Oil Gauge dropping to Zero

Asked by Nov 19, 2013 at 02:21 PM about the 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe LS

Question type: General

Just the other day I noticed my oil pressure gauge at Zero, I pulled over, and turned off the taho for 15-20mins, then checked the oil.  The level is at full, and it's nice and clear as I had it changed about a month ago.  What is wrong.

54 Answers

4,505

oil pressure sending unit has probably gone bad.

2 people found this helpful.
19,495

Check to make sure your connections to the sending unit are tight. Then check for cracks or nicks in the wiring leading to the gauge.IF you do not find any lose connections and the wire is good, I'd try changing out the sending unit. Does your gauge work normal on start up? When does this disturbing reading occur? After the motor is warmed up, on acceleration, or driving on the highway on smooth roads or in town crossing RXR tracks? If it is on a bumpy road or going over a bump, it may indicate a lose wire. If all the above does not fix the problem, next will be to have the gauge itself checked. Make sure the wire to the gauge is secure also.

11 people found this helpful.
10

sounds like a bad oil pump too if the rest is ok

1 people found this helpful.
19,495

TTsinnie, have you found the problem yet?

5 people found this helpful.
80

PROBABLY going to be the oil pressure sensor. BUT it may be the oil pump going bad. My friend thought it was just a sensor and it was the pump going out. It cost him $8,000 for a new corvette engine,,, so be sure it is just a sensor.

2 people found this helpful.
19,495

If it is a 2013 Taho, it should be under warranty for the oil pump. Have the service writer look at it and make sure it is entirely covered under warranty. I agree it may be the oil sensor sending unit on a vehicle this new. Also if they just changed oil, use the reset button and see if that helps eliminate the issue. If you fixed it or got it corrected, let us know. It helps everyone all around.

7 people found this helpful.
20

how about when the oil pressure gauge goes up when i accelerate?

2 people found this helpful.
19,495

al5877. Goes up starting from where? The increase speed works the oil pump faster, so more oil is sent throughout the engine. This increases the pressure and the gauge should indicate it. More information on what you are wanting to know.

4 people found this helpful.
160

I have a 2005 Tahoe and it doing the same thing. Low oil light and low oil pressure at the gauge. I've replaced the oil pressure sending unit, looks like a small spark plug located in the back of the engine. It was a real pain in the a to replace this. Still doing the same thing. When I start the pressure is a 40 and driving around town the pressure drops to 3. It's at normal pressure when driving only. Any thoughts on the next parts to replace. Thanks.

7 people found this helpful.
19,495

phc77067, You should have your engine pressure tested for low pressure in the cylinders. Also have the oil checked for metal shavings and or other fluids An 11 year old engine, with unknown history may be tired and you have bearings wearing out. There is no maintain history so if you go way over the oil changing recommendation, you are pushing dirty oil through the engine. If you are meticulous in engine maintenance, it may be something else like a bad gauge? It is a pain to change the sensor but new ones have been known to fail when put in. For now, go to a 40 weight oil and add some additives like STP to thicken up the oil. It wouldn't hurt to change the oil and filter right away. Have the oil analyzed. Cam bearings also can go our and do what you describe.

5 people found this helpful.
19,495

I just found this posted on another person suffering from low oil pressure. He claims to be a GM tech and I'll pass it along. Woody: answered. I am a gm tech and I see this problem all the time. The 5.3 had a check valve in the oil pan that sticks from time to time especially on cold mornings.You must remove oil pan to replace it.It's called a pressure relief valve and there is a great utube video that's explains it and shows you how to do it without removing the pump. I hope this helps and if anyone else out there can cut and paste, it seems very helpful. JC

14 people found this helpful.
160

Great will try this. Thanks!

1 people found this helpful.
20

I just bought a 2008 GMC yukon xl The oil pressure goes down and the light turns on...we changed the oil put a new sensor on and that didn't fixed it....any idea what the problem could be???

2 people found this helpful.
160

Ok, I had the same problem with my 2005 Tahoe. Check and replace the cheapest parts first. Oil pressure sensor, looks like a small spark plug located in the back of the engine front of the transmission. Second, replace it with better oil filter, not the ones they use at the oil place. Third, go with thicker oil, like high mileage oil. That way you can get better oil pressure. If all that fails, than...here's the bad news. Replace oil pump, clean out oil pan, and clean out oil pick up tube. If that doesn't work, here’s the real bad news...your cam bearing is bad. It the bearing that looks like U, there are several of them and on the center there are grooved in them to let oil pass as pressure builds up in the engine. Once the grooves are worn, no oil can pass, so no oil pressure. Basically it's a whole engine rebuild. What makes me mad is GM used cheap cam bearings and it wore down even though I changed my oil every 3000 miles. Bought my Tahoe new, now its got 200,000 miles on it. Everything is still like new, love the car, drives very nice, and so I got my engine rebuilt to fix the problem. It’s all-good, now I just need to put in 200,000 miles more and we’ll call it even. Sorry Chevy, I won’t be buying a new car anytime soon.

