8 High Oil Pressure Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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oil pressure high

The oil pressure within your engine is one of the numerous factors that must be precisely correct. Correct oil pressure in your engine is required to help the proper lubrication of critical engine components such as the balance shaft bearings and the camshaft.

If it’s abnormally high or overly low, it might indicate the presence of underlying disorders. This is particularly apparent with high oil pressure since it’s a strong indicator that there’s significantly wrong occurring with the routes the oil must take to lubricate your engine effectively.

Your vehicle’s heart may get blocked over time as dust and debris picked up by the oil accumulate and form what plaques are. This is the moment when you might see an increase in your engine’s oil pressure, similar to human blood pressure.

Fortunately, your motor oil pressure could be restored to healthy levels like the human blood pressure. However, it would be best if you determined what caused it. Don’t panic; In this article, we’ll be discussing well enough the causes of excessively high oil pressure, the dangers of overlooking it, and the remedies. Read on to learn more!

Causes of High Oil Pressure

  • Bad Pressure Relief Valve
  • Clogged or Dirty Oil Filter
  • Incorrect Oil Grade
  • Blocked Oil Passages
  • Faulty Oil Pressure Sending Unit
  • Cold Engine Temperature
  • Poor Oil Grade
  • Bad Oil Pump

What Is High Oil Pressure?

This could be caused by a blocked oil passage, a failing component, or a problem with your oil itself. The average oil pressure range is around 25 to 65psi. Whenever this range is surpassed, there’s something wrong and must be remedied immediately to avoid further engine damage.

Adequate lubrication is critical to your engine’s functioning. Without this, excessive friction develops and eventually results in engine overheating. This raises the likelihood of developing a fracture in your engine block or busting your head gasket.

Each of such possibilities is too expensive to fix; you’re lucky if a repair is even feasible. As a result, your best course of action is to respond immediately upon detecting indicators of high engine oil pressure.

What Causes High Oil Pressure?

Since high oil pressure appears to be a significant concern, there are a couple of crucial spots to examine to determine the source of the issue. Below, we’ve split out the most prevalent. With this approach, you can regain control of your car’s oil pressure and get back safely on the road!

Bad Pressure Relief Valve

Your oil pressure relief valve is a simple component comprised of a spring, piston, and plug. It doesn’t only safeguard your engine against high-pressure damages, but it also controls overall engine oil flow volume through your engine block.

There’s no way to determine if there’s an issue without visually checking it. However, when you start your vehicle and run it for a while and oil pressure doesn’t achieve the desired level, this might indicate a faulty relief valve. Fortunately, a relief valve malfunction can be solved by a simple cleanup of this component could be enough.

Clogged or Dirty Oil Filter

Given its very structure, your oil filter becomes filthy and clogged over time. Keeping the purity of your engine oil requires screening out microscopic particulates and other pollutants to guarantee your engine is properly lubricated.

Your oil filter gradually becomes clogged due to continual operation, reducing overall oil flow efficiency through your filter. When the flow rates at your oil filter decrease, engine temperatures rise. High engine temps increase, resulting in high oil pressure.

Incorrect Oil Grades

Engine oils have varying viscosities or different oil grades – the measure of an oil’s thinness or thickness – depending on its variety. Utilizing the incorrect sort of engine oil or contaminated oil might result in an upsurge in pressure inside your oiling system.

This is particularly obvious if you utilize an engine oil that becomes too dense for your car as it warms up, but any sort of substandard oil might result in high oil pressure. If you reside in a warm region, your engine oil quality must be thicker.

In chilly conditions, a thinner oil, like 5W, is preferable. Additionally, you can choose between fully synthetic mineral oil, regular mineral oil, or a combination of both two.

Blocked Oil Passages

Any component of a car’s oiling system – including the tubes, passageways, and channels – is susceptible to clogging. This occurs mainly due to aging taking its impact on every component and accumulation becoming unavoidable.

But, it might also be induced by dirt from other spots and problems that develop throughout your engine’s lifetime. Numerous contemporary engine oils include compounds to help avoid this.

Yet, debris, filth, and even foreign objects such as fragments of metal or microscopic bits of rust possess the ability to obstruct a critical passageway. Consider constraining the water flow via a hose using your fingers or blowing through a straw.

Faulty Oil Pressure Sending Unit

Your oil sending unit or sensor determines your dashboard oil pressure reading. A faulty oil pressure sensor or sending unit could result in inaccurate pressure measurements on your oil pressure gauge and must be replaced or fixed.

Incorrect oil pressure readings might potentially activate various warning lights, such as your oil pressure light flashing frequently. A flashing oil pressure gauge signifies that your oil level is dangerously low and must be replenished to prevent engine problems.

Constantly monitor your oil level physically before inspecting your oil sending unit. Numerous devices are available to diagnose a sending unit, such as electronic multimeters, scanner devices, and manual oil pressure tester for checking your engine oil pressure.

