What Are the Causes of High Oil Pressure and How to Fix It?

Every car owner should know that the performance and longevity of the car depend on the balance. Balance in the engine enables the owners to drive their cars smoothly. However, any changes in oil pressure can disbalance the engine. Thus, the disruption in oil pressure can even lead to engine failure.

Oil pressure lubricates the vital parts, such as the balance shaft and camshaft bearings. These parts produce friction, which makes the engine overheat. Check for the oil gauge in your dashboard. If the reading is high, then you must find the problem to repair it. Therefore, it is obvious that oil pressure plays a significant role in making balance.

What Is Meant by High Oil Pressure?

High oil pressure takes place when the required pressure of pumping the oil through the engine is excessive. Most of the cars have a pressure gauge, which determines the amount of oil pressure. The oil pressure depends on the configuration of the vehicle’s engine. However, when the oil pressure goes higher than expected, then it is called high oil pressure.

For most of the vehicles, the normal oil pressure is 25psi-60psi. The oil pressure exceeds when it goes more than 80psi. Therefore, whenever the oil pressure exceeds, it means there is a critical problem that should be fixed immediately.

How Does Viscosity and Oil Channels Impact Oil Pressures?

Make sure that the oil can flow freely through the vital components of the engine. It indicates that the parts are getting proper lubrication. Low oil pressure is a good indication to some extent. But high oil pressure is one of the most damaging issues of an engine. Thus, you must be aware of your car’s wellbeing when the pressure is high.

Low Viscosity Oils and Wide Oil Channels

Oil pressure indicates the resistance of flow. If your car has wide oil channels, then using low viscosity oils will make it flow faster. It will ensure that the vital parts of the engine are getting lubricated appropriately. Therefore, it reduces engine wear, which leads to a healthy balance of the engine.

High Viscosity Oils and Narrow Oil Channels

Similarly, oil with high viscosity and smaller oil channels will impact negatively on your car’s engine. If oil doesn’t reach the vital parts of the engine, then it will be damaged by friction. In some cases, the oil comes back to the pump after flowing through the valve. Hence, the moving parts of the engine will not receive oil in this way. Thus, the engine will be damaged.

What Are the Causes Of High Oil Pressure?

1. Blocked Oil Passage

The blocked passage is one of the biggest reasons behind the high oil pressure. The longer the blockage persists, the risk of high oil pressure becomes higher. Leakage in the car assembly is another symptom of blocked passage. Lifter tap is another name of this leakage.

Accumulation of Carbon Deposits

As a result of fuel combustion, carbon deposits accumulate in the oil passages. The texture of the oil becomes thick when the carbon deposits merge into the oil. It’s called debris, which leads to bearing failure if it remains in the oil passages.  Therefore, cleaning the debris from all the passages is very important.

Expensive and Difficult to Clean Blocked Oil Passages

It’s very expensive and difficult to clean the blocked oil passages. Distinctive tools and techniques are required to do that. This can be difficult for you unless you are a professional mechanic. You will have to make sure that all the debris from the passages has been removed. Therefore, the entire lubrication system needs to be cleaned from top to bottom.

Those passages include the orifice dowels, colling jets, hoses, and plugs. Additional equipment is also a significant part that needs cleaning during this procedure. There are professional brushes alongside a petroleum core cleaning compound to clean the oil passages. Thus, we can see how difficult it is to clean the blocked oil passage.

2. Dusty Oil Filter

Engine oil gets purified by the oil filters before lubricating all the parts. Oil filter plays a significant role in cleaning the engine oil by filtering out the pollutants. The oil filter gets dirty over time since dust and other particles remain in the oil filter. During this situation, the flow of the engine oil becomes slower. Thus, it gets overheated all over the engine. Therefore, the oil pressure will arise when the temperature is higher than expected.

Signs That You Need an Oil Filter Change

Below are the signs from which you can understand when to change the oil filter.

  • Disruption in Car’s Performance: You know your car better than anyone else. There will be disruption in your car’s performance whenever the filter gets dirty. If your vehicle is taking longer than usual to accelerate, then some serious issues must be there. A dirty oil filter can also reduce the acceleration of the vehicle.
  • Sputtering: When the engine produces some soft explosive sounds, it is called sputtering. The reason behind the sound can be a fault, or it can be due to the overheating of the engine. In both cases, It occurs when there is inadequate oil in the engine. It prevents the car from picking up the acceleration. Though the symptom can be avoided at first, it will gradually become worse. Changing the oil filter can be a solution to this issue.
  • Low Oil in the System: Inadequate oil in the system can also produce metallic sounds. If the metallic components don’t get proper lubrication, then they start rubbing against one another. It is obvious that less oil produces more friction. If you hear any noise while driving, therefore you must fix the problem immediately. Thus, changing the oil filter can be a solution to this problem.
  • Emission of Sooty and Black Exhaust from the Exhaust Pipe: Emission of sooty and black exhaust from the exhaust pipe is another indication. The burning oil and distinctive smell pass through the exhaust pipe. It indicates that the car needs a proper check-up. Hire a professional mechanic to change the filter and wipe out the clogs residing within the oil passages.

There are many reusable filters available that are made of stainless steel particles. Alternatively, you can use these filters for a better experience. These filters can be cleaned during the oil change, or whenever required. All the high-performance cars have these filters to filter out finer elements.

