What Are Likely Causes of High Oil Pressure in a Vehicle?


Oil pressure should ideally stay at a median level. However, if your customer is experiencing high oil pressure on an intermittent basis (or even on a regular basis), there are some simple things to check before worrying about anything drastic like dropping in a replacement engine. However, there is the chance that the problem is serious, and you’ll need to consider offering your customer a rebuilt engine, remanufactured engine or even a crate engine to replace it. First, look for some of the common causes of high oil pressure in a vehicle.

High Oil Pressure: Possible Problems

shutterstock_89123731There are only a handful of potential issues that might cause high oil pressure, a common problem in used car engines for sale. The most common cause is a bad oil sending unit. You’ll need to troubleshoot the unit to determine if this is the case (it’s electric, so you’ll need a tester).

If the sending unit isn’t the problem, then there’s the chance that the oil pressure release valve is stuck closed. While not particularly common, it is possible. Valve operation can’t really be tested, so what you’ll need to do is remove it, clean the valve and then replace it. If the pressure reading goes back to normal, you know the valve was the problem. If the pressure continues to read high, you’ll need to dig a little bit deeper.

The final potential issue in causes of high oil pressure is a blocked oil passage. This can be pretty serious, particularly if the passage has been blocked for some time, starving the engine of the oil it needs for lubrication. A good sign of a blocked passage is lifter tap – an oil leak at the cam assembly (to the cylinder head gasket) is another good sign.

If the engine has been starved for oil for very long, chances are good that damage has occurred. In the case of a blocked oil passage, perhaps the best thing to do is recommend that your customer consider a replacement engine. Rebuilt, remanufactured and even salvage engines can be excellent replacement options here, but make sure your customer understands the differences between their various choices.

If your customer has the money, a crate engine is usually the better option, though a remanufactured engine can offer the same life and reliability for slightly less in terms of price. If they’re strapped for cash, then a rebuilt engine or a salvage engine will be the more practical options to get them back on the road.