Do you want to know the bad oil pump symptoms that indicate that your oil pump might be bad? look no further because we have the answer you need.
Engine oil is one of the essential fluids a car needs. It serves as a lubricant that helps to reduce the friction between different metal components of an automobile engine and reduces excess heat present in components like shafts, pistons, and bearings.
An oil pump is one of the strongest parts of a car engine; it pumps the oil and enhances the transportation of this engine oil across all other running parts of the automobile system. It is located right next to the car crankshaft because the crankshaft directly drives the oil pumps. An oil pump can be likened to the heart in the human body.
The way the heart pumps blood and circulates it to every other part of the body that needs it can be compared to how an oil pump works.
A damaged oil pump leads to a drop in engine oil pressure, which can further cause severe damage to different components of your car engine; This results in a very catastrophic effect on the general well-being of your car.
Every car comes with an oil pump, and its function cannot be over-emphasized. So, it is very important that one checks and recognizes the bad oil pump symptoms and fix the pump immediately.
How Does an Oil Pump Work?
The oil pump takes the engine oil from the oil pan where it is kept and quickly pumps it into the engine. The filter serves as a permeable membrane between the oil pan and the oil pump, and it acts as a funnel that prevents large unwanted particles that might be contained in the oil from entering the oil pump.
Thus, no debris is found in the oil that enters the engine. The oil then travels through oil passages sending sufficient oil to different parts where it is needed while building up pressure in your engine and reducing friction between the moving parts of the engine simultaneously.
This process is continuous as long as the car is running, further emphasizing the importance of being aware of the bad oil pump symptoms to avoid being caught unaware by its oil pump damage while the car is running.
Also Read: Car Leaking Oil When Parked? (Causes and Fixes)
Bad Oil Pump Symptoms
Most of the problems associated with oil pump failures are mechanical, and noticeable symptoms precede them. Below are common bad oil pump symptoms.
1. Warning Lights
This is usually the first bad oil pump symptom that the driver frequently neglects. As soon as the oil pressure sensor detects an oil pump issue, which could be a result of low engine oil pressure, it sends a signal to the vehicle, which then turns on the little check engine indicator light on the dashboard.
This indicator alerts the driver so that further investigation and servicing can be carried out because it is not an apt indication of a fault in the oil pump. It could be a leakage in the engine, an alert for burning oil, or an indicator that the oil tank is overfilled or underfilled. For more information, read this guide if you asking how much oil does my car need?
It is advised that you pay attention to the indicators, stop the vehicle right away and check the issue. If you ignore this sign, it might bring your car to a force stop in the middle of nowhere. Start paying attention to your check engine indicator!
2. Reduced Oil Pressure
The oil pump usually regulates oil pressure, so whenever the oil pump starts to fail, the oil pressure in the engine starts to decrease, resulting in low engine oil pressure. Once there is low engine oil pressure, you should first check the level of oil in the pan.
If it is too low, add more oil until it becomes adequate because an adequate amount of oil in the engine will cause the moving parts to rub against each other smoothly without causing any damage to the engine parts.
In contrast, an inadequate amount causes the engine parts to rub against each other roughly, thereby causing damage to the engine components. Suppose this bad oil pump symptom persists after adding oil.
In that case, it indicates a fault in the oil pump, which needs to be replaced immediately before it worsens and causes further irreparable damage. It is important to note that your engine oil must be monitored regularly to avoid running out of oil.
In other words, check and top your engine oil regularly. Change your oil filters once you notice a leakage because Bad oil filters can also lead to oil pressure drop.
3. Abnormal/Unfamiliar Sounds
A failing oil pump produces various sounds, and these sounds could be coming from the valve train, oil pump, or even the hydraulic lifters. These components are important parts of the engine that require adequate lubrication to function properly and noiselessly.
Reduced oil flow resulting from a bad oil pump will limit the effectiveness of these components, thereby causing them to wear and tear. This wear and tear caused by uncontrolled friction will result in clicking and whirring sounds from the engine.
The hydraulic lifters are essential valve system components, which sustain the valve clearance with the rock and cam followers. These lifters work noiselessly when the engine is in perfect condition. Insufficient lubrication to the lifters resulting from oil pressure drop will lead to extreme friction hence releasing a lot of noise.
A bad oil pump can make the valve train too noisy because the oil flowing into the entire valve system has been reduced. The oil pump hardly releases any sounds. So when there is a sound coming from the oil pump, it’s a serious internal issue that mostly leads to wear and tear. This can always be fixed by replacing the entire oil pump.
