symptoms of oil pump failure

What are the Symptoms of a Failing Oil Pump?

Top 3 Cardinal Symptoms of Oil Pump Failure – Genuine Engine oil pump
Genuine Engine oil pump

The oil pump is one of the most critical parts of a vehicle’s engine. The job of the oil pump is to ensure a constant supply of lubrication oil to keep the engine running smoothly. Although most engines come with a durable oil pump, these pumps can sometimes fail to deliver adequate oil, thereby leading to failure of an engine component or engine damage. As a car owner, it is essential to be attentive and pick out some common symptoms of oil pump failure if a pump begins to fail.

The signs of oil pump failure can easily be detected with critical attentiveness to salvage the situation before it becomes worse. However, it could be difficult to read the signs if you don’t know what bad oil pump symptoms are. We have put together some of the common signs of oil pump failure to help you tell if your oil pump is failing.

Symptoms of a Failing Oil Pump

Several signs help to indicate if an oil pump is failing or not. The following are some oil pump failure symptoms

1. Low Oil Pressure

Top 3 Cardinal Symptoms of Oil Pump Failure – Friday Part High Pressure Oil Pump
Friday Part High-Pressure Oil Pump

The oil pump provides pressure for adequate distribution of engine lubrication by pressurizing the oil. This pressurized oil delivery supports the constant circulation of oil throughout the engine oil filters to other engine components. An impaired supply of oil due to low pressure as a result of a bad oil pump can lead to the friction of the engine bearings and other engine parts.

Low engine power and engine damage are the eventual consequences of low oil pressure. When there’s low oil pressure, the oil light on the dashboard will be turned on automatically by the engine.

2. Increased Engine Temperature

Proper lubrication of the engine absorbs excess heat generated and maintains the engine operating temperature. Under normal conditions, adequate lubrication supply to the engine ensures low friction within the engine component and eventually reduces the temperature. Therefore, a bad oil pump will cause higher friction within the engine bearings and lead to higher temperatures.

If there is a significant increase in the temperature of your car engine, the check light indicates on the dashboard.

3. Noise

A superfluity of noises is often related to a faulty oil pump. This is a result of the moving part rubbing against one another. The plethora of noises produced can be heard in some parts of the car engines such as valvetrain, whining oil pump, and hydraulic lifters

  • Valvetrain Noise

The valve train consists of some of the vehicle’s important components such as the valve guides, pushrods, and seals. These components require a continual flow of oil to keep the metal parts lubricated and working. Unusual noise from the valve train is a major symptom of a failing oil pump.

Top 3 Cardinal Symptoms of Oil Pump Failure – GSC Power-Division valvetrain kit
GSC Power-Division valvetrain kit
  • Whining oil pump Noise

Under normal operations, the oil pump doesn’t make any noise. When there is an issue with the oil pump, it can become noisy. Some whining sound can be heard from the oil pump indicating a bad oil pump.

  • Hydraulic lifter noise
Top 3 Cardinal Symptoms of Oil Pump Failure – Hydraulic Lifters
Hydraulic Lifters

Another symptom of engine oil pump failure is the unusual noise heard from the hydraulic lifter area. The hydraulic lifters help to open and close the valve inside the valve train. They are in constant motion, thereby requiring an adequate supply of oil.

When there is an oil pump failure, the flow of oil to these hydraulic filters is reduced. This affects the performance of the lifters and results in excessive noise, serving as a credible way to tell if your oil pump is bad.


What causes oil pump failure?

Oil pump failure can be caused by many factors, including low engine oil, engine sludge and, infrequent oil changes. If the engine oil level is too low, the engine compartments may begin to experience friction and eventual oil pump damage. Infrequent oil changes can lead to accelerated wear of the engine oil pump and eventual failure. Engine sludge is a combination of dirt and contamination, which is capable of restricting normal oil flow, leading to oil pump failure.

Other causes of oil pump failure are poor maintenance, faulty installation, and use of bad lubrication oil.

What to do to a failing oil pump?

If you detect a faulty oil pump, the first thing to do is to stop the car, disconnect your battery, and call for a professional mechanic. Typically, an experienced auto mechanic will be able to fix your oil pump by accessing your faulty oil pump for leaks and will also inspect the viscosity of your oil. An ASE-certified mechanic will be able to tell if you need an oil pump replacement in case of damages beyond repair.

Can you drive a car with a bad oil pump?

If your oil pump is not working properly, you may not be able to continue driving your vehicle. And even if you’re able to start the vehicle, it is not advisable to keep a car running under the working of a faulty oil pump. The best thing to do is to get the oil pump checked. A faulty oil pump will not be able to generate enough pressure to distribute oil throughout all parts of your engine, and as such, driving the car means your engine will be susceptible to engine damage.

What causes a sudden loss of oil pressure?

The most common cause of low oil pressure is low oil levels. Another factor that may cause high-pressure oil pump failure is a worn-out engine bearing. Excessive wear reduces the flow of oil and consequently decreases the pressure. If your oil pump pressure suddenly reduces, check the oil level and top it off if it is low.


Low oil pressure, increased temperature and unusual noise are the 3 cardinal symptoms of oil pump failure to look out for. To maintain a healthy oil pump, ensure to get your oil pump checked regularly. An operating oil pump is critical to constant oil supply and better fuel efficiency. When it comes to vehicle protection, early detection of symptoms of oil pump failure is pivotal to ensure that the problem does not escalate to a detrimental engine knock.

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