Oil pressure makes for an important barometer in measuring the performance and longevity of an internal combustion engine. When the pressure is sufficient the bearings and other components of the engine remain lubricated. The oil pressure is generally on the higher side when the engine is cold because of increased viscosity of the oil. While it is at the lowest under hot idling conditions. Excessive or low pressure can lead to a substantial damage to the engine. Hence it is essential to keep a check on it regularly. For this purpose some vehicles have a pressure switch or an oil pressure gauge. The later is more accurate in interpreting pressure and is located on the dashboard or in the instrument cluster.
To ensure the well being of the engine it is important to understand how the gauge works and how to interpret the readings. The mechanism involves monitoring of the pressure in the oil ways near the pump and filter. For this purpose there is tapping located in the engine block with an embedded sensor for an electric gauge or an oil pipe take off for a mechanical gauge. Both the oil pressure gauge differ in how they function in interpreting the pressure. The electrical one works by using the attached sensor to produce variable resistance. While the mechanism of mechanical gauge involves forcing the needle around the dial with the oil pressure from the engine.
Not only the mechanism but it is essential to understand the readings depicted by the gauge. When the vehicle goes for an oil change the pressure readings are said to be the ideal for the engine. This can be established as a base line to differentiate between a healthy and an abnormal reading. Once the baseline is determined it is important to regularly monitor the gauge while you drive. If there is a significant drop in pressure while driving up hill or downhill it could be inferred that there a probable oil leak . When running at a higher RPM the gauge generally shows a spike that should settle in some time. If this doesn’t happen it can be deduced that there could be a problem with the oil pressure relieve valve.
To ensure the longevity of your vehicle it is important that an essential instrument like the oil pressure gauge is in perfect condition. This is because it acts as the best indicator and helps to maintain the optimum health of your vehicle. It not only helps determine oil leakage in the engine but also helps you identify potential problems that could occur in the future.