4 people found this helpful.
40

phc77064, Great information! Question though: When was your pressure dropping? I had to replace my oil pressure sensor. Now whenever my 2005 Tahoe is idling, uphill, (warming up in our driveway) pressure drops, and bells start dinging. Once I back out and am on level ground, it goes back to normal. I do know I have a small leak and have to replace oil pan gasket, but never an issue before. Should I still consider all the suggestions you posted? Or could it be something else, as it's only on an incline? We also purchased Tahoe brand new, she's 12 years old this month and has about 175k miles on it, with regular, dealer oil changes. Currently using Mobil 5w 30.

3 people found this helpful.
160

ProTow If everything else doesn't work, than it's your bad cam bearings. My oil pressure drops when it warms up. Oil pressure is high when cold start but driving around and warms up that's when pressure drops. I've even drove it around with low oil pressure till I saved enough money for engine rebuilt. I took a chance but engine didn't knock, didn't have high temperature, and didn't even have oil burning. I disconnected the warning bell and drive it around till I saved enough money. I don't recommend you do this unless you're willing to take a chance all or nothing chance. See with engine running, it's worth something but with engine blow, it's worth nothing. Know what I mean. Check the followings: Oil pressure sensor Oil pan, oil pump, oil pick up screen (all in same area) Oil pressure Guage. (look at your local Craigs list and find guage cluster repairman) 2005 gauges have new system not like old school gauges but new state of art type diode circuit board type. They can check to see if your getting right current and so on the see if it working. New oil and filter change, thick high mileage oil. That way the thicker oil can close up the gap between the engine moving parts. Last if non of the above works than you have bad cam bearing like I did. Meaning engine rebuild. Find a local guy who knows how to rebuild engine and make a deal with him or her. I gave my guy a case a beer and $1500 cash to do the job. If you took care of your car like I did than nothing else should be replaced except cam bearing. It's all labor, cam bearings are cheap. You can order them from auto stores like summit and so on. Cam bearing have small grooves in the middle to let the oil flow as it runs. As the groves wear out you get low or no oil pressure build up like in our case, but when you run fast like on highways it forces it to build pressure no mater what, with all other mentioned above working correctly. Once the new cam bearings are replaced it will create oil pressure because of the grooves where oil can pass at low rpm. Hope this helps and it's up to you if you want to keep the car or sell it. I took really good care of mine so it was worth fixing it.

1 people found this helpful.
40

Thanks. I definitely don't want to take my chances blowing the engine. I'm driving her for one more year, then passing her onto my daughter. So trying to keep her in good shape. I understand all the possible reasons for low oil pressure. I was hoping that the fact that it ONLY happens when vehicle is on an incline, would be s definite indicator of the specific problem. However, I have scoured the Internet, and not found any link to low oil pressure on an incline. I've seen the question asked before. But no answer other than the usual possibilities. I guess my next step is to take it in and have an oil pressure test done? I have to have the oil pan gasket replaced. Been putting it off, since it's such a tiny leak, but I guess, if they gotta get in there for that, might as well have the oil pump looked at. Could be bunked up screen or intake tube, or o-ring, or oil pressure valve in the component. She is 12 years old. Stuff is gonna start wearing out. I'm just crossing my fingers it's not any of the bearings. Unfortunately, my check engine light just came on. Emission system too lean. (Bank 2),so that could be any number of things. Vacuum lines, leaky exhaust gasket, fuel injection issues, fuel pump, fuel filter.... I haven't seen anything online to suggest the two are related. Oil pressure problem has been happening for a little while. Code for emissions just came up last weekend when my hubby used my car to tow the boat down to get new tires. He got it up to 50-60mph. And I did see something about towing. But it's been parked all week (on level ground) and when I go out and start her up, check engine light is still on. Not sure if I should disconnect the battery to clear the code, and see if it doesn't come on again bcuz it was related to the towing, or not. She is old and I'm sure it's something. I'm probably looking at about $3000 of I take her to the dealer. Oil pan gasket quote was $600, and a new oil pump is $900-1200. (Even though the part is only about $200.) then whatever this check engine light problem is... But, I guess it's better than a new car pmt. I don't like to pay someone to fix stuff I can do myself. I can fix the little stuff myself. Have replaced the oil pressure sending unit, the radiator overflow tank, and the blower motor and new wiring harness. But I can't tackle the big stuff. So, $$$

1 people found this helpful.
40

I've got a great mechanic friend in my old town, but doubt I should drive her 230 miles to get it to him. And he's probably busy, beings he's the mechanic for CDF. Don't know anybody here, so I've gotta trust in the expensive local Chevy dealer.

