Can a Bad Head Gasket Cause Low Oil Pressure?

by Lissabeth Ross

Troubleshooting automotive problems can be difficult since so many different makes and models of cars have their own quirks. There are a number of problems that can cause a low oil pressure reading. Likewise, there are a few different symptoms of a blown head gasket.

Detecting a Bad Head Gasket

While some warning signs of a bad head gasket can only be detected with special tools, there are two telltale signs that a head gasket has gone bad. The first is a cloud of white smoke exiting the exhaust. The second is a whitish sludge in the oil caused by water and antifreeze mixing with the oil. Since a bad head gasket can cause a vehicle to overheat, you should check for these warning signs if you have experienced problems with your car overheating.

Causes of Low Oil Pressure

Low oil pressure can be caused by a number of problems, including inaccurate gauge or sending unit; thin oil due to poor oil quality; excessive oil pressure; broken oil pressure relief spring; oil inlet tube restriction or leak; or excessive oil pump or camshaft clearance.

Head Gaskets and Low Oil Pressure

While the main effect of a bad head gasket on your engine oil will be water or antifreeze getting into your oil, a secondary result could be low oil pressure due to continued engine overheating.

About the Author

Lissabeth Ross began her career in journalism in 2005 as a staff writer for the "Journal of the Pocono Plateau." In addition to writing for several different newspapers, she served as the editor of the travel publication "News of The Poconos." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Rutgers University.