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What are the Signs of a Bad Oil Pump- Find all the Answers with Tips

If you have an oil pump in lousy condition and are wondering what are the signs of a bad oil pump, you will go in the right direction as we are going to discuss everything here in the following post. 

The most common oil pump failures are usually related to the lack of pressure, the existence of foreign particles in the circuit, the deterioration of the oil filter, or poor installation of the pump itself.

When repairing the oil pump failure, it is essential to identify the source of the failure and its reasons. The first indication of a possible failure in the pump or the oil circuit is the illumination of the warning light on the instrument panel.

It comes on when there is a pressure or flow problem and, if the problem is serious, the engine fault warning light will also illuminate. 

What is Automotive Oil Pump

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The oil pump is an essential element to guarantee adequate pressure in the engine’s lubrication circuit. Every engine needs lubrication to ensure proper operation and extend its useful life.

Therefore, the oil pump is in charge of putting this oil into circulation and ensuring that adequate pressure and flow is maintained throughout the engine circuit, according to the characteristics of the engine itself.

It is usually said that the oil pump in a car is like the heart in a human body since this element is in charge of sucking the oil from the crankcase and driving it through the filter and the oil galleries towards the crankshaft bearings and camshaft. 

This will avoid unwanted friction that would affect the main parts of the engine, causing them to remain immobile and causing the world-renowned problem of engine “seizure”.

How Does the Oil Pump Work

Let’s start by saying that the oil pump is factually the lubrication system’s heart. It pulls oil from the crankcase and forces it throughout the filter and oil galleries, into the camshaft and crankshaft bearings.

The proper functioning of our vehicle depends on adequate lubrication. It’s rare for an oil pump to fail, but if it does, it can cause irreparable damage to your car.

In general, every engine needs constant working pressure and lubrication flow that will depend on the type of engine we are dealing with or its manufacturer. However, these working pressures usually oscillate between 2 and 10 Kg.

Normally oil pumps are made up of four differentiated elements that are: the main body, the cover or aspirator, two gears (one conductive and one free), or with a rotor and stator assembly (one interior and one exterior).

And a valve that will facilitate the relief of the oil and that is usually found inside the oil pump itself or in the engine block.

What elements are part of the oil pump and what is their function? It is important to add that the higher the pressure in an engine, the higher the temperature at which the oil will be.

This fact means that in engines that work at higher revolutions, it is necessary to incorporate a radiator in the oil circuit so that the working temperature remains constant and does not affect performance.

In those cases in which the oil temperature is not adequate, it will begin to lose its effectiveness because when the temperature exceeds 70 degrees the mixture becomes much less dense, while if it is lower, its density increases.

What are the Signs of a Bad Oil Pump

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We will teach you simply and easily to find out the signs of a bad oil pump. Also, know if your oil pump is working correctly or if, on the contrary, it presents any symptoms of failure or problem that hinders its operation.

In principle, detecting that the oil pump is not working properly is easy because almost all cars are usually equipped with electronic mechanisms that warn us if there is any problem with the engine’s lubrication.

To detect what are the signs of a bad oil pump, what you have to do is observe the indicator lights on the dashboard, specifically the typical symbol for engine oil.

Oil pump failures can be related to a lack of pressure, the existence of foreign particles, a deterioration of the filter, or poor installation of the pump itself.

This warning light with the oil symbol is vital for detecting problems in the pump as it informs us whether or not there is oil pressure in the lubrication circuit of our engine.

Observing the oil warning light on our car dashboard is essential to determine whether or not our oil pump is faulty:

The Pump Works Correctly if the Warning Light goes Out

When we switch on the engine oil symbol, it should come on to let us know that the warning light is working correctly. And go off after approximately 5 seconds at the latest or when we start driving to indicate that the circuit has the correct oil pressure. 

Obviously, it is not it can guarantee that the oil pump works correctly in 100% of the cases when the warning light goes out, but in most cases, it tells us that everything is fine.

The First Symptom of Pump Failure

If when we turn on the ignition, we see that the warning light comes on, but after a while, it does not go off. This could signify that the oil circuit does not have adequate pressure and the pump is not working correctly.

In this case, it is very important not to circulate with the car since we could break the engine, take your car to the workshop to have the pump, and check the lubrication system.

It may also be due to an electronic problem that keeps the warning light on for some reason other than the pump, but do not play it and do not circulate with the car.