19,495

Pro Tow, Just a hunch, give your great mechanic a ding-a-ling and see if he knows someone that can help you out in your area. These grease monkeys are sometimes thicker than ticks on a coon hound. Just a thought. Your local GM/chevy mech can do the job, but at a greater charge. They are good mechanics, but they work under corporate restrictions, and policy is done by committee. If you ever worked for an organization, military or any government that rules by committee, you'll know where I'm coming from. Worth a call anyway.

3 people found this helpful.
20

My 2005 GMC will lose oil pressure at highway speeds when if the RPM increases. Would drop from 80 to 40 now drops from 80 to 0. Any thoughts.

2 people found this helpful.
19,495

Guru9RXMR, read my post from 9 months ago. You may have a filter to the oil pump that is blocked or near stop up. I sometimes wonder if the newer oil does not have the detergent cleaning ability as the older motor oils have. Perhaps drain all the oil out, change filters, and fill it up with non-syntactic oil, and add a cleaning detergent made for engines to resolve the slugs build up. Run it for about an hour, then do a complete oil change with new oil filter. Put in what GM recommends for oil, and run it. If that helps, I recommend another oil change after 1000 miles to remove all the oil bunk cleaner out of the system. It will cones some money, but better than the cost of having the pan removed, or a new engine. Iy you have a good trusted mechanic, talk to him, (an old guy) and ask about his method of inside engine cleanup. In our old farm tractors, we'd put in pure kerosene and run it for ten minutes or less. Drain it out, put in oil, run it for ten minutes, drain it out, and refill with good oil. Kerosene will dry out the oil from the bearings, so be careful even with a cup of it. This is the old mechanics way, but there may be something better on the market, maybe from STP or someone else.

3 people found this helpful.

I have an 96 Tahoe was driving down rd an it looses power and dies out. Then wouldn't start every now and then it would start for a couple seconds but it ran and idles really rough and it would die back out it wouldn't start at all searching and diagnosing certain issues realized I had gas in the oil replace the oil pressure sensor I'm still wouldn't start check the spark plugs and they was all black and jumped up with sludge looking stuff after replacing and vehicle started but runs and idles rough again and I have no oil pressure now for a lost power and died out it ran perfectly fine any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated

Do you remember what the issue was? I am having same troubles with a 2008 Yukon Hybrid. Says oil pressure low on monitor & to shut off engine. Just bought it so trying to save this small business owner some money. It just came out of the shop & got a new module. Drove it last night & happened again. It will happen on the highway. Wish I could post video's here showing you all. With two small children I have no choice but to drive it home.

19,495

Gmc_08. This sounds like a sensor issue. How many miles do you have on the Yukon? Little/small business or not, If the vehicle is defective, it's best for him to get it right, or you take a chance of spending money for a new motor? Did you buy car repair insurance? If so, is that covered? If not, I personally feel it is money well spent. Only once have I not gotten my money out of the repair insurance due to having a great running car. There also is a filter inside the oil pan that has been know to plug up and give incorrect readings. It requires removing the oil pan and physically cleaning the gunk from the filter/oil plug hole. Have your mech. look into that also. Good luck, and let us know.

3 people found this helpful.
10

Try the oil pick up tube o ring. You have to drop the oil pan and disconnect the pick up tube from the oil pump. If the pick up tube o ring is loose in and out there is the problem. Think of sucking from a straw with a hole in it. Same scenario

1 people found this helpful.

Absolutely! Just saved $1,000.00 having not to replace oil pump. Simply the Old ring!! 60 lbs oil pressure running-35 idle. I'm pleased-thanjs for the advice!

10

I have a problem simillar to this. It's a 2007 Tahoe. The oil gauge does not work but the oil pressue light goes out when I start the engine. I can drive it all day long and it runs fine. I wonder if it is just the gauge that is bad. I wonder if the sending unit could be bad and working just for the light and not for the guage?

