It’s not always easy to tell when there’s something wrong with your car. This is especially true for problems that are out of sight, like the oil pump. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common symptoms of a bad oil pump.
Several symptoms can indicate a bad oil pump. A few of these are loud whining noise from the engine, increased engine temperature, and poor vehicle performance.
If you’re experiencing any of these issues, don’t ignore them! Bring your car in for a tune-up and have the oil pump checked out.
What is an Oil Pump?
An oil pump is a mechanical device that helps circulate oil throughout a vehicle’s engine. The oil pump is responsible for delivering oil to the engine’s bearings and other moving parts.
Most oil pumps are located inside the engine, near the bottom. The pump is usually driven by a gear on the crankshaft, and it has a relief valve that helps regulate the oil pressure.
As the engine runs, the oil pump circulates oil through small passages in the engine. Over time, the oil pump can become worn out or clogged with debris.
When this happens, it can’t circulate oil as effectively, and the engine can overheat or seize up. It’s important to have a mechanic check your oil pump periodically to ensure it’s in good working condition.
How Does an Oil Pump Work?
An oil pump is a mechanical device that transfers fluids by positive displacement. The oil pump draws oil into its inlet port and then forces the oil to move through the outlet port. The oil pump operates using either a gear, vane, or gerotor type of Pump. The most common type of oil pump used in automotive applications is the gear type.
The engine’s crankshaft drives the oil pump via a timing belt or chain. As the crankshaft turns, it drives the Oil Pump, which pressurizes the engine’s lubricating oil and delivers it to the various moving parts within the engine.
The oil pump is designed to maintain a constant flow of oil regardless of the engine speed. However, the flow of oil will increase as the engine speed increases. This is because the faster the engine is running, the greater the demand for oil by the moving parts within the engine.
What are the Types of Oil Pump?
Each type of oil pump has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right one for your needs. Let us take a look at the different types of oil pumps:
1. Conventional oil pumps:
These are the oldest type of oil pumps used in cars. It uses a simple vane or rotating gear design to move oil through the pump and towards the engine.
There is a spring-loaded pressure relief valve in this type of oil pump, which opens up when oil pressure gets too high, thus preventing damage to the engine.
2. Variable oil pumps:
Modern engines require a higher level of oil pressure than older engines. Plus, if you need high oil pressures at low RPMs, the conventional oil pump cannot do it because it draws power from the engine’s crankshaft.
The RPMs on the crankshaft increase with the speed of the vehicle. Due to this issue, you can never get high oil pressures at low RPMs with conventional oil pumps. This is where the variable oil pumps come into play.
Variable oil pumps, also called vane oil pumps, can deliver higher oil pressures at low RPMs. These oil pumps have a set of vanes that rotate along with the gears. The pressure and volume of oil flow from these pumps are regulated by the movement of these vanes.
3. Electric oil pumps:
Electric oil pumps are mostly found in turbocharged or supercharged engines. The main reason for this is that they can provide the high level of oil pressure needed by these engines without putting too much strain on the engine itself.
Plus, they are more efficient than conventional oil pumps and can help improve fuel economy. Hybrid and other modern tech-based vehicles also use electric oil pumps.
Signs of Bad Oil Pumps
Now that we know what an oil pump is and how it works, let us take a look at some of the bad oil pump symptoms:
- Low Oil Pressure
- Overheated Engine
- Noise From Valve Train System
- Fluctuating Needle on Pressure Gauge
- Noise From Engine Bay
- Limp Mode
Let us dwell on each of these signs in a little more detail:
1. Low Oil Pressure:
Low oil pressure is one of the most common signs of a bad oil pump. The oil pump is responsible for pressurizing the engine’s lubricating oil and delivering it to the various moving parts within the engine.
If the oil pump fails, it will not be able to maintain the correct level of oil pressure, which can damage the engine components.
The oil pressure warning light on your dash will usually come on when the oil pressure gets too low. You should check the oil level and condition as soon as possible if this happens.
If you find that the oil level is fine but you see oil light, it is most likely a problem with the oil pump itself. In addition, if you notice that your oil pressure gauge is reading lower than usual, it could be a sign of a bad oil pump.