Furthermore, an insufficient supply of oil can lead to tapping, rattling, and knocking sounds in the engine. To avoid these abnormal sounds, use oils with a good viscosity rating as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, always provide enough oil to the engine, and always look out for external leaks.
4. Engine Overheating
Excess heat in the engine is also one of the bad oil pump symptoms. As oil is in circulation around the engine, it acts as a lubricant and coolant, and it cools the temperature of the engine’s moving parts.
Suppose the oil pump fails to pump enough oil into the engine. In that case, the metallic moving parts of the engine tend to rub against each other, thereby generating a large amount of heat, increasing the engine’s temperature. This can also send a warning to your dashboard indicating that your engine’s temperature needs to be regulated.
How to Test Oil Pump
Follow these steps to carry out a DIY test on an oil pump.
First, make sure you have filled the tank with engine oil, start the engine, and pay attention to the indicator warnings and sounds. If the engine keeps making noise and overheating or the dashboard indicator is still on, or you are experiencing any of the issues mentioned above, please contact the services of an expert.
Also, if you notice an oil pressure drop, you can check the oil pressure by using a Guage. A Guage helps you compare the oil pressure readings to that of the recommended standard for your vehicle type.
Mount the Guage and check the readings; if they do not match, check for leaks, clean your oil filter, check for clogging, fill your engine with enough oil and run the test again while the engine is running. If the pressure Guage shows normal, but the dashboard indicator is still on, there might be an issue with the sending unit.
If there are still discrepancies in the results, it could be an internal failure, so you should seek the help of an expert. Your mechanic, for example, can just inspect your engine to detect the fault.
If the fault is not physical enough, the mechanic will apply electronic methods to give your vehicle a computerized test and interpret the results for you. The computer will dictate to the mechanic if there is a need for pump replacement or just to fix some engine parts.
Watch this video to know how to check if your oil pump is bad
What to Do if Your Oil Pump Fails?
A damaged pump will lose its ability to pump and distribute oil to all engine parts required. Every car owner must be able to test an oil pump and give a correct interpretation of the problem.
If your oil pump is damaged beyond repair, stop driving the car and start looking for ways to replace it instead of managing it. Pay attention to the bad oil pump symptoms to determine where the problem is coming from; you can also check the oil level with the dipstick.
Mount the pressure Guage and check for oil pressure while the engine is running. Getting an oil pump replaced is not an easy repair neither is it common. Some oil pumps last a lifetime, while others don’t.
It is advised you seek the services of a professional for oil pump-related issues instead of replacing the oil pump yourself because DIY might worsen the condition of the vehicle.
Oil Pump Replacement Cost
On average, for low range to mid-range cars, oil pump replacement costs about $500, while higher range cars like a limousine, Chevrolet, Rolls-Royce, etc., should have a budget of about $800.
The main costs incurred in replacing an oil pump are the cost of the pump and the labor cost. But during the repair process, there might be a need to replace a few other things, thereby increasing the total costs incurred.
As the prices of cars differ based on model and specifications, so does The price of its oil pump. For example, the oil pump of a 2010 Audi A3 2.0T Hatchback costs between $500 to $700, while that of 2001 Lincoln Navigator will cost between $200 to $300 excluding labor.
Labor costs may not be as expensive as the cost of the item since it only takes a professional mechanic a few hours to completely replace an oil pump.
How to Avoid Oil Pump Problems
The following tips will help you avoid having a bad oil pump and seeing the bad oil pump symptoms.
- Always check the engine oil level every time you refuel
- Pay attention to the slightest indicator detail.
- Let the oil level be moderate. Do not overfill your crankcase with oil.
- Remember to change the oil regularly and check for clogging.
- Make sure you Wipe the oil pan each time you change the oil.
- Synthetic oil has proven to be better for your engine. Use it.
Also Read: What Is An Oil Pan Gasket (Gasket Leak Symptoms & Repair)
People tend to ignore various oil pumps symptoms, such as engine overheating, strange noises, and illuminated car indicator lights because they believe the engine has enough oil and fuel.
You will not be able to drive your car around for a long time with all these signs lurking around your car engines. Ignoring these bad oil pump symptoms worsens and spreads the damages, and managing the damage increases the cost of repair. So why not fix it?
There is a good chance you are unaware of imminent engine damage caused by a bad oil pump. The truth is that you cannot be too careful with your car engine. Replacing an oil pump or any engine components can be very expensive.
The best way not to incur losses and prevent damages is by regular checkups to ensure that adequate quantity and quality of the oil is circulated to all engine parts in need of it.
So regular checks and paying attention to the slightest signs will help prevent a lot of future irreparable damages to your car. If you keep managing it till the damage goes beyond repair, your car will find its new home in an auto repair shop.