Symptoms of Low Oil Pressure

Understanding Symptoms of Low Oil Pressure

Hydraulic fluid or hydraulic oil, the lifeblood of each and every hydraulic system around us. Hydraulic oil is of different types, one can select it depending on the application it will perform. Different hydraulic fluids will have different properties and functions.

Also, Read: Hydraulic Fluid Properties

What property of the hydraulic fluid is used in the hydraulic system? It is pressure. We use pressurized incompressible hydraulic fluids to transfer energy from one part of the system to another. When the pressure of the hydraulic fluid gets reduced, then the rate of flow of fluid through the system will also get reduced. This can be a cause for severe hydraulic system failures.

Before dealing with the symptoms of low oil pressure, we can simply discuss the reasons. So, you can avoid these failures caused as a result of low oil pressure in future.

Low Oil Level

Inadequate oil is the common cause of low oil pressure. When the oil level decreases, the oil pressure will automatically get reduced. Leakage, evaporation and burning of hydraulic oil are primary causes for low oil level. This issue can be avoided through proper maintenance. You can perform a dipstick test to identify the level of oil.

Inappropriate Viscosity

Low viscosity of hydraulic oil will lead to low resistance to flow. Similarly, the high viscosity of hydraulic oil will cause maximum resistance. In both these cases, the oil pressure will be reduced. You must select the hydraulic oil with the desired viscosity index.

Wrong Selection of Oil

Every hydraulic system is designed to suit with a particular range of hydraulic oils. It will be specified based on the oil properties required. So, a wrong selection of hydraulic oil can cause low oil pressure.

Worn Oil Pump

A pump is an important part of a hydraulic system that sucks oil from the reservoir. Wear or excessive clearances inside the oil pump can be a cause for low oil pressure. Diagnosing the failure of an oil pump is an expensive and time-consuming task. A pump is an important part of a hydraulic system that sucks oil from the reservoir.

Worn out Bearings

The bearings play an important role in maintaining the proper pressure of the fluid. The key factor that helps to control fluid pressure is the clearance of the bearing. Continuous working of these bearing will create wear and then it will result in low oil pressure.

Damaged/Dirty Oil Filters

In a hydraulic system, we use oil filters to remove the contaminants present in the oil. But, what will happen when they fail? The contaminated fluid will flow through the system or the dirt/contaminants filtered will block the oil passage. This will create low oil pressure. You can prevent this by replacing the oil filters in a regular interval.

Leakage in the System

Leakage is an important concern related to the hydraulic system. This will result in problems like aeration, high oil consumption and contamination.
Now, it’s time to discuss the symptoms of low oil pressure. In general, the low oil pressure related problems will be indicated by the pressure gauge on the dashboard. But in some instants, the pressure gauge will show a faulty indication. In such cases, the below mentioned are other symptoms of low oil pressure.

Weak Engine Performance

The heart of every automobile is its engine, and the lifeblood of this engine is hydraulic oil. This worst scenario is caused as a result of lack of lubrication to the engine parts. So, as a preventive measure, regularly check the oil level and use proper hydraulic oil to refill the tank.

Burning Smell

The smell of oil burning is an indication of leakage. When the oil leaks onto hot engine parts, the oil burning smell will appear. So, when you detect this smell, suddenly stop the vehicle and allow the engine to cool down. When the oil cools down, inspect the leakage and take proper actions.


Clunking and grinding noises will be produced by the engine, when the engine parts won’t get proper lubrication. This sound indicates that there is metal to metal contact inside the engine. Low oil level and inadequate viscosity are other reasons for noise.

Overheated Engine

Hydraulic oil has a function to control the temperature of the fluid. In an engine, lack of hydraulic oil or leakage of oil will cause overheating issues. You need to monitor the temperature gauge for identifying if the engine is overheated or not.
Limp mode, noise from the engine, oil level/pressure light on the dashboard, and weak engine are the symptoms for low oil pressure at idle. Now the question is, how to fix low oil pressure at idle issues? This will depend on the causes.

Limp mode is a security function that recognizes serious faulty value from the engine or transmission. This function reduces the power and limits the RPM of the engine to avoid engine failures. Limp mode is caused as a result of dirty pickup at oil pump. Replacing the oil pump is the only solution.

Lack of hydraulic oil in the engine will cause noises. This can be avoided by proper checking and filling.

Wrong oil selection is the reason for displaying oil level/pressure light on the dashboard. The solution to remove this issue is changing the engine oil and the filter.

The weak/damaged engine can be a symptom of many issues. It can be a result of damaged engine components/leakage. The solution includes replacing the damaged parts or repairing the leakage.

Also, Read: Functions of Hydraulic Fluid


The basic details regarding low oil pressure symptoms, causes, and how to increase oil pressure at idle are discussed in this article. While driving an automobile when you identify any of the symptoms of oil pressure low, stop engine immediately.

By Web Desk : May 7 2019 10:37AM 0 409

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