What does the P0520 code mean?
And what are some signs that indicate your car may have this code?
This Article Contains:
- What Is Code P0520?
- What Does Code P0520 Mean?
- Is Code P0520 Serious?
- What Causes Error Code P0520?
- What Are Some Common Symptoms Of Code P0520?
- How To Diagnose Code P0520?
- How Is Trouble Code P0520 Fixed?
- What Are Some Tips to Avoid Triggering Code P0520?
- What’s A Convenient Solution To Code P0520?
Let’s get started!
What Is Code P0520?
Fault code P0520 is defined as “Engine Oil Pressure Sensor/Switch – Circuit Malfunction.” It’s a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) indicating problems with the vehicle’s oil pressure sensor, oil pressure switch, or actual oil pressure.
Code P0520 can be caused by several factors, including a faulty oil pressure sensor or oil light, low oil pressure, problems with wiring, oil filter, or an oil leak with the circuit.
So is it something to be worried about?
Let’s find out.
What Does Code P0520 Mean?
P0520 is a code triggered by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM).
The PCM is responsible for multiple sensors and controls of your engine. One of the most important sensors that the PCM is responsible for is the Oil Pressure Sensor. It relays information through reference voltage about the actual oil pressure readings to the PCM.
If the engine’s control module reads an oil pressure level outside normal parameters, it triggers code P0520.
Note that this doesn’t always indicate problems with the actual oil pressure or a faulty oil pressure sensor.
However, is this code usually a cause for concern?
Is Code P0520 Serious?
That depends on how soon you diagnose it.
If your car’s oil pressure goes too high or too low, it can seize the crankshaft and connecting rod bearings, making the entire engine non-functional.
On its own, it’s a pretty moderate issue. However, it can indicate problems with the oil pressure gauge or associated wires and connectors.
So what triggers it?
What Causes Error Code P0520?
Many things can trigger code P0520, most commonly — electrical faults within the engine oil pressure sensor circuit. Damaged components, wires, and/or shorted connectors within the circuit can often lead to this error code.
If that’s not the case, the following are some reasons that might cause P0520:
- Excessive resistance in the circuit
- Mechanical failure of the chain tensioners
- An oil pressure issue like a low oil pressure condition
- Faulty oil pressure sensor and oil pressure light
- Use of wrong (unsuitable viscosity) engine oil
- Damaged components like oil pump or relief valve malfunction
- Damaged PCM (extremely rare)
Note: A faulty sensor or oil light may also consistently give out the wrong oil pressure reading.
Keeping that in mind, what are some signs that indicate code P0520?
What Are Some Common Symptoms Of Code P0520?
The easiest and most common way to identify this code is through your check engine light and oil pressure light. If any of these turn up (or both), the scan tool will likely pull this code.
Apart from these, here are some other physical symptoms to look out for:
- Poor engine performance
- Your oil pressure gauge highlighting a low or high oil pressure reading (below 25 or above 65)
- Persistent knocking or clunking sounds from the engine
- Your check engine light, oil pressure light, and/or oil light turns up
- The engine may misfire if the problem has resulted in low oil pressure
- The engine may shut down and refuse to start if the code reader also identifies other code P trouble codes
However, these signs may also indicate the presence of other p code errors.
So how do you diagnose P0520?
How To Diagnose Code P0520?
The first step towards diagnosing an error code is to perform a visual inspection of the engine.
Your mechanic will check for the following:
- Low oil level
- Old, dirty engine oil
- Damaged or old oil filter
- An oil leak within your fuel lines
- Failed engine oil pressure regulator
- Failed oil pump, injector, or wires
Next, your mechanic will look for any oil leak or malfunction within the oil sensor circuit. The pressure sensor is also checked to determine that it is seated correctly and does not hold any damaged components or loose wiring.
They will also take the oil pressure reading on an idle engine and check for an oil pressure issue, including a high or low oil pressure condition.
Finally, a multimeter is used to examine the pressure sensor. Once the code reader identifies the code P on an idle engine, and why it is triggered, they can fix it.
And how is that done?
How Is Trouble Code P0520 Fixed?
Code P0520’s repair depends upon how critical the issue is. Most commonly, mechanics perform one of the following three repairs to rectify this p code:
- Replacement of oil pressure sensor with a new sensor
- Repair/replacement of any faulty wiring, connectors, or oil pressure gauge (in some cases)
- Perform an oil change and replace the oil filter
Some error code readings can be quite severe, and in such cases, mechanics perform a PCM replacement. However, it is quite rare and must only be done after a thorough diagnosis.
Note: It is possible that your car has a faulty sensor that is giving out the wrong oil pressure value. So it’s best to let your mechanic identify the need for a new sensor based on your engine type and service manual.
Having said that, is there any way to avoid code P0520?
What Are Some Tips to Avoid Triggering Code P0520?
Since code P0520 is an engine oil pressure P code, the simplest way to avoid it is to practice proper oil pump maintenance.
In addition to that, you can also follow these tips in your car maintenance routine:
- Always use the right kind of oil viscosity for your car. Check your service manual for the right oil for your engine type.
- Perform a routine oil change and ensure that your oil level is not too high or low.
- Perform routine circuit inspection of the oil pressure sensor. Do not wait for the check engine light or oil light to indicate a problem.
- Regularly use a scan tool for any error codes your car may show symptoms for.
- Keep your engine clean and regularly maintain the right oil level.
What’s A Convenient Solution To Code P0520?
When you see your engine pull up code P0520, it can be because of a number of reasons like a faulty sensor, issues with chain tensioners, or an oil pressure issue like a low oil pressure condition.
Your mechanic may replace the bad sensor and get a new sensor circuit, or get an oil change if needed. The best way to go is to seek professional help immediately.
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If you get a code P0520 on your OBD-II code reader scan tool, do not panic. With the right diagnosis and repair, you can get rid of it without causing any damage to your engine.
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