spend some money on labor. Moreover, most of the local mechanics will charge you concerning the severity of the damage. Hence, make sure that you get your oil pressure checked before it hits beyond the optimal level.

How Can You Fix and Treat High Oil Pressure? 

Below are a few fixes and treatments to avoid high oil pressure within your engine: 

Keep a Check on the Oil Pressure Sensor

The oil pressure sensor should always be working fine to get an accurate reading. Once the sensor turns faulty, replace them immediately and install a new sensor since you can buy most of them at a reasonable rate.

Fix Your Oil Grade

If you have the wrong oil grade for your car engine, you may experience a very high oil pressure in your engine. Change your oil grade and stick to a good quality grade oil for the smooth functioning of your engine.

Fix the Oil Leaks

As we mentioned earlier, due to high oil pressure, the oil seal may start turning weak. The oil seals set off more susceptible to leaks and the dripping of oil. Once it is evident that your car has an oil leak, you should stop driving the vehicle.

As your engine heats up, the temperature of the oil could heat up too. If the leak continues and reaches the exhaust, it can lead to a fire as well. Why take that risk?

Your radiator might also be leaking. In such situations, make sure you go for the best radiator stop leak to seal the leak in the radiator. 

Fixing the oil leak will depend on the type of vehicle is in question and the engine it uses. More or less, the cost isn’t as futile as the damage the leak can cause if left unattended.

Is Regular Oil Change Important for Avoiding High Oil Pressure? 

Regular oil changes will help clean your engine’s internal systems and free them from accumulated dirt and debris. A routine oil change will help remove the extra dirt and improve the engine’s functioning.

If the temperatures are low and your engine is cold, the oil can thicken. It will ultimately lead to restricted oil flow through the passages and eventually lead to high oil pressure.

Oil changes will not just maintain the cleanliness of the engine but will also help in regularizing the oil pressure of the engine. With optimal oil pressure, there will be lower chances of wear and tear of the different parts of the engine.

 

Final Thoughts

You may need to keep a check on your engine’s oil pressure regularly. Massive changes in your oil pressure may cause longtime damage to your engine. Any high oil pressure issues should be detected and prevented without any further delay.

Maintaining your engine’s health is the same as taking care of your heart. If you monitor your engine’s health and fix all the issues in its roots, you will be able to protect the overall well-being of your vehicle. 

Finally, you can decide if you want to fix the issues early or bear the hefty amount in the future.

Sources

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