Oil pump is one of the most vital devices that keep your car running. Often, its maintenance is ignored, as a result of which, replacement becomes an emergency. If not replaced in time, it can cause major damage to your car engine.
The whole engine assembly system consists of a host of parts moving at very high speeds, which includes the pistons, rocker arms, valves and flywheel. The amount of heat generated is phenomenal and could easily melt everything, if it wasn't for the lubrication mechanism, provided by a combination of oil pan, oil pump, oil delivery channels in the engine and of course oil itself. All the metal contact points in the engine, where friction may occur, are supplied with lubrication fluid to reduce heat and prolong the life of the engine. This makes the pump a vital part of the whole engine assembly and if it's not working, it needs to be replaced immediately.
There is an oil level pressure indicator provided on the car dashboard and if it's low, fill up oil immediately and get the lubrication assembly, including the pump checked. If you choose to ignore it, then be prepared to bear the replacement cost, as well as an engine repair.
Oil Pump Replacement Procedure
In all cars, oil pump is located inside the oil pan, under the engine bottom. To remove and replace the pump, all oil from the pan must be drained. This enables access to the pump, which can be then replaced. To access the oil pan itself, a lot of other components like alternator bracket, timing belt, pulley, needs to be temporarily removed. The oil cooler line must be disconnected and finally the filter assembly must be unbolted. This actually exposes the pump, which can then be replaced by a new one. Many specialized tools are required to get the job done. The whole procedure is not that simple and it's best left to a car mechanic.
There are two main types of oil pumps widely used in different car models. They are:
- Gear Type Pump: This type uses two gears, which mesh into each other. Rotating gear teeth are used to draw oil in and out with forced pressure.
- Rotor Type Pump: This type has rotors instead of gears, which help in producing the pressure which delivers oil to the engine.
Replacement Cost Estimate
The major expense, other than labor involved in the total cost is the price of a new pump and other spare parts. The price varies, depending on the type, quality, car and brand. This car part can cost anything between $100 to more than $300. Other car parts like the pan gasket, pump gasket and oil filter also need to be replaced, which leads to an increase in the overall cost. Add to that, a labor cost of $200 to $400, as there is a considerable amount of work involved in the replacement of the pump. So the total cost can range from $300 to $1000. The large price variation is mostly due to the difference in price of car parts, according to car model. Labor charged may cost anywhere between $60 to $90 per hour.
Car repairs can cost a lot if you do not have a regular car maintenance regimen. The most accurate estimate can only be provided by your local car mechanic, which will be somewhere within the $300 to $1000 price range, mentioned above.