3 Symptoms of a Bad Oil Pressure Sensor (Replacement Cost)

You may have never heard of an oil pressure sensor. Or maybe it is, but no idea what it is or how it works.

In this guide, we want to tell you not only what an oil pressure sensor is, but also some symptoms of a bad sensor and how much it will cost to replace it if yours is bad.

Your oil pressure sensor is a critical part of your engine. So how can you tell if it’s broken and no longer works?

The most common symptom of a bad oil pressure sensor is an oil pressure warning light on your dashboard. Your engine may also display the Check Engine Light because the oil control valves are not working. This can cause a noisy engine.

While these are the most common signs to look for, they aren’t all of them. Here is a more detailed list of the symptoms of a bad oil pressure sensor.

Bad Oil Pressure Sensor Symptoms

1. Oil pressure light on dashboard

One of the most common symptoms of a bad oil pressure sensor is the oil pressure light coming on on the dash. This light comes on when your oil pressure sensor detects low oil pressure or high oil pressure and then sends a signal to your ECU, which then relays a signal to your dashboard, causing your oil warning light to illuminate.

In theory it works like this. However, if your sensor is faulty, the oil light will come on even if the oil pressure is correct.

The easiest way to determine this error is to manually check the oil pressure with a gauge. If your oil pressure is normal, it indicates a faulty sensor. Another method of diagnosing this error is to use a trouble code reader and see if there are any errors stored in your vehicle’s ECU related to your oil pressure sensor.

2. Noisy engine and timing chain

If your engine has a timing chain that is fed with oil, then having the correct oil pressure is even more important. This is because your chain uses the oil pumped from your oil pump to keep itself lubricated and move freely. The tensioners that hold the chain in place are also often oil fed, which is another reason maintaining oil pressure is vital.

A drop in engine oil pressure can cause the chain tensioners to loosen, leaving you with a loose chain that chatters and throws itself against the various pulleys and housings. This can usually be heard when standing next to the vehicle with the engine turned off. It will sound like a deep metallic chatter coming from the engine block.

If you can hear this from your engine but the oil light does not come on, it could be a sign of a bad oil pressure sensor. If your chain has lost its tension due to a lack of oil pressure and your oil light is not illuminated on your dashboard, it is important to change the oil after making the necessary repairs to your engine to clear the chain failure. pressure sensor too.

You may also experience other noisy engine parts if your oil pressure is low.

3. Oil leak from oil pressure sensor

Your oil pressure sensor is designed to be placed in your car’s oil system so that it can detect oil pressure. However, this can sometimes cause the oil pressure to leak oil, either through the threads or through the center of the actual sensor.

Vauxhalls are known for this to be a common problem on some of their models, with the oil pressure sensor leaking oil in the center of the body, filling the connector on the block and spraying the engine bay with oil.

You can easily diagnose this error by checking for oil leakage around the pressure sensor, remove the connector from the sensor block to check for oil inside. If you find oil in any of these locations, you will need to replace your sensor. You can also visually inspect the sensor with the engine idling and make sure there are no signs of oil leaking from the sensor housing.

What is an oil pressure sensor?

Most modern cars have an oil pressure sensor installed somewhere in the engine block. This sensor allows the vehicle’s ECU to determine the operating pressure of the oil in the engine, yes you guessed it.

This allows the engine to passively control or the oil system to lose pressure. If your engine loses its oil pressure for any reason it can lead to further damage to the rest of your engine which is the main reason it is constantly checked.

The pressure is created by your vehicle’s oil pump, which simply lifts engine oil from the crankcase to the head of your engine to cool and lubricate the various engine components. If the oil pressure drops, your engine can no longer be properly lubricated or cooled and parts can seize up, causing irreparable damage and high bills.

This is the main reason why the oil pressure is constantly monitored. Therefore, as soon as the oil pressure light comes on, stop the engine and do not start it again until it has been repaired. This way you prevent further damage.

Oil pressure sensor location

The exact location of your oil pressure sensor may vary depending on your make, model and engine.

The oil pressure sensor is often located on the engine block near the bottom of the cylinder head. But it can also be mounted on the cylinder head. A block connector is attached to it and 1 or 2 thin wires are attached to it.

Oil pressure sensor replacement cost

The average oil pressure sensor replacement cost is between $50 and $250 depending on the car model and labor costs. An oil pressure sensor costs between $30 and $100 and labor costs between $20 and $150.

The cost of an oil pressure sensor depends entirely on your vehicle’s specific part number for the part, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $100. Fortunately, if you’re willing to pay someone to install it, it will generally be a lot work are between 30 minutes and 1 hour, depending on where the sensor is located.

Diagnosing a Faulty Oil Pressure Sensor

Diagnosing a faulty oil pressure sensor is often quite easy if you have the correct sensor readings. The sensor often has only one or two pins, which must have a specific resistance to ground. To know the exact resistance, you need a certain oil pressure; refer to your repair manual or the manufacturer’s manuals for the oil pressure sensor.


Due to the simple oil sensor design, they are usually fairly inexpensive to pick up and easy to replace. Be careful when replacing the sensor and watch for oil leakage when removing the sensor from the engine block. You should also be careful not to overtighten your new sensor as this can be done easily.

When working on any part of your engine that contains oil, it is always best to wear gloves to protect your skin from the harmful chemicals built into the oil. Also, once the job is done, check your oil level with your vehicle on level, level ground and top up if necessary.

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