Oil Pressure Light

Tiny
DAVEMIK1
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 DODGE STRATUS
  • 6 CYL
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 100,300 MILES
I have a 2001 Dodge Stratus. Has 102,000 miles on it. After the engine is warm, the oil pressure light comes on when my foot is off the throttle, no matter what gear it is in. As soon as I step on the throttle the oil lamp light goes off. Why is this happening? How do I fix this?
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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 3:07 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The oil pressure is low. Start by having the actual pressure checked with a mechanical pressure gauge. If that reads normal, replace the pressure sending unit. If the pressure really is low, suspect worn engine bearings. Sometimes they can be replaced before damage occurs to the crankshaft but once the crankshaft is scored or scratched, that's a big repair.
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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 5:35 PM
Tiny
DAVEMIK1
  • MEMBER
Thank you. Any estiamtion on the cost to replace the engine bearings?
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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 5:49 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
A guesstimate would be possibly close to $500.00. I did that many years ago to my very high-mileage Grand Caravan in an attempt to solve a different problem. Taking my good-natured time it took about four hours. In addition, your car has a brace running under the engine that has to be removed so that will take a little longer.
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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 6:12 PM
Tiny
DAVEMIK1
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the information. I appreciate it.
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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 AT 6:18 PM
Tiny
DAVEMIK1
  • MEMBER
Would you know why the oil pressure lamp goes off when I step on the gas?
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Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 AT 3:45 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Oil volume goes up at higher engine speeds. When engine bearings are worn, the oil leaks out past them faster than intended so pressure goes down. The size of that leak stays constant so a higher volume of oil being pumped overcomes that controlled leakage.

Think of cutting off your finger! Blood rushes out so your blood pressure goes down. If the doctor pumps in blood from a transfusion, your blood pressure goes back up. This is comparable to the normal, controlled oil leaking from the internal engine bearings. (That oil sprays around onto other things to lubricate them). The oil pump in your engine is pumping in the needed oil to get the pressure back up.

Now, heaven forbid, you cut off a second finger! That means blood loss is greater and pressure goes down again. The doctor has to speed up the machine so it pumps in new blood faster. That's what gets the pressure back up to normal. In the engine, raising speed makes the oil pump run faster and pumps more volume of oil so the pressure goes back up.

One thing you'll notice from my story is there are TWO things that can cause low oil pressure at low engine speeds. I mentioned the worn engine bearings that let oil leak out too fast because that is the most common cause, but a weak oil pump can cause the same symptoms. That is much less common. There are aftermarket "high-volume" oil pumps made for some engines but they are intended for high performance or racing applications. They are not meant to overcome the effects of worn bearings. In fact, once the wear has started to take place with the bearings, it will continue in spite of the extra oil. Eventually the hammering action from metal parts banging against each other will destroy them resulting in a much bigger repair bill. So, the higher output oil pump only solves the problem for the short term. It isn't a permanent fix.
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Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 AT 5:01 PM
Tiny
DAVEMIK1
  • MEMBER
Thank you so much. I appreciate the time you spent on your explanation and all the good information. Thanks again.
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Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 AT 5:58 PM

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