Reasons for Low Oil Pressure at Idle

The flickering oil indicator light in your speedometer is a clear sign of something being wrong with your car. Here are some things you might want to check, to see if all is well with your precious car.
WheelZine Staff
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
Each indicator on your car's dials has a very specific, and rather important role to play. The flashing of the low oil indicator, is one such sign which you definitely don't want to overlook.
All cars tend to lose some oil pressure over time, depending on their mileage. However, ideally the oil pressure should never go too low. The flashing low oil indicator is a clear sign that not all is well under the hood. If ignored, further (ab)use of your car could seriously harm your vehicle, and you would eventually be picking up your engine parts scattered along the highway, hoping and praying that your AAA subscription hasn't expired!
The main function of the oil in the car is to keep the various parts of the engine well-lubricated to ensure smooth running, and also to help keep the engine cool at all times. This engine oil is, in fact, the elixir which ensures that your car's engine remains healthy and runs smoothly always.
Causes of Low Oil Pressure
Each of these causes point to a different part of the car, which need to be looked into seriously. Reading the signs of your car is no real science, and spotting the problem and addressing it at the earliest would make all the difference between having to pay a few dollars, and paying top dollar to keep your car running!
Low Oil Level
The most obvious reason for the low oil indicator to come on, is the oil level in the engine actually being low. The first course of action would be to check the oil level in the engine. If the level is indeed low, you could top up the oil, and hear your car purr with joy!
Quality of Oil
If the engine oil is not changed regularly, the dirty oil tends to clog up the engine, and in turn hampers the smooth movement of the pistons and the other components. This could cause some serious wearing out of the engine, and the flashing oil pressure light could be pointing towards this. Regular engine oil change should keep your car running smoothly.
Overheating of Engine Oil
If you have been revving the engine a lot (trying your hand out at the stunts from the Fast and Furious!), or just love the smell of burnt rubber as your car zips down the road, you might want to keep your speed in check, as you could be doing some serious damage to your engine. The low oil indicator also tends to light up when the oil gets heated up, and affects the functioning of the engine adversely.
Worn Out Oil Pump
The oil pump is an extremely important part of the car, which ensures that oil is pumped into the engine compartment, depending on the need, to make sure that the engine is always well-lubricated. If this pump doesn't pump in enough oil to keep the engine running, the consequences can be real disastrous. The engine would heat up, and the components could get worn out without adequate lubrication. The flashing oil indicator could also imply that the oil pump is faulty. To fix this you should promptly get the pump repaired, or replaced by a car technician.
Faulty Pressure Gauge
Sometimes the oil pressure gauge itself can be at fault. If you find that the gauge shows low pressure after oil change as well, then you can be certain that there is something wrong with the oil pressure reader itself. Replacing the oil pressure gauge should solve the problem. Most mechanics also recommend that you use a heavier oil in your vehicle, in order to prevent it from flowing around easily, and thus maintain the correct oil pressure at all times.
The engine works at extremely high temperatures as the fuel combusts to generate the power that propel the vehicle forward. The engine oil makes sure that the engine and the other parts are always well-lubricated, and function smoothly. A car might be a machine, but if you take good care of 'her', she will serve you well, and for longer. Always make it a point to investigate the cause of any warning lights that appear on the speedometer display, as this is your car's way of telling you that she isn't keeping too well.