Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How do I diagnose an oil gauge problem?

asked by on

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?

A: If you are not having a loss of oil, and th...

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.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Transmission does not shift properly

This may be a sign of a faulty transmission control solenoid. As you know, automatic transmissions use pressurized hydraulic fluid to change gears. Every time a gear change is required, the car's computer activates a transmission solenoid, which directs transmission...

Q: Advice on using different engine oil than it is recommended for a particular type of engine

No, not really. They have additives for diesel which are different from additives for a gasoline engine. They are completely different environments inside diesel engines and gasoline engines. For gasoline cars, stick to the oil that is made for gasoline...

Q: Blinker light malfunction - 1998 Chevrolet Suburban 2500

Hello. Most of the time this is caused by a short in the combination switch. It shorts internally and allows this circuit to get power when it is not supposed to. I also have seen issues with the trailer wiring...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...