How To Increase Oil Pressure At Idle? – Quick Tips

If you have low oil pressure, you may be thinking about how to increase oil pressure at idle. You can recognize the importance of maintaining proper oil pressure but you must understand what causes low pressure of oil at idle. Various elements and components ensure that the pressure of oil is maintained correctly.

Use 10W-30 instead of 5W-20 if you are currently using 5W-20. Additionally, increased bearing clearance in the engine may partially compensate for the viscosity and larger spaces in oil. Oil pressure can increase by reheating the engine, allowing the oil pump to maintain proper oil pressure.

The problem causing low oil pressure may be leaks in the piston rings, worn ones, excessive blowby, and compromised valve seals. If the engine oil levels are low, you can temporarily stop them by adding more engine oil. Besides the lubricant problem, there might also be problems with the oil pump and the length of time the oil pump takes to reach all corners of the engine.

A gauge indicates it can find oil pressure on your car’s pressure gauge. The instrument cluster on older cars displays an actual oil pressure indicator that you can observe, and you can usually see between 50 and 60 psi. There are warning lamps on modern vehicles that flash as soon as the oil pressure drops below 5-7 psi.

In addition to broken parts, oil supply issues often lead to engine failure. An engine’s moving parts require oil to function correctly. It would be best if you had a higher oil pressure to have the same level of lubrication at higher revolutions per minute (RPMs) as at lower ones. If you’re willing to spend a little time and possess some mechanical skills, you can increase your oil pressure.

Are Oil Pressures Too Low At Idle?

Your oil pressure is essential to pay attention to while driving. If you want to know the oil pressure in your engine is normal, you should periodically look at your oil pressure gauge. Your car’s oil pressure should remain standard. Your engine will not work correctly without oil to lubricate the many moving parts and prevent damage from friction and heat.

Are Oil Pressures Too Low At Idle

Due to low oil pressure, the oil pump cannot pump oil efficiently into the engine. A low oil pressure causes this problem because the oil pump doesn’t work hard enough to pump oil into the machine.

It might sound good news that there is no longer a need for the oil pump to work hard. However, that can be a problem since you need more oil pressure when your engine is working hard.

However, what about when your car is idle, meaning it’s running but not moving? This scenario often occurs when traveling in traffic.

What Should The Oil Pressure Be At Idle?

While the car is idling, the oil pressure should usually be average because the engine is still running pretty hard even while the vehicle is idle. The oil level should not be high since the engine no longer needs to pump more oil, and neither should it be below since the engine still requires oil.

So when you drive at idle, your car should have low oil pressure, but not below average. It is still expected when the oil pressure is above 20 psi but lower than the oil pressure at work when your car accelerates. Occasionally, your engine may not get enough oil if your oil pressure drops below 20 psi.

What Causes Low Oil Pressure At Idle?

It’s always a wise move to keep track of your oil pressure. Ensure that the gauge on your automobile does not fall into the red zone beneath the indicator. When a low-pressure warning light is present in your vehicle, it should not blink or come on while driving. Pullover and stop the engine if you notice the gauge approaching the red zone or see the warning light brighten. If your oil pressure is too low, it may cause costly damage.

Low oil pressure has several causes, but why does it occur at idle?

What Causes Low Oil Pressure At Idle

Low Oil Level

In addition to a low oil level, too little oil can also cause low oil pressure. Oil pumps do not have anything to work with when the engine has low oil levels. Low oil levels can cause low oil pressure at idle and during high-speed turns because the oil in the sump flows away from the pick-up tube.

It should take the correct action right away if the oil level is low. Among its possible causes are leaks, grooved rings, excessive blowby, and lousy valve seals. Add engine oil until the level is correct to fix the low oil issue temporarily.

Poor Car Maintenance

A dirty engine can result from poor maintenance or not following the manufacturer’s recommendations. The oil also tends to lose properties and abilities such as protecting the engine, cleaning it, and maintaining temperature and viscosity.

You may experience low oil pressure when the engine is idle, and you may also notice a flashing low oil pressure warning light if you need to change your oil immediately.

If your engine oil is not changed regularly, the old, contaminated lubricant can clog up the engine, preventing the pistons from moving smoothly and the engine components from functioning correctly. You can also develop engine sludge.

Make sure you don’t handle engine sludge. Drivers spend hundreds of dollars on repairs due to this problem, and sludge can build up in engines due to oil breakdown and accumulation. You can avoid spending a lot of money on repairs by changing your oil regularly.

Worn Out Oil Pump

Keeping the engine lubricated is the responsibility of the oil pump, which is in charge of pumping oil into the engine’s oil passages. A failing oil pump prevents the engine from maintaining the proper pressure and lubricating. It is also possible for a worn-out oil pump to cause oil pressure in the pump to drop, causing low oil pressure readings when the engine is idle.

Your oil pump can become faulty when the oil indicator flashes, and you will need to inspect it for low oil pressure to diagnose it. The temporary solution is to use higher viscosity engine oil. However, if you are serious about fixing the problem, you’ll need a new oil pump.

Faulty Pressure Gauge

A faulty pressure gauge can sometimes cause a low oil pressure at idle, particularly after an oil change. Make sure your gauge is functioning correctly. If a faulty pressure gauge causes the low oil pressure reading, you will need to replace the pressure gauge.

Faulty Pressure Gauge

When you have an electrical gauge on your vehicle, you have to check if the gauge is functioning properly. You can measure the actual oil pressure using an oil pressure gauge. Even if your oil pressure is good, you may have an electrical problem that’s causing your meter readings to be inaccurate. An oil pressure sensor that fails may be one of the possible causes.

If you suspect that the engine oil pressure sensor could be the source of the problem, you can use a digital multimeter to check it while the engine is running. It would be best to verify the tool’s pressure after the engine had started. A short circuit or an open circuit can also cause an incorrect reading.

