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7 Alarming Reasons Why Your Oil Pressure Drops to Zero At Idle

When that little “check engine” light turns on, or you may even hear a whining sound from your engine the minute you put your car in idle. It’s a symptom that your oil pressure drops to zero at idle.

oil pressure drops to zero at idle
“What Does Your Check Engine Light Mean?”

Which is a definite cause for concern, especially when left alone. It can lead to sustaining damages to your car’s core engine materials and it might even lead to an emergency situation at the wrong time. This is why it needs to get checked immediately and regularly, because it can also mean that there is an internal oil leakage, the oil pressure sensor is damaged, or even due to dirty oil filters.

Why Your Oil Pressure Drops To Zero At Idle:

There can be quite a few glaring reasons as to why your oil pressure drops to zero at idle. It is exactly why in this article, I will be showcasing 7 most probable causes as to why that happens. So, here it is.

  • Blocked or Dirty Oil Filter
  • Worn Out Oil Pump
  • Low Oil Level
  • Old Engine
  • Damaged Oil Pressure Sensor
  • Mismatched Engine Oil
  • Internal Oil Leakage

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Easy Solutions For When Your Oil Pressure Drops To Zero At Idle

Now that I have listed off the reasons as to why your oil pressure drops to zero at idle, why don’t we get into the nitty-gritty details on how we can solve effectively solve these problems, shall we?

1. Blocked or Dirty Oil Filter

Oil filters are, well, oil filters. They filter your car’s oil and the possible dirt, debris and all kinds of other things that could get into your oil. In such a case, when your oil filter gets too overworked, it has a tendency to create a build up of grime enough so that it creates a blockage.

A good practice would be to always check and replace your car’s oil filter every time you get an oil change. And when you still do end up discovering less oil pressure, check for blocked oil filters and have them replaced.

2. Worn Out Oil Pump

Our car’s oil pump is there to properly manage the correct amount of oil pressure within the engine. But unfortunately, like any other object, it degrades throughout its lifespan. Over time, when the oil pump starts getting worn out, the oil pressure lowers.

So you might as well check the oil pump if it is all worn out, and if it is, you ought to have your oil pump replaced.

3. Low Oil Level

If the your car’s oil level ends up too low, then it wouldn’t be a mystery as to why your oil pressure drops to zero at idle. There simply isn’t enough oil to pressurize! In such a case, you will need to check your oil levels as well as your engine for oil leaks.

Old engines are especially susceptible to burning oil too quickly. So if you see anything concerning like that, you should probably call a mechanic at that point to have it fixed.

4. Old Engine

If you didn’t know, engines actually have a certain amount of life expectancy. There just comes a time where engines have deteriorated too much to keep up efficient processes. This is as previously stated in number three, when old engines start burning oil too quickly.

By this point, you’d have two options. Either replace the specific part of the engine that is getting too old, or get a new engine altogether.

5. Damaged Oil Pressure Sensor

This sensor, or gauge if you prefer, is usually located on the dashboard of one’s car. It was put there for the convenience of monitoring the oil pressure level while driving. So in this case, should you leave it as it is, you will end up getting the wrong oil pressure readings. Unless you have godly estimation abilities, you should get your oil pressure sensor replaced.

6. Mismatched Engine Oil

This problem is one that plagues those that are simply new to the whole business of owning and maintaining their cars. In essence, depending on an oil’s viscosity will the ease of delivery to the required areas of the engine change, especially at certain temperatures.

Remember, high viscosity oil for hotter temperatures and low viscosity oil for colder temperatures. Always ensure the proper viscosity of your car’s oil.

7. Internal Oil Leakage

Now this simply will not do as it is a glaring reason as to why oil pressure drops to zero at idle. You see, the oil flows throughout the engine within a long chain in the middle of the reservoir and engine head. Oil pressure drops to zero at idle when the sealed channels that the oil passes through become worn out. This will make the oil start leaking into the other components of the engine, causing an overall oil pressure drop, among even engine damage.

As oil pressure drops to zero at idle, it would be very important to review the seals of your engine whether you’ll need to change or tighten the seals as well as other components if necessary.


If you ever end up panicking when your oil pressure drops to zero at idle, never hesitate to have it checked for any of the listed reasons, as it could very well end up costing you financially, or even your health. Don’t forget these solutions so that you and your car will always be road-ready!

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