Q: How do I diagnose an oil gauge problem?

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When I turn on the truck every morning, the oil gauge needle moves to the higher side, but still in the safe range. After I get off the highway and stop, the pressure goes back to normal. Then I start driving again and it goes to the same range again. I have had an oil change, and nothing has changed. What do you think is causing the oil gauge to fluctuate like that?

If you are not having a loss of oil, and there are no leaks, and the engine is not consuming the oil, the issue is very likely the oil pump. The pump is responsible for the circulation of the oil. It is not uncommon for these to fail, specifically with a vehicle that is over 10 years old.

Even though the Check Engine or oil indicator lamp has not illuminated, you may still have a diagnostic troubleshooting code saved in the computer that can help with diagnostics.

You will want to have the pump inspected. If it is working correctly, you may want to check the viscosity of the oil you are using. Typically if the oil is low, you will have similar symptoms. If the engine is consuming the oil, you will want to check your piston rings and a few other options.

You would have likely noticed an exterior leak if there was one, which points to the oil pump once again. Keep an eye on the oil level to make sure it is not being consumed by the engine. The very last component to consider would be a failed oil pressure sensor. This would illuminate the oil pressure warning light on your dashboard. If you need to have the oil gauge issue looked at, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to have this inspected and repaired.

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