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4 Common Signs Of A Faulty Oil Pump

A bad oil pump prevents lubrication of the engine components. It could also result in low oil levels or low oil pressure, leading to severe engine damage. 

Here are some key warning signs to help you identify a failing oil pump: 

1. Low Oil Pressure

The oil pump comprises a pressure relief valve, which usually doesn’t open very easily. However, if it accidentally opens, the oil pressure will fall.

Low oil pressure is usually the first sign of an oil pump failure. A faulty oil pump won’t circulate oil in your engine properly. 

So how can you tell if there’s low oil pressure? 

The oil sending unit will trigger the oil pressure warning light on your dashboard when your engine has low oil pressure. If your car has an oil pressure gauge instead, you’ll notice the oil pressure gauge dial dropping lower than usual. Your check engine light may also illuminate.  

At this point, you should stop your engine and get a mechanic to look at the problem, as an oil pump failure is a pretty serious issue.

2. Increased Engine Temperature

Low oil flow can cause a sudden increase in the engine temperature.

This happens when your engine does not receive enough oil flow, preventing lubrication of key engine components such as the hydraulic lifters and valve-train. When these moving parts aren’t properly lubricated, they create friction, resulting in engine temperature spikes. 

So the next time you see the temperature gauge hiking up into the red zone, pull over and let the engine cool down. Then consult a mechanic and check if you need to replace the old pump.

3. Noisy Engine

A noisy engine is another symptom of a failing oil pump.

The lack of lubrication in moving parts like the piston, hydraulic lifters, valve train, chain tensioner, or cam bearing results in friction between these engine components. This, in turn, creates a loud whirring or whining sound.

If you notice your engine making these sounds, it’s best to immediately get your engine checked by a mechanic. 

4. Vehicle Not Starting

The oil pressure switch (oil sending unit) is directly connected to the ignition in most newer cars. This feature is meant to protect your engine parts from damage.

When the switch detects a bad oil pump, it prevents the engine from starting

A no-start can have many causes, not only a failing oil pump, so your best option is to have a mechanic review the problem.

How Much Does An Oil Pump Replacement Cost?

The cost of an oil pump replacement varies based on the make and model of your vehicle. 

Here’s an overview of the costs you may need to account for: 

  • Oil pump: A new oil pump ranges between $50 to $150.
  • Oil pan gasket: This will cost you roughly $150 to 200. Depending on the vehicle model and manufacturer, you’ll need to replace the oil gasket and possibly the front main gasket. 
  • Oil and oil filter: New oil and an oil filter range between $100 to $150. 
  • Labor costs: Here, you’ll need to account for roughly 4-8 hours for the mechanic to complete the repairs. Therefore, this can cost you anywhere between $200 to $800.  

Overall, installing a new oil pump can total between $300 to $2500 or more depending on the car, labor costs, and the cost of the car parts.

How Critical Is An Oil Pump Failure?

If you have a bad oil pump, it could cause your internal gears to wear out and force your engine to seize completely. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the common warning signs of a faulty oil pump and take action.

So, if you think you have a failing oil pump, contact your mechanic promptly. 

You may need a new pump installed. You may also need other parts like an oil pump screen or a new oil pick-up pipe as part of necessary repairs. 

3 FAQs About Oil Pump Replacement

Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions related to installing a new pump and their answers:

1. What Is An Oil Pump?

The oil pump is considered the engine’s heart and is typically located inside the oil pan or the crankshaft. 

It’s primarily responsible for circulating oil throughout the engine, ensuring all the components are lubricated, protected, and spinning smoothly.

Here’s how it works: 

  • The engine oil begins its journey in the engine’s sump.   
  • The oil pump then sucks the oil from the engine’s sump through a pickup tube, builds pressure, and circulates it through the gear teeth into an oil passage. 
  • From here, the oil passes through the oil filter, which removes the microscopic particles and supplies clean engine oil to the rest of the engine parts. 
  • The oil passes through the bearings, crankshaft, pistons, and valve train, protecting them from wear and tear. 
  • Finally, the oil completes its entire journey in roughly 5 to 6 seconds by returning to the engine sump via the oil passages. 

2. How Long Does An Engine Oil Pump Last?

The oil pump can last for approximately 60,000 and 70,000 miles with proper maintenance. 

However, it depends on several factors like driving habits, the quality of your car parts, and so on. 

Here’s what you can do to increase the lifespan of an oil pump:

  • Pay close attention to the oil pressure gauge
  • Monitor any spikes in engine temperature
  • Check the oil level regularly
  • Always make sure you have clean engine oil
  • Conduct an engine oil change when necessary
  • Install a new oil filter

3. How To Replace A Faulty Engine Oil Pump?

Conducting an oil pump replacement is pretty complicated. So, if you feel unsure, it’s best to let your mechanic handle the repair. 

That being said, here’s a general walk-through for an oil pump replacement: 

  1. Park your vehicle on a solid, level surface and put the emergency brake on.
  2. Place a drain pan under the engine, remove the oil plug, and completely let the oil drain out.
  3. Use a jack stand for support and raise the front of the vehicle
  4. Undo the oil pan bolt and the pump-to-rear bearing cap bolt. Now remove the oil pan and the old oil pan gasket, ensuring it does not get scratched or damaged.
  5. Use a rag and scraper tool to clean the engine block and mounting bolts
  6. Locate and remove the old pump using the tools recommended by the manufacturer. 
  7. Install the new engine oil pump and torque it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  8. Reinstall the oil pan gasket and the oil pan back onto the engine block. 
  9. Refill with clean engine oil,  and then reinstall the engine oil cap and the pump-to-rear bearing cap bolt according to the manufacturer’s specifications. 
  10. Run the engine for a while and monitor the oil level, ensuring no signs of an oil leak.
  11. Finally, recheck the engine oil pressure, and you’re good to go.

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