High Oil Pressure Causes, Symptoms and Solutions

When it comes to the car engine, balance is the key because that is what contributes to its performance and longevity. When there is a change in oil pressure, it can disrupt the balance and lead to the failure of the engine.

Oil pressure plays a very important role in lubricating areas such as balance shaft and cram shaft bearings which then ensures that the wear and tear of vital parts don’t occur and there is no overheating. If there is a high reading of the oil gauge on your dashboard, that is high oil pressure; you need to find the cause and deal with it immediately to avoid expensive repairs.

What Is High Oil Pressure?

There is always an increase in oil pressure when there is a need for a high amount of pressure to be able to pump through the engine. Cars are equipped with a pressure gauge which indicates the amount of pressure which is being used to be able to transport the oil.

20 minutes after switching the engine on, the gauge needle needs to settle a the median point. The ideal oil pressure should be between 25 to 65 psi when the oil is warm. If the reading is 80psi or higher, then it means that there is a serious issue with your car which needs to be resolved.

When you regularly experience high oil pressure, then that is a bad indicator of your car. The problem might be serious to the point that, you might be forced to rebuild or change your engine. If your engine is a used one, then the problem could be that there is a bad oil sending unit.

What Happens If Your Oil Pressure Is Too High?

The role of the oil pressure is to ensure that the vehicle’s mechanical components stay when they are lubricated. With that, the mechanical lifespan of parts such as main, crankshaft, balance shaft bearings and ensures the engine doesn’t get too hot while you are driving.

All the time, the engine needs to acquire the right pressure for oil. When there is no oil pressure, your engine will be no more within a few minutes depending on RPM and the load.

Due to how important oil pressure is to the engine, there is a warning light for oil pressure on your dashboard and if the oil pressure is too high or low, the light will flash on your dashboard. If you see the light flashing on your dashboard for oil pressure, it will be best if you stopped your vehicle and turned it off immediately.

Symptoms Of High Oil Pressure

There are no significant symptoms that will tell you that your car is experiencing high oil pressure. You will only be able to know that if your vehicle has a manual gauge installed on it. Another symptom could be oil leaks around the engine. High oil pressure could cause high pressure of the crankcase which could make your engine to leak oil through the gaskets.

High Oil Pressure Causes and Treatments

1. Blocked Oil Passage​

​When there is a blockage in the oil passage, then it is serious and it could be the one causing high oil pressure. This makes the engine lubrication to become at risk the more the blockage remains. Seeing an oil leak in the cam assembly could be a sign that, there is an oil blockage in the passage which is known as lifter tap.

Carbon or sludge deposits accumulate in the oil passage as a result of the combustion of fuel and they combine with the oil itself to become a thick texture. That is what is referred to as debris and its presence in the passages could cause the failure of the bearing in the long run.

To clean blocked passage can be both expensive and difficult and you will require specific tools and procedures to be followed. During the process, the entire engine lubrication system will have to be cleaned to ensure that, the entire debris has been removed. This includes the cooling jets, hoses, orifice dowels, and plugs. When you clean the auxiliary equipment, it will be very ideal at this point. You can also use professional brushes to clean the oil passages together with a cleaning solvent which is petroleum-based.

2. Dirty Oil Filter​

​The oil filter is the one responsible for keeping away contaminants and ensuring that the clean fuel is able to reach the engine. With time, debris and dust tend to clog the oil filter and due to this, there is a limited supply of oil to the engine. With that, there is a rise in engine temperature which leads to high oil pressure.

The warning signs that it is time to change your oil filter includes:

  • As far as the performance of your car is concerned, it will not be able to pick up speed the way it normally does and the accelerator doesn’t function properly. If that is the case, then something in the engine is trying to put a wrench in your vehicle’s performance.
  • Metallic sound does occur as a result of the engine having insufficient oil. When the engine is on, there is friction that occurs prompting the metallic parts to rub on each other. When there is less oil, it means that friction will be on a high, triggering grating sounds which you will hear as you drive.
  • Sputtering could be a sign that the oil filter is dirty. It normally happens as a result of oil in the system which is insufficient and will prevent your vehicle from being able to pick up speed. The sputtering could be on a low at the beginning before gradually worsening. When you replace the oil filter, the problem will be sorted out.
  • Sooty, black exhaust accompanied by a smell which is distinctive of burning oil which comes from your car could be a sign that there is a problem. The smell means that you need to take your vehicle to the mechanic where the oil filter will have to be replaced, fixing any clogs which might be in the oil system.

3. Engine Temperature/Idling Pressure

Engine temperature is one of the most common causes of high oil pressure. When the engine is cold, then there will be high pressure. You should check the pressure when the engine is hot. If the pressure is high when the oil is hot, you will have to diagnose it.

4. Poor Quality Oil​

​When you use a poor oil quality it could be the reason for the low or high oil pressure. A poor oil quality which is lightweight or thin can easily pass through the engine and will have low pressure.

When the oil is thick, you will require high pressure in order for it to flow. If you change the engine oil to a different brand and notice that there is an increase in pressure, it means that what you were using previously was too thin to be able to provide ideal performance.

You have an option of choosing the right oil for your engine by following some guidelines. You will first need to check your owner’s manual to find out what oil weight is suggested. The next thing is to alter the oil weight as per the weather. In terms of quality, you should be looking for a motor oil which has been tested and is able to meet the standards which have been set by the American petroleum institute.

You have a choice between standard and synthetic motor oil. Most of the brands which are reputable sell service level oils with each having a different viscocity. 10w-30 is oil which is meant for higher temperatures while the 5W-20 is designed for low temperatures.

