What is Normal Engine Oil Pressure? (Must-Know Information)

Written by

Charles Bolte


Vernon Hoppe 

what is normal engine oil pressure

Your car engine shouldn’t run without engine oil. Simultaneously, the engine oil needs to be pressurized to reach and lubricate the contact surfaces of engine components properly.

An ideal oil pressure of 25 to 65 PSI must be observed to achieve optimal lubrication. Operating outside the correct oil pressure range wears down your motor parts which may lead to engine failure over time.

Learn more below about what is normal engine oil pressure and the factors affecting it.

Normal Range of Engine Oil Pressure

Your car engine is a complex machine that needs just the right amount of lubrication, temperature, as well as oil pressure. Without proper oil levels and pressure, you’ll risk the engine wearing through friction or breaking down due to irreversible damage.

Oil pressure refers to the measurement of force needed to push the engine oil to the different moving motor components for lubrication. Ultimately, the resistance the engine oil experiences determines the oil pressure in your car.

The engine oil pressure is widely measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and can be monitored through the car’s oil pressure gauge.


  • While the ideal oil pressure may vary per car, make and model, 25 to 65 PSI exists as the standard oil pressure range for most cars.

A good oil pressure is normally achieved after 20 minutes of engine start-up when the oil is adequately warmed up, and the oil viscosity and temperature are at their optimal state and level.

If your car oil pressure gauge reading remains inadequately low while driving for some time already, you may have a problem with your oil pressure gauge or you are experiencing low oil pressure.

  • On the other hand, if your car quickly registers an over 65 PSI oil pressure, especially in normal driving conditions, you can be experiencing a high oil pressure that may likely be due to clogged oil filters or other obstructions within your motor.
  • Over 80 PSI is normally considered too high which can seriously damage the engine. Even the regular oil pressure in a truck will only range between 40 to 50 PSI.

Factors That Can Affect Engine Oil Pressure

The engine oil pressure can be affected by a few factors. These factors will either result in low or high oil pressure. Knowing them will help you properly diagnose what’s causing your oil pressure warning light to turn on.

1. Oil viscosity and quality


The oil viscosity and quality are prime contributors to the oil pressure level. When the engine oil is thicker, it will naturally flow slower thus requiring more pressure to push it through to all the motor components.

Viscosity is defined as the resistance of a fluid to naturally flow hence a less viscous oil will also require less pressure to flow through the engine passages.

Following the right quality and viscosity of engine oil per car specifications ensures your engine gets the proper protection and lubrication.

Oil quality is ensured by regular oil changes. As the engine oil ages, it also deteriorates viscosity and lubrication qualities. It’ll get harder for the old oil to flow which will naturally result in higher oil PSI.

2. Oil level


The correct oil pressure can be maintained with the right oil level. When you have inadequate oil, the oil pump will struggle to manage or produce consistent oil pressure.

It is important to follow the regular schedule for oil changes to maintain proper oil volume, as well as to check for possible leaks or engine damage that may be abnormally burning your lube oil.

3. Contamination

The engine oil needs to pass around the engine for optimal lubrication, but sometimes debris and other particles can contaminate the oil which can lead to clogged filters and passages.


These contaminants can build up in the filter which then causes high oil pressure due to higher oil resistance from the clog. This pressure build-up in your diesel engine may cause oil filter and pump damage if unresolved.

4. Internal components problem

Sometimes, despite having the right viscosity and oil quality you’ll still encounter a pressure gauge reading over or under the oil pressure normal range. This may be due to internal components damage or failure.

Common internal components issues may include:


  • Faulty oil pump
  • Oil filter failure
  • Relief valve malfunction
  • Faulty oil pressure gauge

5. Overall engine condition

Maintaining the average oil pressure can be difficult if the problem is due to a worn engine. High-mileage cars are prone to defective engines due to natural wear and tear.


Engine wear restricts healthy oil flow, dropping the engine oil pressure. Eventually, you’ll have to rebuild or replace your engine if the damage is serious or irreversible.

Importance of Maintaining Proper Oil Pressure

The car engine needs lubrication to run smoothly and prolong its service, hence the use of engine oils. But the right volume of engine oil alone cannot suffice a healthy lubrication, it also needs the proper oil pressure to move around the components.

Proper oil pressure is just as important to guarantee that all moving components get lubricated to ensure engine peak performance while preventing early damage due to friction and heat.

When engine components are not properly lubricated, they are more susceptible to friction wear, warping, and seals being easily worn out.

Knowing what should your oil pressure be allows you to react promptly if your oil pressure is at abnormal readings. Bear in mind that maintaining proper oil pressure helps maintain your overall engine condition.

Too Low/High Oil Pressure and Their Causes


Encountering too low or too high oil pressure is bad for your engine so you must know how to identify the causes of these oil pressure issues and address them properly. Here’s a list of what might be causing your oil pressure to drop or rise.

  • Insufficient engine oil
  • Wrong oil viscosity and quality
  • Plugged oil filter
  • Contaminated oil
  • Faulty oil pump
  • Worn engine
  • Old engine oil
  • Relief valve malfunction

Signs of low or high oil pressure

Your car will alert you when you’re driving outside the normal oil pressure range. Here are some low and high oil pressure symptoms that you should look out for.


  • Illuminated oil pressure warning light
  • Poor engine performance
  • The smell of burnt oil
  • Clanking sound or engine noise
  • Excessive engine temperature
  • Oil leaks
  • Engine damage

How to check and maintain engine oil pressure

Checking your oil pressure isn’t that difficult as you can always monitor it through your oil pressure gauge on your dash. In the case that your pressure gauge is faulty, you can always look for the symptoms or signs of low and high oil pressure as mentioned above.

For a more accurate check, you can also:


  • Employ an oil pressure testing kit to identify a good pressure reading.
  • Diagnose your engine oil level and check its color and clarity.
  • Use a multimeter to accurately examine your oil pressure.

On the other hand, to fix high oil pressure or avoiding a low one will require you to:

  • Regularly changing the oil and cleaning the filter
  • Use quality and correct lubricant viscosity for your engine
  • Clean your oil pan from contaminants or debris
  • Examine the oil pump for any damage
  • Regularly check the overall engine condition

Frequently Asked Questions


Does accelerating normally increase the oil pressure?

Notably, there’s also a difference in what oil pressure be at idle compared to when accelerating. It is only normal that your oil pressure rises when accelerating provided that such pressure increase is not erratic and still within the normal range.

Once such pressure increase does not reduce after decelerating or is going above the ideal pressure, it may already indicate a high oil pressure problem. It’s time that you visit your mechanic or take your time to examine and repair your car if you know how.

How serious is high oil pressure?

High oil pressure is a serious problem that can irreversibly damage your engine. You should remember that when you have abnormally high oil pressure, other engine components are not receiving enough lubrication which could lead to troubling damage.


Your car engine needs lubrication to run in peak condition and ensure longevity of service. By knowing and observing what is normal engine oil pressure your vehicle needs, you can protect your motor from potential troubles and serious damage.

Bear in mind that the proper oil pressure is just as critical as any other maintenance measures in upholding your engine’s optimal performance, protection, and long service life span.

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