The Telltale Signs of a Bad Oil Pump: What to Look Out For

The oil pump plays a critical role in maintaining the lubrication and overall health of an internal combustion engine. Any malfunction or failure of the oil pump can have serious consequences for engine performance and longevity. In this technical article, we will examine the signs and symptoms that indicate a failing oil pump, enabling you to identify and address potential problems before they escalate.

Low oil pressure warning

One of the primary indicators of a bad oil pump is a low oil pressure warning on your vehicle’s dashboard. Modern vehicles are equipped with oil pressure sensors that monitor the oil pressure in the engine. If the oil pump cannot maintain sufficient oil pressure, this warning light will illuminate. Take this warning seriously, as low oil pressure can lead to inadequate lubrication and significant engine damage if left unchecked.

Engine noise and ticking

A malfunctioning oil pump can lead to inadequate lubrication, resulting in increased friction and metal-to-metal contact within the engine. As a result, you may notice unusual engine noises such as ticking, knocking, or loud knocking sounds. These noises are often most noticeable during startup or when the engine is under load. If you experience these noises, it is important to have your oil pump and engine inspected immediately to prevent further damage.

Engine overheating

Inadequate lubrication due to a faulty oil pump can cause the engine to overheat. Without proper lubrication, friction between moving parts generates more heat, causing the engine temperature to rise. If you notice your engine consistently running hotter than normal or experiencing frequent overheating problems, this could be an indication of a failed oil pump. Immediate action is necessary to prevent extensive engine damage.

Decreased oil pressure

Regularly monitoring your vehicle’s oil pressure gauge can provide valuable insight into the health of your oil pump. A failing oil pump will often result in a noticeable drop in oil pressure readings. If you notice consistently low oil pressure, even after ensuring that the engine has reached operating temperature, this may be an indication of a malfunctioning oil pump. Consult with a qualified mechanic to accurately diagnose the problem.

Engine performance issues

A failed oil pump can negatively affect the overall performance of your engine. You may experience reduced power, sluggish acceleration, or a general decrease in engine performance. Inadequate lubrication can lead to increased friction and drag in the engine, affecting its efficiency and responsiveness. If you notice a significant decrease in your vehicle’s performance, it is advisable to have the oil pump inspected as part of the troubleshooting process.

Increased engine wear

Inadequate oil circulation caused by a failed oil pump can lead to increased wear on engine components. If you notice signs of accelerated wear, such as excessive engine noise, increased oil consumption, or metal particles in the oil, a failed oil pump may be the cause.

What are some common causes of oil pump failure?

Oil pump failure can occur due to several factors. Here are some common causes of oil pump failure:

  • Lack of lubrication: Insufficient or contaminated oil is a leading cause of oil pump failure. When the oil level is low or the oil is contaminated with debris, sludge or metal particles, it can limit the pump’s ability to effectively circulate oil. The pump may have difficulty maintaining proper oil pressure, resulting in increased wear and possible failure.
  • Worn or damaged pump components: Over time, the internal components of an oil pump can wear out or become damaged. This can include the gears, bearings, or seals inside the pump. Excessive wear or damage can result in decreased pump efficiency, reduced oil flow, and ultimately pump failure.
  • Improper installation: Improper installation of the oil pump can cause it to malfunction. If the pump is not installed correctly, it may not be properly aligned with the engine components, resulting in inadequate oil flow or leaks. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and specifications when installing or replacing an oil pump.
  • Contaminated oil: Using contaminated oil or mixing different types of oil can affect pump performance and cause premature failure. Contaminants such as dirt, debris, or moisture can clog the pump, interfere with pump operation, and cause damage to internal components.
  • Engine overheating: Excessive engine heat can cause oil to break down, losing its viscosity and lubricating properties. As the oil becomes thinner and less effective at lubricating the engine, the pump may have difficulty maintaining sufficient oil pressure. Prolonged overheating can accelerate pump wear and contribute to pump failure.
  • Oil viscosity problems: Using the wrong oil viscosity can also affect oil pump performance. If the oil is too thin (low viscosity), it may not provide adequate lubrication and cause the pump to work harder. Conversely, if the oil is too thick (high viscosity), it can increase resistance in the pump and result in reduced oil flow.

Excessive engine wear: Excessive engine wear, especially on components such as bearings or crankshafts, can create metal particles that can circulate in the oil. These particles can damage the gears or other internal parts of the oil pump, impairing its function and eventually causing it to fail.


Recognizing the signs of a failing oil pump is critical to maintaining the health and longevity of your vehicle’s engine. If you experience any of these symptoms, such as a low oil pressure warning, unusual engine noises, engine overheating, decreased oil pressure or performance issues, it is important to seek professional assistance immediately. Timely diagnosis and repair of a bad oil pump can prevent further engine damage and ensure the continued reliability of your vehicle. Regular maintenance, including scheduled oil changes and inspections, can help identify oil pump problems early and avoid costly repairs in the long run.


