Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
John asks: I have a 2000 Ford Ranger, 4.0L. The oil pressure gauge, when off throttle, rapidly falls to low pressure then to normal. It returns to regular operation when I open the throttle (or increase the RPM). Could this be a faulty gauge or sending unit?
My reply: Most modern cars have electronic gauges – i.e., they receive a signal (from the sending unit) and this is translated into a reading on the gauge.
It is more likely than not that an erratic reading is the result of a sending unit problem or the gauge itself rather than a mechanical problem with the engine/oiling system.
However, oiling problems can be very serious problems and should never be taken lightly.
I would avoid even running the engine until I knew the oil pressure was ok.
First, check the oil level. Sounds simple – and it is. But people sometimes forget and the engine gradually runs low due to routine consumption and that can easily trigger a noticeable change in the way the gauge reads – as well as bigger problems to come, if you don’t top it off!
Next, check the sender – and wiring – and the gauge itself. I’d start with the sender because it’s easier and more likely to be the source of your problems.
But, whatever you do first, avoid running the engine until you figure out why the gauge is reading erratically!
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