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Oil Pressure Gauge (5)

The function of an oil pressure gauge is to display the pressure of the oil being supplied to the engine lubrication system.

The mechanical gauge mechanism consists of a flat tube which is bent to form a semi-circle. One end of the tube is fixed and is connected to the pressurised oil supply. The free end of the tube is connected to a pointer by a linkage which is so arranged as to produce a large movement of the pointer for a correspondingly small movement of the tube. As the oil pressure increases, the tube tends to straighten and the movement is transmitted to the pointer, which indicates the pressure on an appropriate scale.

The oil pressure warning light, which is fitted to most cars, is extinguished when the oil pressure exceeds a few pounds per square inch. It provides no indication of variations in oil pressure which may occur, above the minimum pressure at which it operates; because it operates at a low pressure of about seven pounds per square inch it may not provide an indication of a fault before damage has occurred.

Conversely, an oil pressure gauge provides a constant indication, instantly showing the reduction in oil pressure if anything goes wrong with the oil supply, so enabling a driver to stop before any damage occurs.