3. Temperature Of The Engine

Engine temperature is one of the biggest reasons behind the high oil pressure. The oil pressure increases while starting the engine and changing gears. The temperature will gradually be increased once you start the engine. Simultaneously, the oil becomes warm, which makes it flow faster through the system. However, the temperature won’t stop increasing until it goes up to an optimal level.

The exact opposite will happen when the engine has been turned off. By turning off the engine, gradually, the oil and the engine will cool down simultaneously.

4. Quality Of The Oil

The oil quality you use for your car’s engine also has an effect on the oil pressure. Engine oil should be thin and lightweight in order to flow easily through the engine. Thus, it is the ideal oil for your car. Thicker oils need more pressure than the thinner ones.

Look for any changes in oil pressure after shifting to a new oil brand. If you see a reduction in oil pressure, then it means the previous one was too thick.

Steps to Choose Appropriate Engine Oil

There are some simple steps to choose the engine oil appropriately.

  • Find the Oil Weight for Your Vehicle: Firstly, read the owner’s manual to find out the oil weight for your vehicle. There will be a suggestion for the ideal oil weight of your car. The next step is to alter the oil weight according to the environment. Additionally, you can follow the standards given by the American Petroleum Institute. Engine oil that has been tested and certified by this institute is more preferable than any other oil.
  • Choose Between Two Types of Motor Oil: You can choose between two types of motor oil, one is standard, and the other one is synthetic. Each of the oils has different viscosity. All the reputed companies produce SL (service level) oils. The 10W-30 oil is formulated for higher temperatures. On the other hand, 5W-20 oil is designed for lower temperatures.
  • Choose Synthetic Oils for High-Performance Engines: The engines which are high in performance require full synthetic oils. This oil is also well known for being long-lasting. Additionally, these oils have better flow during cold weather, and it also protects the engine from deposits. Therefore, these oils come at the top of the list when it comes to providing proper lubrication.

5. Oil Sending Unit Malfunction

The oil sending unit is the controller of the pressure gauge in the car’s dashboard. It will be responsible for the incorrect pressure readings if there is any defect. This should be either replaced or repaired; otherwise, it will cause false warning signs. Whenever the oil level is low, the light on your car’s dashboard will be blinking. Moreover, there will be a tension of engine failure due to the low oil levels.

Before moving on to the oil sending unit, check for the oil levels manually. A scan tool, a digital multimeter, and a mechanical pressure gauge are required to troubleshoot the unit. Turn on the multimeter to the resistance range while using it. If the unit is regulating properly, then the reading on the multimeter should be 240 Ohms. Getting a different reading means that inaccurate readings are caused by the unit.

6. Problems With The Relief Valve

The relief valve is responsible for protecting the vessels and the piping. It protects those components from getting harmed by high oil pressure. Since it regulates the oil pressure, it plays a significant role in the combustion engine. A problem in the relief valve occurs when the oil pressure is unable to reach the optimal level.


To fix this problem, you need to remove and clean the valve before reinstalling it. The oil pressure would become normal if the relief valve were responsible for it.

7. Switching To A Different Oil Grade

It’s not a good idea to change the oil grade often to check which one is better. Every oil grade is designed to fulfill the requirements of distinct engine types. Each of them has different viscosity. Thus, it is advisable to buy an oil grade that is made for your car. Therefore, it will be better if you consult an expert about it. Alternatively, you can read the owner’s manual to know about the suggested oil grade for your car.

Factors to Consider When Switching to Different Oil Grade

When it comes to oil viscosity suggestions, many factors come into play. The main aspect which you should consider before choosing the oil viscosity is the oil’s flowing ability. Filling the gaps between those aforementioned parts adequately is also a factor to consider. However, thinner oils have the ability to flow freely while filling the spaces. On the other hand, thicker oils are manufactured to fill the bigger spaces of parts.

Nowadays, the vehicles aren’t designed to have bigger spaces inside the engine. Many problems arise when thicker oil is added into an engine that lacks the wider spaces to adjust it. In this case, the oil flow volume and the oil pressure both get affected.

Thick oil always increases oil pressure. It’s not considered to be a good thing if this occurs at the expense of oil flow volume. The existence of thicker oil also creates a domino effect. Firstly, the pump doubles its effect to pump the thicker oil. Therefore, it increases the oil pressure and decreases the oil volume.

How Important Is The Replacement Of Engine Oil?

Many engine-related problems occur due to a lack of maintenance in the lubrication system. Changing the engine oil periodically is a must. Engine oil becomes thick over time and loses its viscosity. This can lead to low oil pressure. On the other hand, high pressure occurs if the oil thickens due to low temperature. However, a metal rubbing against metal can also be a cause of thickening the oil. The oil filters can even get clogged due to the residues that accumulate as a result of the same.

Observe Significant Increase or Decrease in Oil Pressures

Therefore, it is very important to observe any significant decrease or increase in oil pressure. Any changes in oil pressure can lead to engine failure. Thus, it needs to be fixed immediately. Additionally, make sure that the oil is flowing freely to lubricate the aforementioned parts. Henceforth, buying premium oils that are certified by the American Petroleum Institute is strongly recommended.