How do you know your oil pump is bad?

A look at the three main signs that you need to fix or change your oil pump: low oil pressure, high engine temperature, and noise.

Common Oil Pump Failure Symptoms

  1. Low oil pressure. A bad oil pump will lose the ability to properly pump oil through your system. …
  2. Increased engine operating temperature. …
  3. Noise.

What sound does a bad oil pump make?

A noisy oil pump is a rare symptom, as oil pumps only make noise when they’re starting to fail. You’ll probably hear a whirring or whining sound when this happens, even when the car is idle. This indicates the oil pump’s internal gears are worn out, meaning you’ll need to replace the entire pump.

How do you check an oil pump?

Another step to test the oil pump is checking with a dipstick. Stop your vehicle for a few minutes, take a dipstick, and check the oil level.

  1. Stop Your Vehicle. If your dashboard is showing a low oil indicator, then stop your vehicle. …
  2. Go and Check the Oil Pressure Unit. …
  3. Increasing the Oil Pressure Scale.


Can you drive a car with a bad oil pump?

If you drive a vehicle with a bad or failed oil pump, you’ll ruin your engine. In the majority of cases, the engine will need to be replaced. As you may already be aware, a car’s engine is one of its most expensive components.

Is an oil pump expensive to fix?

Cost at the Mechanic: $1,151-$1,357

If you regularly maintain your vehicle, the oil pump can last for the life of the engine. In some cases, though, it can fail prematurely, in which case it needs to be replaced. Depending on how much work needs to be done, an oil pump replacement can take between four and eight hours.

Can an oil pump suddenly fail?

If the oil level is too low, the oil pump will have to deal with extra friction due to lack of lubrication. This will cause mechanical problems and warping of various parts in the pump, which will eventually cause the pump to fail.

Will a bad oil pump make a knocking noise?

Even with the oil full, if it is not being sent to the places in the engine that need it. Low oil pressure can be caused by a clogged line, a bad pump, or a clogged filter. The low oil pressure would rob the engine of the oil it needs and produce a knocking sound.

How much does oil pump replacement cost?

The average oil pump replacement cost is between $300 and $2500, depending on the car model and labor costs. Expect 100$ to 500$ in parts and 200$ to 2000$ in labor cost. The cost to replace an oil pump varies a bit. For starters, you’ll need the new oil pump, which runs anywhere from $50 to $150.

How do I reset my oil pump?

Quote from video: You’re just going to put the key in turn. It all the way to the right in the accessory. Position. Then you pump the gas bottle three times. One. Two three then you take the key turn the key. Back.

How long will a bad oil pump last?

With proper maintenance, oil pumps could last 60,000 miles to 100,000 miles. But you should be expecting an oil pump failure at around 60,000 miles to 70,000 miles.

What causes an oil pump to go out?

Wear and Tear Over Time

Regardless of how high-quality your oil pump is, it won’t last forever and will eventually give out due to unavoidable wear and tear. Even if it doesn’t fail completely, at some point, it will cease to perform optimally and will have to be replaced, so your engine can regain its proper function.

What could cause oil pump failure?

Oil contamination, in the form of gasoline in the oil, metallic wear particles, or any other foreign substance in a vehicle’s oil, can, over time, cause an oil pump to fail.

Is oil pump easy to replace?

How to Check if an Oil Pump Is Bad

Will a bad oil pump make a knocking noise?

Even with the oil full, if it is not being sent to the places in the engine that need it. Low oil pressure can be caused by a clogged line, a bad pump, or a clogged filter. The low oil pressure would rob the engine of the oil it needs and produce a knocking sound.

What happens when an oil pump fails?

a worn or failing pump will cause a loss of oil pressure. when this happens, internal engine components, such as bearings, camshafts and crankshafts, are starved of pressurized oil.

How much does it cost to fix oil pressure?

Between $121 and $160 is the average cost for an oil pressure sensor replacement. The cost of labor is between 73 and 93 while the cost of parts is between $48 and 67.

How do I know if my oil pump is bad ls1?

Quote from video: We have to run the engine at full engine operating temperature. And see what happens with the pressure at idle. And at cruising rpm.

Is oil pump easy to replace?

Maybe you’ve noticed higher engine temps, and a new, louder clattering under the hood. Unfortunately, signs are pointing to an oil pump replacement — and the sooner, the better. Fortunately, parts are affordable, it’s a straightforward task if you have some time, and the DIY method can save you hundreds of dollars.

How much does an oil pump cost to replace?

The average oil pump replacement cost is between $300 and $2500, depending on the car model and labor costs. Expect 100$ to 500$ in parts and 200$ to 2000$ in labor cost. The cost to replace an oil pump varies a bit. For starters, you’ll need the new oil pump, which runs anywhere from $50 to $150.