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Oil Pressure Sensor Vs. Switch – Are They Both The Same Thing? (Explained)

Oil Pressure Sensor Vs. Switch – Are They Both The Same Thing? (Explained)

Oil pressure sensor senses the oil pressure in your vehicle – one of the essential sensors that ensure the safety of your engine. This sensor measures if your engine has enough oil pressure required to lubricate the bearers. Not all cars come with a sensor, there’s sometimes a switch installed instead of a sensor.

The oil pressure light can flicker for a variety of reasons, but low oil pressure is the most common one. It might cause catastrophic damage if the amount of oil is below the specified limit. 

It is really important to have the right amount of oil in your engine for the motor to work properly, as you probably already know. Ignoring this sign can cause your engine to shut down. 

In this article, I’ll be discussing the reasons behind low oil pressure light illumination. I’ll also discuss if you should drive such vehicle or not. 

Let’s get into it…

Oil Pressure Switch Vs. Sensor

Oil Pressure Sensor Oil Pressure Switch 
It transfers numerical information regarding the oil pressure to the dashboard.It has two states; either on or off. The light illuminates in the case of low oil pressure and vice versa. 
Has different units but PSI is what you most often see.Comes with two states either on or off, or open or closed. 
It can measure the range of pressure.It goes on or off when it reaches a specific limit. 
Oil Pressure Sensor Vs. Switch

Why Does Low Oil Pressure Light Flicker?

Why Does Low Oil Pressure Light Flickers?
Low Oil Pressure Light Flickering On The Dashboard

Low Oil Pressure

The main reason why your car’s dashboard shows light is when there is insufficient oil pressure. In that situation, you should stop the car right away and check it yourself or get it checked by a mechanic. Continuing driving in the state when the light flickers on can make your car’s engine suffer irreparable damage. 

Faulty Wiring

Faulty wiring is one of the reasons why the oil pressure light flickers on. The wiring has control over the electrical system of your vehicle. The only way to fix this problem is to change the engine’s harness, which costs around $1100. It can take up to a maximum of 24 hours to change the wiring properly.  

Dirty Particles

Why do dirty particles get clogged in engine?
An image of the engine

Dirty particles are another reason behind the illumination of the light on your dashboard. The process of combustion is what creates these dirty particles. Filters do their job to some extent, though filters are not a hundred percent efficient all the time. 

Oil Leak

Considering the fact that not all car owners are aware of how to check the oil, they don’t realize that their car is facing this issue. It’s important to mention that the leaving the light on and not paying heed to it could lead to serious damage. Whether it’s an internal or external oil leak, you should check it thoroughly. Though, minor oil leaks are nothing to really worry about but the only way to know about it is close examination. 

Bad Oil Pressure Sensor And Its Effects 

A faulty oil pressure sensor gives bogus readings and indicates that oil pressure is actually correct when reality may be quite the opposite.

The effects of a faulty oil pressure sensor are incalculable, it can even cause you to lose your automobile. Strangely, when the oil pressure is low, no lights will illuminate on the dashboard. It means you won’t be able to know about the oil pressure level.

Though, some cars have an automatic function that ceases the engine from working to hold it from any damage. Driving a car even for a minute while the bearings are starving lubrication can seize your engine. It will eventually slow down the speed of the car to 20 mph even after repair. 

This video shows how you can replace an oil pressure sensor:

Oil Pressure Sensor Replacement

Should You Drive For A Short Distance With A Faulty Oil Pressure Sensor?

Should You Drive The Car With A Faulty Oil Pressure Sensor?
You should never drive the car with a faulty oil pressure sensor

It’s never advisable to drive a car for even a minute when your oil pressure sensor is unable to give you the right update about oil pressure and levels in the engine.

The motor compartment makes different sounds, such as grinding and knocking, indicating that the oil pressure is low. 

In case you keep driving when your car’s engine needs lubrication, you’ll need to rebuild your vehicle, which is no less than a huge fatigue. Defective oil pressure sensors may not operate at appropriate pressure. Furthermore, it may fail to send signals when they are needed. Therefore, your vehicle’s oil pressure sensor needs to be replaced promptly. 


Finally, what sets the oil pressure switch and sensor apart is the type of information they send to the dashboard. The sensor transmits details regarding the range of oil pressure. While a switch will turn on or off when the oil is at a specific limit.

What makes a low oil pressure light come on is, of course, the low pressure or level of the oil. Though, this light can also be turned on for so many other reasons. Faulty wiring, faulty sensors, dirty particles, or oil leakage are a few of them. 

If you see the light flickering on, it’s never a wise choice to drive your car. Conversely, you might see your vehicle facing irrecoverable damages. It is crucial to keep an eye on the sensor whether it is functioning correctly or not. 

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