2. Overheated Engine:
Another common sign of a bad oil pump is an overheated engine. Engine oil performs two basic functions in your engine; one, it lubricates the engine components, and second, it keeps them cool.
Why there is a need to cool down the engine? Well, the engine has various moving components made out of metal. When these components rub against each other, they generate heat.
If this heat is not kept in check, it can damage the engine components. This is where engine oil comes in; it absorbs the heat and keeps the engine components cool.
If the oil pump fails, it will not be able to deliver enough oil to the engine, and this can lead to engine overheating. The engine temperature warning light on your dash will usually come on when the engine gets too hot.
If you see this light, you should pull over and turn off the engine as soon as possible. Letting the engine cool down before checking the oil level is a good idea.
3. Noise From Valve Train System:
Another sign of a bad oil pump is noise from the valve train system. The valve train system consists of various components like valves, lifters, pushrods, and rockers.
These components are responsible for opening and closing your engine’s intake and exhaust valves. They are also lubricated by engine oil.
If the oil pump fails, it will not be able to deliver enough oil to the valve train system. This can lead to noise from the system as the components start to rub against each other.
The best way to check for this is to listen for any unusual noises coming from the engine bay when the engine is running. If you hear anything out of the ordinary, it is best to get your car checked by a mechanic.
4. Fluctuating Needle on Pressure Gauge:
Another symptom of a bad oil pump is a fluctuating needle on the pressure gauge. The oil pressure gauge measures the amount of pressure in the engine’s lubricating system by taking reading from an engine oil pressure sensor. The oil pressure gauge has a diaphragm connected to a sensing line.
This sensing line runs from the oil pressure gauge to the engine’s oil filter housing. The diaphragm moves in response to the pressure in the system, which is translated into a needle movement on the pressure gauge.
If the oil pump fails, it will not be able to maintain constant pressure in the system. This will cause the diaphragm to move erratically, which will be reflected in the needle on the pressure gauge.
The best way to check for this is to start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes. Then, observe the needle on the pressure gauge. If it is moving erratically, it is a sign of a bad oil pump.
5. Noise From Engine Bay:
Another symptom of a bad oil pump is noise from the engine bay. The operation of the oil pump is usually silent. However, if it fails, it will start to make noise.
The most common type of noise is whining noise. This is caused by the gears in the oil pump starting to wear out. As the gears wear out, they will not mesh together as smoothly, and this will cause a whining noise.
Another type of noise that you might hear is a grinding noise. This is caused by debris or metal shavings caught in the oil pump.
If you hear any unusual noises coming from the engine bay, it is best to get your car checked by a mechanic.
6. Limp Mode:
Another symptom of a bad oil pump is the limp mode. Limp mode is a safety feature that is built into modern cars. It is activated when the vehicle detects a problem with the engine.
When the limp mode is activated, the car will reduce the amount of power that it produces. This is done to prevent further damage to the engine.
If the oil pump fails, it will not be able to deliver enough oil to the engine. This can cause damage to the engine components and trigger limp mode.
If you are driving and your car goes into limp mode, you should pull over and turn off the engine as soon as possible. Then, it would help if you got your car checked by a mechanic.
How to Prevent Oil Pump Failure?
The oil pump is the heart of the engine, and if it fails, the engine will seize up and stop working. But you can predict the failure of an oil pump. And there are a few things you can do to prevent oil pump failure:
1. Change your oil regularly. This will help keep the oil clean and prevent debris from clogging the pump.
2. Use a higher quality oil. This will help reduce wear on the pump and extend its life.
3. Avoid using additives in your oil. Some additives can actually damage the pump and shorten its life.
4. Have the oil pump serviced regularly. This will help ensure it is running smoothly and not wearing out prematurely.
5. Keep an eye on your oil level. If the oil level gets too low, it can cause the pump to overheat and fail.
6. Be careful when changing your oil filter. If you overtighten the filter, it can damage the pump.
Following these tips can help prevent oil pump failure and keep your engine running smoothly for many years to come.
Faulty Oil Pump Replacement Costs
If you need to replace your oil pump, the cost will depend on a few factors. These include the make and model of your car, the type of pump you need, and whether you do it yourself or hire a mechanic.
