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Common Signs of Oil Pump Failure

Keeping your engine cool is a vital part of preserving your vehicle’s health and performance and will help you avoid massive damages to your car’s internal systems. In the engine the oil pump not only helps to cool the engine but it will circulate the engine’s oil, lubricating all of the bearings and allowing the engine to function properly. Should your oil pump suddenly fail one day while out driving, it can be extremely dangerous to both you and other drivers, making staying on top of routine maintenance and service very important. There are many signs to look for as well that indicate that your oil pump may be beginning to fail and knowing what to recognize will go a long way to having the issue repaired before it becomes too serious. These are just a few of the most common signs that your oil pump is in need of service or replacement.

Oil Pump

Oil pump failure symptoms

  • Your Oil Pressure Will Decrease– Since the oil pump is responsible for regulating oil pressure, should it begin to go bad or improperly oil the components in the engine, you may notice the oil light turn on, other symptoms of oil pressure decreasing will be a decrease in power, your engine will run much hotter and there is a good chance your vehicle will begin stalling out much more often.
  • Clanking Noises– There is a chance that there will be a loud clanking noise coming from under the hood if the oil pump is going bad. Since a main function of the oil pump is to lubricate the engine and prevent friction, the loud clanking noise is an indication that there is not enough lubricant passing through, which is often caused by a defective oil pump. The hydraulic lifters shouldn’t make noise at all so any noise is likely an indication that not enough oil is being pumped through to them.
  • Higher Operational Temperature of Your Engine– As oil is moved through the engine, it will help the engine stay cool and reduce the internal friction that can occur. When the oil pump is bad or beginning to go bad, the temperature of your vehicle while you’re operating it will rise substantially. This is because the normal flow of oil is reduced and more friction can occur, which causes the heat in the engine to go up. There should be a heat light on your dashboard that will light up to indicate that this is an issue.
  • Noise From Within the Valve-Train– The entire valve-train system includes components that will keep the engine in your car running, aside from the hydraulic lifters there also includes pushrods, valve guides and seals as well. Each of these components rely on proper oil flow to stay lubricated so without the proper amounts of oil, they will begin to stop working properly or may begin to make noise. As the oil flow decreases because of a faulty oil pump, this can cause the valve-train as a whole to become extremely noisy when driving.

Oil pump life span

A properly working and functioning oil pump should usually last anywhere between 60,000-70,000 miles in a vehicle that has been well maintained. Usually on new cars there are warranties on parts and labor on pieces and parts like all of the pumps for at least a limited time, most factory warranties last around 12,000 miles but with proper maintenance the average driver won’t have any issues and most drivers can typically last 6 years or longer before an oil pump fails though that is dependent on the type of car you have along with your driving and service maintenance tendencies.

Overheated Car


The best way to prevent damages to the oil pump is by regularly scheduling and having the oil in your car changed. Oftentimes drivers will drive well past the recommended intervals for oil changes and while that is not the most harmful, avoiding stretching it out for too long as the debris and filaments that begin to collect in the oil can eventually start to affect the performance of your vehicle and the cleanliness of the components. Properly lubricating each piece of your engine is vital to clean, efficient running and by knowing which signs to look for that indicate potential issues in the oil pump will help keep you free of any unexpected damages or incidents, extending the life of your vehicle in the process.