If your oil light is winking at you, don’t assume you need a new oil pump. Instead, head right for the oil pressure switch (usually located near the oil filter). If you can’t find yours, consult a shop manual. Know what to do if any of these warning lights come on in your car.
Oil pressure switches are notorious for leaking as they age. When that happens, they send erroneous data to the computer, and you end up with a glowing “oil” light. First, perform a visual check of the switch. If you see fresh oil on it (and it’s not leaking from another component above it), it’s toast. Replace it. Even if the old unit is dry, it can still be bad. Since a new oil pressure switch costs about $15, it’s usually cheaper to replace it yourself than to pay a pro to diagnose it.
However, you will need a special socket. None of your present deep sockets will fit over the sending unit. Buy just a single sending unit socket (Lisle 13250 Oil Pressure Switch Socket; $6 at amazon.com) or a complete set with all the sockets you need to replace oil pressure sending units and oxygen sensors (ATD-5663 7-Piece Oxygen Sensor & Sending Unit set; $52 at amazon.com).
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