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Can Low Oil Cause Misfire? (Read This First!)

A car owner comes across several problems and one of the terms that car lovers always look to avoid is the issue of misfire in a car’s engine.

There is also a reason why most cars include a warning light that can indicate whether your car would misfire.

There are several reasons why a car’s engine may misfire but can low oil pressure relate to the same as well?

Can low oil cause misfire?

If the oil pressure in a car completely drops and the car is about to seize up, there is a chance that the engine of the car would misfire. This is mainly due to the drop in RPM. This in turn causes the gear to drop as well. However, misfire mostly occurs due to problems in the cylinders.

There are cylinders inside a car’s engine. When there is incomplete combustion in these cylinders, you can expect a car to misfire. When this happens, one or more of the cylinders in the engine fails to produce an adequate amount of pressure.

When a car misfires, there are several signs and one of them is the shaking of the car. You may also see the warning like illuminate. Other than that, you would notice a visible decline in the performance of your car, along with the diminished and inefficient fuel economy.

If there is a sudden drop in the oil levels due to leaks or broken bearings, the RPM would decrease significantly, causing the car to misfire.

You may also want to remember that there are several other more valid causes of misfire in a car and low oil is not one of the first ones.

More conventionally, problems in the spark plugs often result in complications in the cylinders, causing incomplete combustion.

This later leads to misfiring. If there are leaks in valve seals or clogging of the fuel injector, each can cause the oil pressure to drop and consequently cause a misfire as well.

How does low oil pressure cause a misfire?

Although the connection between low oil pressure and misfire in a car is not direct, there is, yet, a relation between the two.

And low oil pressure can in turn cause or contribute to a misfiring vehicle. When the oil pressure is too low, you might expect the RPM to go lower as well and drop in gear. Sometimes, the low oil pressure would be the sole reason for misfire only if the car is about to seize.

Worn out pistons and bearings, and vacuum leaks can also contribute to low oil pressure. Each of these causes the engine to misfire as well.

However, you may want to note that replacing the oil or changing the oil viscosity does not fix a misfiring vehicle. The solution to a misfiring engine always lies in the cylinders which need to be fixed. Most commonly a change in spark plug or ignition oil does the job.

What can cause low oil pressure in a car?

There are numerous reasons why there might be low oil pressure in a car. Here are a few possibilities:

Inadequate oil in the engine:

Simply put, if the engine does not have sufficient oil, low oil pressure is bound to be created.

As you low, an engine can have low oil pressure due to several reasons, one of which could be leaks or even evaporation.

Sometimes if piston rings are too old and worn out, there could be oil consumption owing to the burning of the part.

Too thick or too thin oil:

Other than the amount, the viscosity of the oil also determines the oil pressure on the engine.

If the oil is too thin and the pressure sensor fails to detect the low pressure, It could cause the same issues.

Likewise, when the oil may be too viscose, lubrication amount decreases, in turn resulting in low oil pressure again.

Faulty pressure gauge:

If you notice that there are no noises or drop in performance, but the pressure gauge is indicating an otherwise low oil pressure, you may have to check the oil levels in that case.

This is because many times, pressure gauge malfunctioning could misleadingly indicate low oil pressure as well.

Engine depreciation:

If you drive a car in extra mileage, you can expect the engine to get depreciated and worn out after years if proper servicing has not been catered to the vehicle.

When the engine’s bearings have dwindled, the resistance against the oil flow is not the same anymore. Hence the oil pressure on the car would be considerably lower.

Clogged or jammed filter:

If you have ever noticed how a pressure gauge and filter are placed in the lubrication system, you would know that the oil surpasses the filter before it can be detected by the gauge.

Hence, when this filter becomes clogged, the oil does not pass through to the gauge adequately, resulting in low oil pressure.

The infiltration of water, contaminants, or other dirt can result in the oil becoming thicker and hence clogging the filter.

How to tell if your car has low oil pressure?

The following are a few signs:

Warning light:

The warning light on your car’s dashboard is your indicator that the oil pressure in your vehicle is below normal.

As soon as the warning light goes on, the wisest step to take is to check the oil levels immediately. Have a lookout for the warning light to be warned.

Noisy engine:

If your engine is making all sorts of ticking and grinding noises, you may assume that the oil level has dropped causing inadequate lubrication.

Although noise from the engine may be due to other issues as well, a noisy engine along with a warning light should be enough to catch your eyes and ears.

Burning smell:

If you smell something burning from your engine, this could be one of the signs of low oil pressure.

Once there is a leak, the burning smell could become evident. At the same time, you may expect the oil pressure to diminish as well.

Heated engine:

When the oil pressure is low, it also means that the lubrication in the system is also low.

With that the friction in moving parts will also increase, causing the engine to become overheated now and then.

How do you fix low oil pressure in a car?

Fixing low oil pressure would largely depend on what caused the low oil pressure in the first place. Here are a few possible ways you can solve the low oil pressure problem:

Check the oil level:

The most basic step is to check your engine’s oil level. Low oil pressure is primarily caused by low oil amount and having enough oil in the reservoir is one solution.

Check for leaks:

It would be most wise to have a professional mechanic have a look at the lubrication system to see whether there are any leaks. Valve or piston burns and wears down should also be fixed if detected.

Change the oil:

If oil viscosity is not appropriate and in sync with the weather outside, you may need to change the oil completely. It is also vital to have your engine filled with new oil as the season changes. Increasing the viscosity of the oil can also help if the engine has depleted parts.

Check and fix sensor:

A faulty sensor can trick you into thinking your oil pressure is low and could cause problems like a misfire. However, this can be avoided if you use a DMM or digital multimeter to run a check on the sensor.

Repair the bearings or filter:

If a worn-out engine is what has caused your oil pressure to drop, repairing the bearing would be an idle solution. If a filter is clogged due to contaminants, replace or clean the filter to let the oil flow to the pressure gauge.

Can an oil change fix a misfire?

Although low oil can contribute to a misfire indirectly, it is a misconception that changing the oil could fix a misfire.

It is worth noting that changing the oil quality or viscosity does not fix a misfire. Since misfire occurs due to problems in the combustion cylinders, spark plugs or ignition coil need to be fixed.

Can no oil cause a misfire?

While changing the oil thickness or quality would not fix a misfiring car, we always preach how prevention is better than cure.

If your oil level drops to a complete zero, there is a chance that the engine would misfire. No oil in an engine can cause several other issues as well.

Final thoughts

Low oil pressure is not one of the primary reasons for a misfire in a car’s engine but it can have an effect indirectly. when the oil levels drop suddenly, this causes an engine to malfunction. However, changing the oil would not fix a misfiring problem.