Cold Engine Temperature

Your engine temperature is the most often cited cause of high oil pressure. Numerous individuals are unsure that while their engine oil is cold, it generally has relatively high pressure. Generally, double as high or perhaps higher than when their engine is hot.

Rather than that, monitor your oil pressure once your oil is heated. If overall pressure is excessively high when your oil is hot, it’s essential to be careful.

Bad Oil Pump

Generally, a malfunctioning, defective, or bad oil pump would result in low oil pressure, while an old pump with worn bearings may result in high oil pressure.

Naturally, every oil pump that malfunctions totally could result in zero oiling at all. Most current oil pumps are integrated into the timing system and are driven by your engine’s crankshaft rotation. This frequently results in the total breakdown of your oil pump due to another engine failure.

High Oil Pressure Symptoms

Before you might begin analyzing what is leading your car to exceed its ideal oil pressure, you must be sure of the problem with your automobile. That’s why we have included a list of the main typical signs and symptoms of high engine oil pressure listed below.

Overheating Engine

If your car’ suffers a high oil pressure, there’s a considerable probability it’s not receiving sufficient oil flow across your engine. An overheating engine is typically the earliest sign of this issue. The further you run your engine having a high engine oil pressure, the hotter it will become.

Oil Leaks

Everything within your car was engineered to operate at a precise temperature and pressure. Therefore, once oil pressure becomes extreme, it has the potential to burst through seals, gaskets, and other systems, resulting in leaks and breakage.

High Oil Pressure Reading (Oil Gauge)

The most popular method of determining if your car has high oil pressure is through an oil pressure gauge. Not every vehicle comes equipped with such a gauge, although most have. When the oil gauge begins to rise too much and reaches the red zone, it’s a solid indicator that something is wrong.

Engine Damage

Engine oil decreases friction within your engine, while high oil pressure restricts the amount of oil passing through it. Increased friction doesn’t only generate excessive heat, but it also has the potential to harm numerous engine parts. If left unaddressed over an extended period, high oil pressure might result in the ultimate damage to your engine.

The Effects of Low or High Oil Pressure

Although oil pressure is a vital sign of your engine’s condition, guaranteeing that sufficient oil is moving across your engine’s critical components is a more accurate indicator. Low oil pressure is beneficial up to a limit.

On the other hand, high oil pressure is indeed a bad indicator and is destructive to your engine. Assume your oil gauge indicates a high oil pressure signal. You must be very careful regarding your engine’s integrity in such circumstances.

Since pressure is a measurement of flow resistance, using low viscosity engine oil in broad engine oil lines results in a high flow velocity with a low oil pressure measurement. This situation results in less engine wear, which is a desirable conclusion.

The reverse effect occurs whenever high viscosity oil is injected into engines with smaller oil channels. Increased oil pressure might be unavoidable, wreaking havoc on the engine oil lubrication system.

In severe circumstances, engine parts will suffer excessive wear if they’re not supplied with enough oil. In some engines, its oil might pass via a valve before returning to its oil pump. This nightmarish situation results in moving engine components obtaining insufficient oil to operate correctly.

The Importance Of Regularly Changing Your Engine Oil

Most mechanics would recommend changing your engine oil after every 3,000 miles. Contemporary automobiles and other cars are often engineered to endure up to 10,000 miles before requiring an engine oil change.

The critical point to bear in mind is that regularity is what counts. The more you wait, the greater the chance that your engine may be affected. When oil ages, it degrades and thickens. As you are undoubtedly aware, the thicker the oil, the greater the pressure required to circulate it across your engine systems.

Additionally, it’ll gather up additional impurities and particulates, causing it to thicken and causing engine stress. Therefore, it’s crucial to replace your engine oil regularly according to the standards to prevent headaches caused by engine problems. You must address the situation immediately before it causes a significant difficulty when it does occur.


While auto repairs aren’t enjoyable, it’s best to address problems as early as possible before they develop into more significant issues. Once your oil pressure indicator starts to rise, assess the situation immediately before it gets serious.

It is preferable to invest a couple of hundred bucks right now rather than several thousand dollars afterward. To guarantee that your lubricating system is capable of performing its function, maintain a servicing schedule that involves regular oil changes and the replacement of your oil filter.


Is it safe to drive my vehicle with high oil pressure?

It’s not recommended to drive a car under high oil pressure. Once your oil pressure gauge indicates that oil pressure is higher than usual, this implies that there is an internal issue. You must address the problem promptly since this is the best approach to prevent incurring substantial repair expenses in the future.

Is fluctuating oil pressure normal?

This is absolutely normal. Bear in mind that it’ll take some minutes for oil pressure to rise after your vehicle is started. It will start slowly and eventually stabilize.

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