Five reasons your vehicle could have low oil pressure
1. Insufficient Motor Oil
Let's start with the most prominent and well-known reason for low oil pressure, i.e. insufficient motor oil. Now, if you are someone who does regular oil changes, then insufficient motor oil may not be the reason for low oil pressure. On the other hand, if you are someone who does not do periodic oil changes, then insufficient motor oil may be the cause.
If you haven't changed your car oil in a long time, then it is possible that an oil change can solve your problem. However, and this applies to regular maintenance people as well, the cause for insufficient motor oil may be because of a leak. Leaks would bleed out most of the motor oil before it can even reach the engine.
2. Defective Oil Pressure Gauge / Sensor
It is also possible that the oil pressure gauge itself is faulty and not able to sense the oil pressure accurately. This is, of course, something that you can only say with confidence after going to a professional. That said, if you have checked that the oil level is ok and the engine isn't vibrating or heating up extensively, then the problem may be a defective oil pressure gauge.
Now, it is true that the oil pressure gauge defects occur very rarely, but they happen enough times that you should consider them a strong possibility.
3. A Clogged Oil Filter
Motor oil always passes through a filter before going into the engine, so it is safe to say that the filer will get clogged over time. And as the filter gets more clogged, less oil goes to the engine, creating a cycle that results in low oil pressure. This is possibly the most straightforward problem to check and fix, as once the entire residue is removed from the filter, the oil can flow smoothly to the engine again. Of course, people who get their car maintained periodically do not face this problem.
4. Changes in Viscosity of the Oil (using the correct engine oil)
An engine is a complicated machine, and it is also a very picky one. You can't just pick and choose the lubricant that you want to use for your car. Each lubricant has different viscosity and reacts differently with engines. So, if the viscosity of the oil is too high, it will make for more resistance in the pipes, and less lubricant will flow to the engine.
But, if you use oil that has very low viscosity, it will not create enough resistance in the system leading to the sensor considering it as lower pressure. Therefore, you will have to use the right motor oil with just the right amount of viscosity.
5. A Damaged Oil Pump
Oil pressure can drop significantly when the oil pump itself is damaged. Think of the oil pump as the heart of the system in your car. Once it stops working, the oil doesn't move around in the system, and the engine doesn't receive the oil it needs. Poor oil maintenance and oil contamination are two common factors causing the oil pump to stop working.
To summarize, low oil pressure can be hazardous and lead to severe damage to your engine. Get it checked by your local mechanic ASAP. Even though engines that have done a wealth of kilometres and been a absolute soldier overtime the natural loss of oil pressure due to an increase on engine bearing clearances (Natural Wear and Tear) is something inevitable, its still not a reason to the pressure of your oil dropping, check these five easy to do tips and you just might be able to squeeze a extra 100,000 kilometres or so out of that family car you've fallen in love with !.