Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Low warm oil pressure. New oil.

asked by on

New oil and filter. New pressure sensor. Once engine warms oil pressure bottoms out and oil light comes on. What could this be.

My car has 124000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi. In order for any liquid to have pressure, there has to be a restriction. The restriction in an engine is the oil clearance on the rotating parts. On a newer engine, it is roughly 0.0015 of one inch. This is the area that there is a pressurized film of oil that the crankshaft, rods, and camshaft ride on. As the engine parts and oil pump wear, the gap becomes larger and oil pressure is reduced. Oil pressure on every engine is at its lowest at idle and when hot.

Here are a few things to try. Install a Nissan oil filter. Some aftermarket ones are much smaller than the original and restrict flow. Double check the weight of the oil recommended in your owner’s manual. Using a thinner oil will reduce oil pressure. The higher the number, the thicker the oil.

Ok, you tried all the easy stuff. Now we have to dig into the engine. Install an oil pressure gauge to verify the actual pressure. Next, remove the oil pan to look for a clogged oil pickup screen. At this point you could remove a main bearing cap, or all of them, to look for an issue. The general condition of the engine can be physically seen at this point. The only way to inspect the oil pump is to remove it and take it apart. If the screen wasn’t clogged, and the accessible bearings measure ok, it’s time to replace the pump. If a new pump did not correct the issue, the engine will need rebuilt or replaced.

Your could try using thicker oil if the car is not worth any investment. This could have some negative effects on the variable valve timing. If the oil pick up screen is clogged, this will make the problem worse and possibly ruin the engine. If you need further assistance, I recommend you have a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the oil light on your vehicle and suggest an appropriate repair.

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

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: Having problems with the power steering.

You may have a bad power steering hose. If you are losing fluid, you will see it leaking somewhere under the car or you may see a wet hose under the hood. Sometimes when the hoses get old they will...

Q: My SUV has rough idle 1996 Ford Explorer

Hi there - your problem codes and their description were proper guidance - you have an air leak in your engines intake system, and the idle air controller is unable to compensate for this problem While it may or may...

Q: Car clicking and squealing until I push brakes.

Hello, brakes being one of the most important systems on a car, this should be addressed sooner rather than later. If you're not sure about inspecting the brakes yourself, you should enlist the aid of a mechanic for a diagnosis...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.