Car engine maintenance includes ensuring that there is no chance for low engine oil. In fact, ensuring that there is sufficient oil level is the most basic type of maintenance.
However, there are occasions when you find that you have insufficient oil even after undertaking oil change service a few months back. Could there be something that is causing engine oil leak?
In such cases you will need to find out the symptoms of low engine oil. Additionally, if you’re going to get a refill, avoid overfilling the oil tank.
Signs of low engine oil.
There are functions of oil in the car engine that enable engine performance and prevent engine damage. For example, Lubrication. Therefore, low engine oil will deprive the engine off these essentials hence leading to these symptoms.
a]. Engine overheating.
There are a lot of reasons for an overheated engine. Low engine oil is one of them. In case you notice that your engine is overheating, the best thing you can do is to slow down and stop immediately. This will help you to avoid car engine damage that is beyond repair.
You may be wondering how oil fits into the engine cooling system components. The oil prevents friction from occurring within the moving engine parts. Therefore, if there is low oil, there will be an increase in friction.
b]. Reduced fuel efficiency.
Oil is an essential component that helps to maximize the way your engine uses fuel. It does so by cleaning the particles that accumulate within the engine parts. Hence allowing the engine parts to operate normally without hinderance.
However, when there is low oil, the engine parts will struggle to move because they’re grinding against each other. Further, the dirt particles will accumulate within the engine and it will be clogged.
c]. Engine rust and corrosion.
This is a long term effect of using the engine when it has insufficient oil. Because the oil is responsible for lubrication, it also protects the parts of the engine. Oil forms a layer around the engine parts which protects them from harmful elements like acids and the effects of oxygen and moisture. If there isn’t sufficient oil, these elements will interact with the engine parts and cause rust which will corrode your engine.
d]. Oil pressure warning light.
This is the quickest way to know when your vehicle is running low on oil. The onboard computer will coordinate with the sensor in order to determine whether the oil level is low. Afterwards, a warning light will show up on your dashboard. Do not ignore this warning because it could save your engine.
e]. Burning smell.
The oil could be leaking onto hot parts of the engine. If you happen to smell a stuffy odor, stop the vehicle and turn off the engine. Investigate the smell because the oil that is leaking could cause poor fuel economy. In a case whereby the oil is leaking into the combustion chamber.
Ensure that the engine is cooled completely before you can remove the dipstick to check oil levels. Check the maximum and minimum level marks on the dipstick to find out the amount of oil that is in the engine. And if there is an oil leak, investigate further as to what is causing the leak.
f]. Clunking and grinding noises.
Oil viscosity allows it to flow to every part of the engine in order for lubrication purposes. Insufficient oil will prevent the parts of the engine from receiving sufficient lubrication. Therefore, they will start making noises as they grind against each other.
Which may cause some of them to brake and make even louder noises. This is a sign that the engine has undergone extensive damage and it’s about to fail.
g]. Engine stalling.
Some manufacturers use fail safe technology in order to prevent damage to the engine. Therefore, if you’re driving such a vehicle without sufficient oil, the engine will shut down automatically.
Symptoms of Low Engine Oil Pressure.
If you are suspicious that there is low engine oil pressure, there are some symptoms that you will observe. These are similar to the symptoms of low engine oil level. Therefore, we will just list them down without a lot of corrections.
- Oil warning light.
- Reduced engine performance.
- Burning oil smell.
- Engine grinding and clunking noises.
- Overheating engine.
- Engine failure or stalling.
Reasons for low engine oil pressure.
The oil system is pressurized to give lubrication to the moving engine parts. It does so by forming a thin layer of film around the moving parts. Therefore, low pressure will inhibit the formation of this layer and it may lead to engine wear.
Some of the reasons for low engine oil pressure are inclusive of the following;
a]. Insufficient oil.
The engine oil consumption rate depends on whether there is a leakage or on the condition of the oil filter. Whereby, the oil cleans the engine up and takes the particles to the filter for removal. Afterwards, the oil goes back into the engine for lubrication, protection and cleaning.
Another cause for insufficient oil is whereby there are worn out piston rings and the oil evaporates. Further, if you use the wrong oil in the car engine there will be symptoms of insufficient oil because the engine is designed to use a specific type of oil.
An old engine will have a higher oil consumption rate. Therefore, oil manufacturers came up with oil that is specific for engines that have a larger mileage.
b]. Extreme oil viscosity.
What we mean by extreme oil viscosity is either the oil additives make the oil to have too high viscosity or too low viscosity. The engine’s oil pressure sensor will classify such oil as having insufficient pressure.
Low oil viscosity generates less resistance of flow through the system from the pump. Therefore, the pressure gauge or sensor translates this into low engine oil pressure.
When the oil viscosity is too high, the oil may have a greater resistance at the pump. Therefore, it will cause a minimum lubrication and this will register as low pressure.
c]. Apparent low pressure.
Oil viscosity is an important consideration because of the cold engine starts. Especially in occasions of winter whereby the pressure gauge will read that the system lubrication is low. Because the cold temperatures will cause resistance to oil flow. This will shift after the engine starts and warms up.
d]. Engine wear.
When the engine has very high mileage, the oil gauge will keep fluctuating between full and empty. This is the case if you overfill engine oil during oil change or top-up. Engine wear changes the normal oil flow through out the engine. Therefore, causing low oil pressure.
e]. Faulty oil pressure gauge.
The oil pressure warning light may show up and yet there are no symptoms of oil leakage, the is engine working fine and there is sufficient oil. This is an indication that the oil pressure sensor is faulty.
f]. Defective oil pump.
If there is sufficient oil and the engine is displaying symptoms of struggling and its emitting noises, the oil pump could be faulty. It is advisable for you not to keep driving while the engine is under this condition. Because the engine will not be receiving lubrication therefore it could malfunction.
g]. Clogged filter.
The oil filter cleans oil before it is pumped back into the engine moving parts to lubricate, protect and clean. Therefore, it is an essential part of the engine’s lubrication system. Clogged filter will expel oil that is unclean.
Therefore, the oil pump will be unable to exert the necessary pressure to spread the oil around the engine block. Oil filters become clogged because of using oil for too long.