Signs of oil pump failure

Updated February 21, 2017

Oil pump failure can be a costly problem. A problem with a car's oil pump can lead to a loss of engine lubrication and cause various other engine components to malfunction or break. It is important to be aware of the signs of oil pump failure so you can take preventive measures and make timely repairs before the vehicle's engine is permanently damaged.

Low Oil Pressure

Your engine will probably show low oil pressure on its oil pressure gauge if your oil pump is failing or completely stops working. Low oil pressure means that there may not be enough oil running through your engine to maintain proper lubrication.


When an engine goes without proper lubrication, it will start making tapping or knocking noises as the lifters and piston rods hit metal while the engine runs. A whining noise from the oil pump itself may also be a sign of impending pump failure. Even if your engine oil shows full on the dipstick, you may still have a bad oil pump that is not allowing the oil to circulate, so you should take seriously any noises you hear coming from your engine or oil pump.

Increased Engine Temperature

When an engine runs without proper lubrication, friction increases and heat builds within the engine. This heat will cause the overall running engine temperature to rise and the engine to possibly overheat. A overheated engine can cause a variety of problems for a vehicle because there are a number of different parts that fail or warp when exposed to very high temperatures.

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About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.