Symptoms of Failure Based on the Color of the Oil Symbol on the Control Panel

Many vehicles this warning of the oil when it turns on can do so in several colors depending on the severity of the problem. If it lights up red it would indicate that we should stop immediately and go to the workshop.

If it lights up orange or yellow, it indicates that we can circulate with the car but with caution.

A Symptom of Serious Oil Pump Failure

Depending on the severity of the lubrication problem, if it is very serious next to the oil warning light, the engine failure warning light may come on. In these cases, the car warns us directly that it is a serious problem and that under no circumstances should we drive.

Dashboard Indicator

The indicator lights on your dashboard may be warning that something is wrong due to lubrication problems, perhaps related to oil pressure or flow rate. If the problem is more serious, the engine fault alarms may also come on.

Most cars have an indicator on the dash that lights up if there is a problem with the oil pump, such as low oil pressure. The problem may not be the oil pump, but an oil leak or the engine can burn oil.

In any case, if you add a little oil, the indicator will return to normal. However, if the indicator stays on, your car most likely has an oil pump fault or defect.

Car Overheating

An indication that you may have a problem with your pump oil will be your car overheating. When working properly, the oil pump in the car circulates oil through the engine to keep it relatively cool. 

When there is a lack of oil pressure, increased friction will cause the engine to overheat. At these times, you should always visit the oil pump as the most likely cause, although the problem may involve problems with the radiator or water circulation system.

Lifters Will Start Making Noise

When an oil pump is working properly, it is circulating enough oil for your car’s engine, and the hydraulic lifters are almost silent. However, when your car’s oil pump starts failing, the lifters will make a noise due to wear and tear.

You may also hear a hum or hum from the oil pump if it is about to fail due to wear and tear on your gears.

Leaks

The first abnormality that can be detected in the system is leaking. The loss of engine oil to the external environment can cause many problems, as this causes the vehicle to run without the necessary amount of lubricating liquid.

The first warning sign is the puddles that form under the vehicle. After detecting this problem, look for cracked or burst hoses and also check the head bushings and joints. They may be dry, letting the oil escape.

Excessive Fuel Consumption

When the car or motorcycle is consuming more than normal fuel, something is not right with the lubrication system. This means that the engine has to compensate for the higher friction in the power unit.

Assess the engine consumption and notice if there are any abnormalities. If so, this indicates that the system is missing oil.

Excessive Oil Consumption

In addition to the fuel, it is necessary to pay attention to the amount of oil being used in the vehicle. If lubricant fluid changes need to be made earlier than expected, it is a sign that there is a failure in the system.

This defect can occur due to leaks, the use of oils with the wrong viscosity level, and also due to the accumulation of residues in the lubrication circuit. Therefore, when faced with an above-average consumption of fluid, go after the causes mentioned.

Parts Wear

Another point that can indicate the lack of oil in the system is the wear on the parts. If these components are damaged, it means that there is not enough lubricating liquid, or the viscosity is incorrect.

Formation of Lees

With the movement of the car and combustion in the engine, dirt and debris can enter the sump of the lubrication system and form deposits, the famous lees. This causes moving components to not move properly and even become stuck.

This problem can be identified by looking at oil and fuel consumption. If it is out of the ordinary, there is a strong indication that the oil filter is defective and therefore, is not retaining impurities.

Variation in Oil Pressure

With a pressure gauge, it is possible to identify the pressure of the lubricating liquid. In this evaluation, you will notice 4 variations – high pressure, low pressure, fluctuating pressure, and zero pressure, which will indicate some defects.

Knowing this, the main causes of changes in pressure are as follows:

  • High Pressure: Clogged system, defective relief valve, oil with incorrect viscosity or low temperature.
  • Low Pressure: Defective pump, oil with high temperature, leaks in the fuel inlet in the system and insufficient oil.
  • Floating Pressure: Defective pressure valve, sump with an insufficient amount of lubricating liquid or clogged system.
  • Null Pressure: Defective pressure sensor, clogged fluid suction, lack of oil, and damage to the pump.

Oil Pump Replacement Cost

The cost of the piece goes from 150 dollars onwards, depending on the type of engine and car. But what makes the repair of an oil pump more expensive is the labor since it can range from 4 to 10 hours depending on where it is located and how complex it is to access it.

Whenever the pump is repaired, they change the gaskets and seals for new ones. As a minimum, the change or repair of an oil pump can cost you as a guideline from 300 to more than 700 dollars, depending on the number of hours it takes to change it.

How to Test the Oil Pump?