The average oil pump replacement cost is between $500 and $1000. However, if you need a specialty pump or your car is particularly difficult to work on, the cost can be much higher.
In addition, the time required to complete the repair can vary greatly depending on the job’s complexity. For example, replacing an oil pump on a simple four-cylinder engine may only take a couple of hours, while replacing an oil pump on a more complex engine with multiple cylinders may take 4-5 hours.
If you decide to replace the oil pump yourself, you can expect to pay for the parts and any tools you might need. If you hire a mechanic to do the job for you, they will charge you for their labor.
No matter who does the job, replacing an oil pump is a fairly expensive repair. However, it is important to do it if your oil pump fails. Otherwise, you could end up causing serious damage to your engine.
A bad oil pump can cause a variety of problems for your car. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should get your vehicle checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.
Remember, the oil pump is the heart of the engine, and if it fails, the engine will seize up and stop working. Taking care of your oil pump and replacing it when necessary is crucial to keeping your engine running smoothly for many years to come.
I hope this article was helpful in understanding some of the signs of a bad oil pump. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thanks for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you test an oil pump?
There are a few ways to test an oil pump:
- Remove the oil pressure sending unit and install a mechanical gauge. Start the engine and check the pressure. If it is low, then the pump may be failing.
- Remove the drive belt and spin the pump by hand. If it is hard to turn or makes strange noises, then it may be failing.
- Have a professional mechanic hook up a diagnostic machine to your car to check for any codes that might indicate a problem with the oil pump.
How long do oil pumps last?
Oil pumps typically last around 60,000 miles. However, they can fail sooner if they are not properly maintained. For example, if you do not change your oil regularly or use lower quality oil, it can cause the pump to wear out prematurely.
Can you drive with a failed oil pump?
Although you can technically drive with a failed oil pump, it is not advisable to do so. A failed oil pump will not be able to properly lubricate your engine, which can lead to extensive damage.
If you must drive with a failed oil pump, make sure to keep your engine speed low and avoid any strenuous activity. You should also have your vehicle towed to a mechanic as soon as possible so that the problem can be fixed.
How long does it take to replace the oil pump?
The time required to replace a new oil pump can vary greatly depending on the job’s complexity and the mechanic’s skill. For a skilled mechanic, replacing an oil pump will only take a little over an hour.
However, for someone with less experience, it may take several hours to complete the job. If you’re Replacing an oil pump on a more complex engine with multiple cylinders, it could take up to five hours.
Can you repair a failing oil pump instead of replacing it?
In some cases, it may be possible to repair a failing oil pump rather than replace it outright. Doing so can often be cheaper and more effective than buying a new pump.
To repair a failing oil pump, you will first need to identify the cause of the problem. Common causes of oil pump failure include wear and tear, debris buildup, and improper installation.
Once you have identified the cause of the problem, you can take steps to fix it. For example, if the problem is due to wear and tear, you may be able to replace some of the parts that are worn out. But remember to drain ole motor oil in to the oil pan before.
If the problem is due to debris buildup, you may need to clean out the pump body and screen. And if the problem is due to improper installation, you may need to redo the installation or make adjustments to ensure that everything is properly aligned.
Once you have taken care of the underlying cause of the problem, you can then focus on repairing the oil pump itself. This will usually involve disassembling the pump and making any necessary repairs or replacements.
Common repair items include seals, gaskets, o-rings, and bearings. Once you have made all of the necessary repairs, you can reassemble the pump and test it to ensure it is working properly.
If you are not comfortable making repairs to a failing oil pump, you may want to consider replacing the pump entirely. This is often the best option if the pump is severely damaged or if it is not possible to identify and fix the underlying cause of the problem.
What happens to the engine when the oil pump fails?
If the oil pump fails, it will no longer be able to lubricate the engine properly. This can lead to several problems, including decreased performance, increased fuel consumption, and engine damage.
In some cases, the engine may be able to run for a short period without the oil pump. However, this will eventually lead to serious engine damage and may even cause the engine to seize up completely.
It is important to note that even if the engine is still running after the oil pump fails, it will not be operating at peak efficiency. This means that you will likely see a decrease in performance and an increase in fuel consumption.