Low Oil Pressure at Idle: What Possible Causes and How To Fix?

There are a few different things that can cause low oil pressure at idle. One of the most common causes is when there’s not enough oil in the system. This could be due to a leak, or it could simply mean that you need to top off your oil levels.

Oil pressure low when idling can also be caused by a clogged filter, worn-out oil sending switches, worn-out seals, high oil temperature, or a bad oil pump.

This is a common issue in any car. When your engine isn’t under a lot of loads, the oil pump may not be able to push enough oil through the system to keep everything lubricated. This can lead to all sorts of problems, including damage to your engine.

What Oil Pressure Is Too Low at Idle?

When the oil pressure is under 20 psi, it means that something is wrong with your car. Many different things can cause this problem, but almost all of them are bad news for your engine.

It could mean you need a new pump or even an entirely new motor if there’s significant damage already done. Besides, low oil pressure also means that your engine is not getting enough lubrication, and it may eventually start wearing out prematurely due to this neglect.

What Causes Low Oil Pressure At Idle?

When you get low oil pressure at idle, it could be due to the below factors:

  • Low oil level
  • Poor quality oil or the wrong type of oil
  • A faulty oil pressure gauge
  • Worn out oil pump
  • Worn out oil sending switches
  • Clogged oil filter
  • Oil leaks
  • High oil temperature

What Should Oil Pressure Be at Idle?

The ideal oil pressure at idle should be between 20 and 30 psi. If your car has an oil pressure gauge, you will see the needle move around as the engine is running. Low oil pressure can indicate that there’s a problem with either your engine or its lubrication system.

It’s important to note that many modern cars don’t have an oil pressure gauge. If your car doesn’t have one, you can usually find the oil pressure readings in the owner’s manual or on a sticker inside the engine bay.

How To Fix Low Oil Pressure at Idle?

There are a few things you can do to try and increase idle oil pressure.

1. Add more oil

Check your oil levels and add more oil to the system if needed. You can either add it directly to the engine or pour it into the crankcase. If you have an oil pressure gauge, you can see if the pressure goes up after adding more oil.

Watch video to check and add your engine oil

You can buy more oil below:

Mobil 1 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil

Mobil 1 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil

2. Clean or replace oil filter

A clogged filter may cause low oil pressure, you can try cleaning or replacing the best oil filter. This may fix the problem, but it’s not a permanent solution.

How to clean the oil filter?

Step 1: Remove the old filter and dispose of it properly.
Step 2: Wash the filter housing with hot soapy water to remove debris or oil.
Step 3: Rinse the housing thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.
Step 4: Apply a light coat of oil to the new filter before installing it.

How to change your oil filter

3. Check and replace worn-out seals and worn-out oil sending switches

If worn-out seals cause low oil pressure, you can try replacing the seals. This is a more expensive fix, but it may be worth it in the long run.

How to replace the seals?

Step 1: Remove the old seals from your engine and dispose of them properly.
Step 2: Replace with new oil seals, ensuring that they’re in the correct positions for maximum efficiency. Be careful not to damage any gaskets or other parts while removing/installing new ones! If you damage something during installation, it’s best to take it out again before bolting everything down, so there’s no risk of leaking.
Step 3: Make sure all bolts and nuts are tight.

This is the way I replace the seal

4. Check and replace the oil pump if needed

If a bad oil pump causes low oil pressure, you will need to replace the pump. This is a more expensive and time-consuming fix, but it’s often necessary if there’s no other way to fix the problem.

How to replace the oil pump?

Step 1: Disconnect the negative battery cable and remove the engine cover.
Step 2: Locate the oil pump and remove all bolts/nuts that are holding it in place.
Step 3: Remove the old oil pump and replace it with a new one. Ensure to follow the correct installation procedures, so you don’t damage anything else while installing!

Replace the oil pump

Read more: 10 Common Problems After Changing Fuel Pump (Must Know)

Can I still drive with low oil pressure?

It’s not recommended to drive with low oil pressure, as it can damage your engine. If you must, try to keep the revs up as high as possible so that the oil is flowing better.

How much does it cost to fix low oil pressure?

The cost of fixing low oil pressure when idling depends on the cause and how much work needs to be done. If you have an oil leak, it might only cost a few hundred dollars for labor but thousands if there’s damage to other parts like bearings or pistons.

A clogged filter could run anywhere from $50–$200 while replacing seals can be anywhere from $100–$500. Replacing an oil pump is the most expensive option and usually costs around $1000.


What causes low oil pressure when hot?

A lack of coolant in the system can cause low oil pressure when hot. The engine needs to be cooled down before operating safely without overheating and causing damage to itself or other parts of your vehicle.
As mentioned above, this issue can also happen from driving at high speeds for long periods, which will cause heat buildup inside the engine compartment. Moreover, too much water in your radiator fluid or low coolant levels also cause low oil pressure when hot.

Is oil pressure supposed to drop at idle?

Yes, oil pressure is supposed to drop at idle. This is because the engine needs less lubrication when it’s running fast than sitting still and doing nothing (or almost nothing). Low Oil Pressure At Idle It may also happen due to clogged filters or worn-out seals, so check those too!

Low oil pressure at idle when hot chevy 350?

Low oil pressure at idle when hot is a common issue with Chevy 350 engines. The most likely causes are either lack of coolant or a bad oil pump. If you’re experiencing this problem, try checking both your coolant and oil levels and see if there’s anything wrong. If everything looks normal, it might be time for car maintenance!

See also: Can I use 5w30 instead of 5w20?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.