Your stomach drops when you see one of your dashboard lights come up—especially if it’s a warning you’ve never seen before. If it’s the Low Oil Pressure Message/Light, you might even panic. After all, the first assumption should be that you have no oil pressure, which will cause major engine damage. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Thus, if your Low Oil Pressure Message/Light comes on, STOP driving immediately and turn the engine off. After all, your engine can be severely damaged if oil pressure is lost. Your stomach drops when you see one of your dashboard lights come up—especially if it’s a warning you’ve never seen before. If it’s the Low Oil Pressure Message/Light, you might even panic. After all, the first assumption should be that you have no oil pressure, which will cause major engine damage. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Thus, if your Low Oil Pressure Message/Light comes on, STOP driving immediately and turn the engine off. After all, your engine can be severely damaged if oil pressure is lost.

There are many possible causes of low oil pressure:

  • A low oil level (check the dipstick)
  • Bad oil pump
  • Defective oil pressure sending unit
  • Defective oil pressure gauge

When you see the low oil pressure message appear, check the oil levels. If the oil level is normal, the suspect is usually a defective oil pressure sensor. Often, though, getting the sensor replaced fails to eliminate the illuminated message.  Most will now assume the condition is due to problems with the oil filter, oil pump, or even major engine damage. Some engines get major repairs in a futile attempt to eliminate the low oil pressure message only to later determine the symptoms were due to a lack of oil supplied to the oil pressure sensor.

For oil to reach the oil pressure sensor, the oil has to pass through an AFM oil filter screen. This hidden screen is a small filter positioned below the oil pressure sensor. While its purpose is to protect the AFM system, if the screen becomes clogged with debris or sludge, it can actually prevent enough oil from reaching the sensor, prompting the low oil pressure message.

The good news is that the filter screen can be easily cleaned with brake cleaner and low air pressure. However, because these screens are so inexpensive, most are simply replaced. The oil pressure sensor and filter screen can be removed without removing the intake—the procedure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer—which can be quite a challenge.

If you find your auto technician has to replace the mentioned filter screen due to sludge accumulation, you might want to consider a more frequent service interval. When you do, be sure to ask your auto technician for an extended life oil filter as well.

Make sure your vehicle is being serviced with quality parts. Mighty sources the highest quality auto parts from the world’s leading OE manufacturers, serving as the lynch-pin between manufacturers and professional technicians from coast-to-coast.

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