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Oil Pump

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What is an engine oil pump and where is it located?

The oil pump in your car or truck plays an important role in keeping your engine lubricated and running smoothly — literally. Although there are various types of pump mechanisms used in oil pumps, they all serve the same purpose. The oil pump sucks motor oil under pressure up and out of the oil pan or sump which stores the oil, and pushes it through the engine to lubricate the pistons, camshafts, bearings and other moving parts of the engine. As the oil circulates, it passes through an oil filter that is in place to catch any large pieces of debris that may be present in the oil that would possibly damage the engine if they circulated freely. This dispersing of pressurized oil reduces friction caused which makes it easier for the parts to move while also protecting them from wear and tear, thus extending their lives. It also acts to remove heat from the pistons, bearings, and shafts as they move, which assists in keeping the parts from melting as well as cooling down the engine.

Oil pumps can be mechanically driven by the engine in many ways, including by the distributor gear, the timing belt or chain, the crankshaft, or off of the camshaft directly by gear. This powers the pumping action of the pump which draws the oil from the oil pan. In some cases the pump can be located outside of the engine block. More frequently, you will find it inside of the oil pan or behind the timing cover. It can also be part of the timing cover assembly as well.

How do I know if my oil pump needs to be replaced?

Basically, it is rare for an oil pump to fail in general as long as service is performed as needed (changing the oil, etc.), but if it does, it will most likely do so with little warning. However, one sign that there may be a problem with your oil pump would be if the low oil pressure light on your dashboard illuminates. That light can come on for a number of different reasons, though, so don’t jump immediately to the conclusion that the oil pump is the culprit. Low oil pressure might be a sign of a low oil level or that there are leaks somewhere in the lubrication system. The oil pressure light may also come on due to a malfunctioning oil pressure sender. A high engine temperature reading can also indicate a problem with the oil pump. If the pump isn’t getting enough oil to the moving parts of the engine, there will be higher friction than normal. This will cause the engine to heat up due to the increase in metal-on-metal contact. If the oil pump makes a whining noise, then there’s a good chance that the pump mechanism is wearing out. This is a sign you engine is seconds away from death, and impending disaster.

If you suspect there is a problem with your oil pump and you are mechanically inclined, you may opt to remove and inspect the pump. Sludge or debris inside the pump is a good sign that the pump has suffered some damage. You can also take measurements of the pump parts and see if they match the manufacturer’s specifications. Off measurements would indicate worn parts. 

Oil pumps can wear out or suffer damage for a number of reasons. Frequent oil changes will help prevent this. The pump has to work harder to move sludgy oil, which will wear it out. A low oil level will also cause the pump to overwork itself. Debris, particulate matter, or leaking gasoline in the oil can also wear down the pump’s mechanical parts.

Can I replace an automotive oil pump myself?

The process and difficulty of replacing the oil pump will vary from one model to another depending on the pump’s location. Overall though, it should be a doable task for the do-it-yourselfer. If the pump is externally mounted to the engine, you may have to remove other nearby parts to access it. If the oil pump is mounted inside the oil pan, you will need to drain the oil and remove the pan to get at the pump. You will want to thoroughly clean the oil pan and pickup tube before reinstalling it, and then refill the oil. 

Need an oil pump replacement?

Your vehicle’s engine needs to be properly lubricated when it’s running. Failing to do so will result in engine failure. While you may already know that you need to have a sufficient amount of oil in your engine in order to keep its parts lubricated, you may not know how this oil gets to where it needs to be. The oil pump is responsible for distributing the oil to the moving parts of the engine, and if it has failed, you will need a replacement oil pump as soon as possible. Luckily, 1A Auto carries a large selection of replacement oil pump assemblies for many makes and models, and at great prices!

At 1A Auto, we make shopping for a replacement engine oil pump assembly for your car, truck, SUV or van easy - we're here to help you select the right part for your vehicle! Call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about our automotive oil pumps, warranty, compatibility or to purchase, or you can buy online.

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