By September 10, 2012 3 Comments Read More →

Oil Pressure Light Troubleshooting

Reader Question

Hi Austin

I do have a car question on Acura Integra that has 374,595 miles on it! Hope it is okay to ask you here…
I do trust my mechanic and have been going to him since 1999 when I got this car. It actually had only 35000 miles on it when I purchased it…I did all the rest on the original engine Still works pretty good with usual suspension issues to an extent, etc but this is my latest thing…the other day when I turned the car on after being in office all day the oil lamp sensor was flickering.

I checked oil level and since it looked a tad low I added some oil I had in the car. Then drove home but the light came on again…Next morning, no oil light on or flickering. But I drove down to my mechanic who is about 20 miles away and it would go on and off.
The minute he looked at it he felt I needed a new sensor.

So he put one in, no oil light came on all the way back. When I got out of my night job at 9:30 it was back on…sometimes bright, sometimes fading way back, and then not on at all. Next day I went down to mechanic again and when they looked again now with new sensor see that there is a short in some wire in the harness.

He feels that if he starts fooling around with the harness it may end up costing me a lot as it will be time consuming to locate correct wire. And he knows at this moment in time I don’t have much money and am planning to go to Cape for a week which I already paid for.

So he said to do nothing…the engine is fine. However, it is driving me crazy…sometimes not on. Then when I start up again, back on.

About the time this happened I noticed that the car radio on all stations has a lot of static and while a number of stations usually come in without ST on the radio face, now all say that. Is it possible the wiring for the radio is hitting the oil sensor wiring? Your thoughts and perhaps solution! would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks for being there and for your newsletter as well!  Sincerely,


Hi there Andrea,

Well, what concerns me is that the oil light COULD be telling the truth and there is a low oil pressure problem happening.  When the engine and the engine oil gets hot the oil gets thinner and if the engine has internal wear (which I would EXPECT at this mileage) then your oil pump might not be able to pump the needed oil pressure to satisfy the demand of the engine.

When that oil pressure light is on, assuming the light is telling the truth, there is not enough oil pressure inside the engine to properly lubricate itself.  This can cause internal engine wear and damage.

oil pressure gauge

Oil Pressure Gauge

I would have your mechanic hook up a manual oil pressure gauge at the engine and read the oil pressure when the engine is cold, and when hot to see if there is a significant oil pressure drop.

The oil pump is like your heart, it can get clogged up with dirt and old oil sludge and hamper it’s pumping ability. Also, the pistons and rings around the pistons will wear normally over time and cause a drop in internal compression which hampers oil pressure.

You could have a wire harness electrical type of issue going on here, but my gut tells me your engine is worn out and is suffering from lack of compression and oil pressure from the pump.

A manual gauge test will confirm this. If this is true, then you might want to try using thicker weight engine oil, like Castrol 20-50 and possibly an oil additive like Engine Restore (available at all auto parts store) which can help increase compression in older worn engines.

Personally, I would be thinking of a new engine, or a newer vehicle in the near term. I personally would NOT invest in a new or rebuilt engine in this vehicle just due to overall age and mileage and would be looking for a 2 year old lease trade in vehicle like a Kia Rio, or Hyundai Sonata with less than 30K miles.

You are going to want to unload this vehicle before the engine totally gives out, you still have a little trade in or resell value as it is now…….not a bunch, but some which is better than none.

Keep me posted will ya?

The new Kia’s and Hyundai’s are in my opinion the best value on the market today, and you might be able to get a good deal on a 2012 as the 2013 are hitting the dealer lots now.

Austin Davis

Posted in: Check Engine Lights

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Austin Davis

    Sorry man

  • Eric

    Dang it, wish I would have found your site before my oil light came on :(

  • jillian

    Great information!