If you want to know what are the signs of a bad oil pump, you can take a quick test. To identify if the oil pump’s possible failure lies in a pressure problem, we recommend following these steps:

  • Check that the crankcase is in good condition. To do this, check the oil level and verify that the dipstick and the oil itself are correct.
  • Check the pressure of the engine block. This verifies that the motor is driving the pump and that its indicators are working properly.
  • Check the positioning and functions of the pump. To do this, it is necessary to check whether the pump shaft or the intermediate between the shaft and the distributor is in good condition. You should also check if the pump is correctly positioned and if all its screws are properly assembled. Finally, check the mounting surfaces for traces of oil.
  • Make sure there are no metal particles. Remove the crankcase and check that there are no metallic particles in the pump suction module.

Oil Pump Maintenance Tips

Here we have given various oil pump maintenance tips that will make sure a longer life of your car’s oil pump:

Always Use a Good Engine Oil

If you do not use good motor oil, it will be able to transport less dirt so that infinity of residues will be decanted throughout the engine. Think that the engine’s normal operation generates a multitude of residues that the oil must collect that ends up degrading the fuel pump, oil, and engine.

A good oil has better detergent and dispersant additives, so it will keep the engine and pump cleaner. Using the correct oil for your engine will decrease friction between parts and wear, so the engine’s moving parts will last longer.

Use Internal Engine Cleaner

Cleaning the lubrication circuit is essential to keep the oil-free of impurities since residues and contaminating particles are the main culprits of oil pump breakages.

Especially if you have not made the oil changes when appropriate, you have not applied a good oil; the engine has overheated, which degrades the oil and makes everything dirty, etc.

Use an Oil Leak Stopper to Condition the Plastic Parts and Seals

Oil leak stopper will recondition all the seals, gaskets, and retainers of the lubrication circuit, preventing oil losses from the oil pump and the rest of the lubrication circuit. 

Besides, lengthening the life of the seals will prevent them from breaking and detaching parts that end up obstructing the lubrication circuit.

Wear and Anti-friction to Reduce Friction Between Parts and Extend the Life of the Oil Pump

If you use a ceramic engine, you will extend the engine’s useful life, the oil pump, and the mechanical parts involved in the oil circuit. Since it reduces friction and temperature in all metal parts where there are friction and contact between moving parts.

In addition, engine ceramic and oil leak stopper do not alter any property in the oil that is applied, that is, it will not modify lubricating capacity, acidity, viscosity, etc., since the engine ceramic is applied in a synthetic oil base. 

Saturated ester is designed to adapt to any oil without modifying any oil parameter in which it is added, applying it in the specific dose, allowing us to use it without any problem in a car that has just left the factory.

How to Properly Change the Oil Pump

Next, we will provide you with some tips that are very useful and that you should take into account when changing the oil pump of your car.

Once we are ready to change the car’s oil pump, we will have to pay special attention to the following points.

  • The oil pump will need to be completely submerged in a container containing clean engine oil. We will turn the gears’ drive shaft by hand until we can check that the pump begins to expel the oil.
  • After fixing the pump to the block, we will use an electric screwdriver to help us turn the shaft in the direction of rotation of the distributor and we will verify that the oil reaches the arms of the rocker arms.
  • In those vehicles in which the pump is part of the block, the internal parts will also be lubricated.
  • Grease or other substances other than motor oil will never be used to lubricate the pump or the elements associated with it.
  • It will also be necessary to lubricate each and every part of the engine before starting it up.
  • The oil pump has to snap into position without requiring extra effort. If it does not, it is advisable to rotate the valve shaft until it engages with the pump shaft and then we will adjust it.
  • In those cases in which the pump is installed by means of a helical gear, we will control the level of wear of this since if any tooth had come loose, the pump would stop working immediately.

Finally, remind you that due to the importance of this element in the proper functioning of a car engine, the best advice we can give you when changing an oil pump is to be careful and make the change with extreme care.

Conclusion

Now you are aware of what are the signs of a bad oil pump. The proper functioning of our vehicle depends on adequate lubrication. It’s rare for an oil pump to fail, but if it does, it can cause irreparable damage to your car.       

Pump failure could occur if something large enough penetrates the pump and locks the gears or rotors. This could include metal shavings from bearings or cast parts, shavings from packing or packing, various particles. 

Foreign particles in the oil itself can obstruct the circuit from which the fluid travels. A malfunction of the oil filter or a bad installation of the same can also compromise the operation of the pump.

Different factors can cause the oil pump not to work correctly, be attentive to the signals that your car sends you to identify them. 

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