What Does It Mean If There Is A Loose Oil Pressure At Idle?

Most drivers probably know by now that engine oil plays a very important role. It helps in keeping the engine at its optimum operating condition. What if suddenly there is a loose oil pressure at idle is caused nothing can be more frustrating than that.

In this article, we’ll be discussing this problem of loose oil pressure in detail. Let’s get started.

What Is The Oil Pressure?

Oil pressure involves a lot of components or elements to ensure that it is properly maintained. It involves the lubricant, the oil pump, and even the distance. That it needs to travel to reach every corner and parts of the engine.

The measure of the force pushing the oil through the oil pump and the distances. It has to go through like the pipes, joints, filters and other parts. Which can decrease the force is known as the oil pressure. It is determined by the resistance the oil has to face when it flows through its passages within the engine.

The oil pressure that is shown on the pressure gauge is the force needed by the pump. To make the oil flow and provide the appropriate lubrication. It does not involve the pressure between system parts like the crankshaft bearings or the cams. The said gauge must show the required level which is somewhere between the maximum and the minimum to indicate that the lubrication process is correct.

If the pressure level goes way below the minimum or above the maximum, it is an indication that there is a problem. It is important that the engine oil pressure should always be maintained at the right level to ensure that the vehicle can function properly.

Why Does The Oil Pressure Changes?

Whenever you start the engine. The oil is still cold and the pump will require more power to move it. So the pressure is expected to be high. When the engine has started and the oil is already heated, making it flow easily. You will then notice a reduced oil pressure reading shown on the pressure gauge.

To prevent wear of the moving parts of the engine upon starting, since it can sometimes take longer to heat the cold oil and make it flow easily and lubricate the metal parts,  there are multi-grade oils available on the market today that are much better than the single grade oils.

What Are The Causes Of Loose Oil Pressure At Idle?

The loose oil pressure is caused by the low oil level, poor quality of oil, faulty pressure gauge, worn fuel pump, or by using the wrong type of oil. It is for this reason that drivers tend to worry when they notice that they have a loose oil pressure while idling.

1. Low Oil Level:-

When the oil level in the engine is actually low, the oil pump will not have anything to work with. Aside from noticing loose oil pressure while idling, a low oil level can also cause an irregular low oil pressure during high-speed turns since the oil in the oil sump moves to the side, away from the oil pick-up tube. It can also be caused by leaks, worn piston rings, or worn valve seals.

2. Poor Car Maintenance:-

Poor car maintenance and not following the manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval can lead to dirty and contaminated oil. A clogged up engine will be deprived of oil which can cause a serious wearing out of the engine and its components. This can be the reason why you experience loose oil pressure.

3. Worn-Out Oil Pump:-

The oil pump makes sure that the engine oil is pumped into the engine’s oil passages. To ensure that the engine is always lubricated. If this oil pump fails to do its job, it won’t be able to pump enough oil needed to keep the engine lubricated as well as maintain the correct pressure. A worn out oil pump can also bleed off oil pressure in the pump that can trigger a reading of loose oil pressure while idling the car.

4. Faulty Pressure Gauge:-

In some cases, your engine is actually getting enough oil, and your oil pressure is actually at a normal level. However, because the oil pressure gauge is faulty or damaged, it won’t be able to display the proper oil pressure reading and will end up making the dashboard think that your oil pressure is low even if it isn’t.

5. Old And Worn-Out Engine:-

In the same way as the oil pressure pump may be too old and too worn out to properly function. This could also happen to the engine especially when you are talking about an older car. That’s because an older and more worn-out engine will struggle to allow the oil to pass through the different parts and components of the engine. As such, insufficient oil will be pushed into the different channels of a worn-out engine.

6. Using Oil With The Wrong Viscosity:-

Another possible reason for this problem is you are using the wrong type of oil. Many modern engines use multigrade engine oils since temperatures can change and can vary depending on the season. The multigrade oil is being used since it can flow thin during cold weather and become thicker when the temperature increases. It can basically maintain its proper lubricating properties throughout all seasons.

If you use an engine oil with low viscosity during extreme cold temperatures, it can be beneficial in the cold-start lubrication but when it is used during summer, it’s another story. It can become too thin during hot temperatures that could result in low oil pressure and other problems.

Therefore, these are some common reasons behind the issue of loose oil pressure at idle.

How To Fix The Issue Of The Loose Oil Pressure While Idling The Car?

So, now that we know the possible causes of loose oil pressure while idling, let’s look at the fixes:

Step 1:-

Put more oil. If the cause is due to the lack of oil as your oil pump could no longer pump enough oil into the engine, then the logical solution is to put more oil into it.

Step 2:-

Make sure that you always properly maintain your car and that you have your oil changed during the recommended oil change intervals for your car.

Step 3:-

Have your oil pump fixed or replaced if it is the cause of the loose oil pressure at idle. Something as simple as this can be a good solution to a serious problem.

Step 4:-

Replace the pressure gauge on your car if this is the problem. You will know that the oil pressure gauge is the problem if the oil pressure changes on the gauge tend to be erratic and unpredictable.

Step 5:-

If you have an older or worn-out engine, you can still try to milk more life out of it by using engine oil with a higher viscosity because this can help make up for the larger spaces and increased bearing clearance in the engine.

Step 6:-

Always make sure that you are using the right oil for your engine by consulting the user’s manual. Also, you should try changing the type of oil you use when there are seasonal changes in your area.


We hope the above-mentioned information about the loose oil pressure at idle will be helpful to all the readers. If anybody’s doubts persist feel free to comment in the comment section below. We’ll try to solve your doubts as soon as possible.

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