Oils which are full synthetic are meant for engines which have a high performance and are known to be very long lasting. They protect the engine against any deposits and during low temperatures, they provide good flow and top notch lubrication in temperatures which are very high.

5. Changing Oil Grade​

​When you experiment with different oil grades, it can be at times a bad decision especially if didn’t first of all consult with the experts. There is a distinct viscosity level between different oil grades and they are normally meant for different engine types. You can find the recommended oil grade of your engine in the owner’s manual.

Many factors come into play when it comes to oil viscocity recommendations but you have to ensure that, the oil can flow freely between the engine’s moving parts while at the same time, filling the spaces which are between the engine parts.

 Oils which are thinner tend to perform better, flowing freely through the engine so long as it is compatible with the parts of the engine. At the moment, the big spaces between the engine parts is no longer a problem. Both the oil pressure and the oil flow volume are affected when oil which is thick is  put in an engine which doesn’t have the spaces which are wider to keep it.

Oil pressure is normally increased by thick oils which is a bad thing if it happens at the expense of oil flow volume. In the presence of thicker oil, a domino effect takes place. The pump of the oil is first forced to double its effort to enable the pump the dense oil which in the process, causes oil pressure to rise with the oil volume decreasing.

6. Problem with the Oil Sending Malfunction (Sensor)​

​If there is a faulty oil sending unit, then there is a possibility of high oil pressure happening. It could give you a false signal that the gauge is showing an oil pressure which is high while the pressure is just ok. Use a manual oil pressure to diagnose it tester to be able to get the correct pressure.

7. Broken Pressure Relief Valve

The relief valve prevents vessels and piping from being damaged due to high pressure. If the oil pressure is not able to get to a level which is optimal after you drive the car, then there is a possibility that the relief valve has a problem. One way you can check it out is by removing the valve, cleaning it thoroughly and installing it back to test whether the oil pressure will be able to go back to normal. You will find it at the pump of the pressure oil and you might find it hard to reach it.

Important of Engine Oil Change 

The importance of engine oil change include the following:

1. Maintains Engine Lubrication

Imagine all the moving parts in the engine the valves, pistons, and other parts moving at high speeds in your vehicle. As they move, they create heat and will wear the engine down dramatically if you don’t lubricate it properly. Ensure that you refer to your owner’s manual to see the weight specifics and oil grade that the vehicle requires and make sure that it is kept at the recommended fill volume.

2. Removes Engine Wear Sludge And Particles

Dirty particles are a hazard to the engine. With time, the dirt can cause corrosion and in the process, decrease the lifespan of the engine. Also with time, oil breaks and becomes sludge. This means that it is important that you keep the engine clean. Doing routine filter and oil changes help in removing sludge and particles, keeping the engine at a condition which is high.

3. Cools Engine Components

If the moving parts lack lubrication, it will create friction which then creates heat. Maintaining sufficient and clean oil amounts is the best solution to prevent too much friction and engine overheating.

4. Promotes Vehicle Longevity

Simple and plain maintenance that is done on a routine basis will make your vehicle to last for a long time. Build-ups which come from dirty oil denies the vehicle power and fuel economy, making the internal components to work harder. When the engine works too hard, it will start having more problems along the way and it will shorten its lifespan.

5. Improves Gas Mileage

When there is poor engine lubrication, it will lead to high oil consumption and thus, you have to ensure that the engine has to always have enough clean engine oil. When you do a routine change of engine oil with the right oil, the gas mileage is likely going to improve by up to 2%. Though it sounds to be too little, with time, it will save an entire gallon of gas at the end of the year.

High Oil Pressure FAQs

1. Is it safe to drive with high oil pressure?

No. When the pressure oil light switches on, it means that there is a problem. It could be as simple as oil being low or it could be an indicator that there is a serious problem with the engine. The issue is that, you don’t know what it is; whether the problem is very serious or no.

The best solution is to stop and turn the engine off. This is due to the fact that, if the pressure goes down to zero, then your engine could be damaged to a point where you will require significant repairs or even replacing the entire engine.

2. Can high oil pressure damage an engine?

Yes. It can cause serious problems such as oil filter failure or oil pump drive failure. When such problems occur, they can cause the engine to wear rapidly and with time, fail.

3. Will an oil change fix high oil pressure?

Depending with the cause of the high oil pressure. If it is caused by changing oil grade, then yes, it will sort it out. Different oil grades tend to have different viscocity level which is meant for certain engine types.

4. Is it normal for oil pressure to fluctuate?

It is normal when idling for the oil pressure to fluctuates and bottom.

5. Why is my oil pressure high when I accelerate?

It is very normal for the oil pressure to go up when you are accelerating. The oil pressure in your vehicle goes up as your vehicle is working harder. If the fluctuation is so high, it could be that you are having a faulty oil pressure sensor which could be causing the fluctuation to be too much.

6. Can high oil pressure cause leaks?

High oil pressure could result in  leaks around the engine. High oil pressure could cause high pressure of the crankcase which could make your engine to leak oil through the gaskets.

Conclusion 

Before you conclude that your car has s high oil pressure problem, there is a need for you to firs check it out and see if your oil pressure gauge is working correctly. If the engine is hot and the car is idle, there is normally low pressure. If you rev up your vehicle and the engine oil is cold the gauge needs to be much higher.  For you to find out if your gauge is working out correctly, you can use a manual pressure gauge.

Source:

  1. https://www.wikihow.life/Change-the-Oil-in-Your-Car
  2. How to Fix Low Oil Pressure Gauge in Your Car (Oil Pressure Sending Unit)

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