Engine Has Worn Out

Oil circulating through oil passages makes small spaces between wear surfaces more pronounced as the engine wears out. Therefore, bearing clearances will be smaller. Due to this, the oil pumps can no longer maintain constant pressure.

The oil is circulated through the pump’s impellers when the engine turns it. Engines that idle slowly pump fewer fluids because their impellers move slowly, resulting in low oil pressure. The pressure channels will not have enough juice pushed through them as the engine wears.

A pressure gauge is useful for diagnosing the problem. Reduced oil pressure at idle means that wear has occurred to the engine. You can fix the problem by using oil with a high viscosity. Use 10W-30 if you are currently using 5W-20. In engines with larger spaces and greater bearing clearance, a slightly increased oil viscosity can compensate. If the oil pressure rises, the pump should maintain the correct pressure again, and the oil pressure should return to normal.

Using Oil With The Wrong Viscosity

In addition to using the wrong oil type, low oil pressure might result from using oil with the wrong viscosity for your car. Modern engines use multigrade engine oils because temperatures fluctuate and can change based on the season, and it has the advantage of flowing thin during cold weather.

When temperatures rise in spring and summer, the layer will thicken. So the lubricating properties remain constant whatever the season.

Lubricants with low viscosity can be beneficial during cold-start conditions, but grease with a high density in summer can cause problems. During hot temperatures, it can thin out, which can cause issues such as low oil pressure.

If you want to find the best oil for your vehicle, your best bet is finding your car’s owner’s manual. The oil viscosity needs to be changed if you experience low oil pressure after the oil change if the recommended blend for your vehicle is not available.

The oil blends for some vehicles will vary depending on the season. You should change your oil before the season changes so that you don’t experience low oil pressure warnings.

Oil pressure can drop at idle for a variety of reasons. It’s still good to monitor your engine oil and change it according to the regular schedule, regardless of low-pressure readings. Lubricating your engine and its parts depend on the oil. You should check your oil pressure right away if you notice that it is low to avoid a serious problem.

Get to know: What Happens When You Put The Wrong Engine Oil in Your Car

How To Increase Oil Pressure At Idle

Step 1:

Prepare the car:

  1. Apply the parking brake and open the hood.
  2. Put the jack stands under the chassis and raise the vehicle on its jacks by removing the jack stands.
  3. Install the stands under the car.

Step 2:

Drain the Oil: It is necessary to lay a catch pan under the drain plug and remove it using a wrench. Afterward, the oil will be allowed to drain into the catch pan. Remove the oil filter by placing the catch pan under it and removing the filter. Empty the catch pan of oil.

Apply some old oil to the rubber gasket inside the oil filter and push the rubber ring down on the mounting pad. The rubber gasket should touch the place, after which it will tighten three-quarters of the way by hand. Take off the catch pan. Observe best practices for disposing of waste oil and filters (most communities dispose of their waste in a designated area).

Step 3:

Loosen the Oil Pan: Take a socket and loosen the bolts along the oil pan perimeter. To remove, pull it up. Remove the oil pan and clean the area around it. Take out the oil pump. Using a wrench, remove the bolt that holds the oil pump, and remove the oil pump from its mounting bracket.

Step 4:

Replacing the Oil Pump:

  1. Replace the retaining bolt and mounting pad with the new high-pressure oil pump.
  2. Make sure the bolt is tight. You can remove the oil pick-up by removing the retaining bolt from the old oil pump.
  3. Reinstall the oil pump after removing the pick-up.
  4. Take out the old oil pump and tighten it with a wrench.

Step 5:

Oil Pan Replacement:

  1. By scraping the old gasket off, you can remove it from the pan. You should set the new gasket on the pan after it is clean.
  2. At the edges of the pan, apply a thin layer of sealant. The gasket should become tacky after a few minutes.
  3. By hand, reinstall the bolts and finger-tighten the oil pan and the engine block.
  4. Make all bolts finger-tight, then secure with a socket wrench.

Step 6:

Add the Oil:

  1. Using the jack, remove the stands and raise the car.
  2. Let it descend gently, and then remove the jack.
  3. Using the oil fill hole on top of the engine, add new oil to the engine.
  4. Let the engine run to make sure no oil is leaking.

After the engine shuts off, close the hood.

People Also Ask

How Do I Raise My Oil Pressure?

In this situation, the easiest way to increase your oil pressure would be to use an oil with a higher viscosity, such as 10W-30 instead of 5W-20. This clearance reduction will compensate by adjusting the oil’s viscosity restoring normal oil pressure.

What Causes Low Oil Pressure at Idle?

The cause of low oil pressure at idle can be due to several things, including low oil levels, damaged oil pumps, poor oil quality, or the wrong oil type for the weather or engine type. You may experience low oil pressure on idle due to these factors.

What Should Idle Oil Pressure Be?

Oil pressure at idle should typically range from 20 to 30 psi while not falling below 20 psi. Therefore, there is a slight drop in oil pressure, but not too much.

What Oil Pressure Is Too Low?

Low pressure refers to anything below 20 psi. The engine will not be lubricated if there is insufficient oil pressure. The heat generated by friction can cause damage to an engine because the parts can’t move freely.


Even though low oil pressure may not sound like a significant issue, this is important to pay attention to. You can also prevent oil pump pressure from building up by preventing dirt and debris from entering.

Low oil pressure appears in several ways. Identifying it is as simple as being cautious. Once you have determined which problem results in low oil pressure, you can use a DIY solution to address it. Alternatively, you may need to take the car to the mechanic if the problems worsen. You can also ask your mechanic how to increase oil pressure at idle. They’ll also be able to  provide you with a solution for your specific situation.