1 people found this helpful.
19,495

You can have the sending unit tested. If it is good, check the gage ground or wiring. Nothing says the gage can't go bad. Winter weather is hell on vehicles. Summer weather is hell on vehicles. L:et's only drive in the spring and fall!

1 people found this helpful.

When I start my engine up the oil pressure gauge reads normal after driving an hour the oil pressure start going down I change the oil pressure sending unit change the oil I still do the same thing reach 0 when I turn off the car and start being normal again

19,495

You gave no information on the year of your car. Older cars like mine, (69 Corvette) has a oil hose, very small, running from the engine sensor to the gauge itself. If that is the case of yours, you may have a pin hole leak in the hose. Easy to find. Use a white Kleenex and rub along the hose, checking often, to see if you have a leak. If not, you may have a bad gauge or connection. If it is not always going bad, it is hard to pinpoint. You may think of putting on another sensor at another spot, and compare the two when the original one acts up. If you still show good pressure on the secondary one, the problem is not the engine. Change the wiring first, it's easier and cheaper. It also could be a computer glitch.

1 people found this helpful.

I have a 2007 Chevy Suburban and a sensor light came on and said “turn off engine oil pressure low” my husband checked it and it was a little low but nothing alarming. Now when I drive i see my oil preasure guage go down. I haven’t had the light come on again, yet....if the oil Gauge gets low all we do is turn the car off and turn it back on and it resets. Is anybody have any ideas on this?

19,495

Have the codes checked. It may tell you there is a bad sensor or the computer module is going out. If you have a bad reading and reset it and it is now good, it is not the engine. Make sure the oil filter is changed, and check the oil for dirty sludge. It may be an internal filter need of cleaning by dropping the oil pan and the oil pick up filter may be plugged.

3 people found this helpful.

Thank you! I will take it in and check the codes. I’ll let you know what comes of this. The place I purchased my Suburban from said Chevy is notorious for burning oil quick....is that something you have noticed or are they feeding me a line of BS?

19,495

Gur5FWS4. Read other posts in this forum and you'll find a few Chevy Mechs, posting that there is a filter leading to the top of the engine that may clog up, and the only way to clear it is to drop the pan, and clear it out. That dunking up will send bad reading on the engine oil pressure. That would be the last thing to do as it will cost quite a few bucks. BS? No my friend, not on this blog. There are many people here to help people, and anyone found spreading BS, not scars at times, will be dealt with. Do your research on here, looking for low oil pressure reading. You can quickly weed out the BS from fact. Sorry if you felt my advice was off key. Sensors do go out for several reasons and replacement ones are not reliable as factory ones. You get what you pay for. If you have to pick from a well known brand vs. one from a Jr. High sweat shop in China for less money, spend the bucks.

3 people found this helpful.

Oh No!!!! John, not your advice! I don't think YOUR advice is BS!!! I am talking about the advice from the dealer I bought my vehicle from. I had my Suburban in there like 3 times within the first 6 months of buying it telling them my Suburban was burning through oil fast and they told me that "Chevy's just burn through oil as they get older." I am not doubting your advice or anyone on here, in fact quit the opposite! I feel like on here I get honest, straight forward helpful advice! I am so sorry for the misunderstanding.....

19,495

Guru5FWS4, No problem my friend. What is common on GMengines starting back in the mid 90s, is the chevy/GM gaskets leak. Is there any oil spots under you vehicle where you park it? My wife MBZ was leaking oil slowly and it was burning on the exhaust so no oil got to the floor. I replaced the valve cover gaskets (common source for leaks on GM engines) and it took care of it. If you can, or have a mechanic go through the engine and see if there is an area that appears to be losing oil. Sometimes it's as simple as the oil filter was not put in correct, or even when changing it, the old oil ring was not removed so double rings created an oil leak. Check the exhaust pipes. Take a clean white paper towel and swipe the exhaust pipe and if it is very black you may be turning oil. Clogged oil ports can bet clogged up and it puts oil into the piston area which of course removes oil from the engine. Spending a bit of money to have the engine checked professionally, ($200 to $300-maybe) is better than replacing or overhauling the engine. If it is mid milage, it should not be worn out.

1 people found this helpful.

This guy's right I had the same problem on my truck actually when I bought it off of used car lot it was in great condition but I was only getting about 10 lb of pressure and I can hear one of my rockers tapping they took it across the street and fix the sending unit in about 10 minutes it's right beside your oil filter under your truck

I have a 2000 chevy tahoe i just had the trans rebuilt and the mechanic also replaced the rear main seal a gasket around filter/oil pan was leaking and a gasket in the back was leaking he replaced all that. $1,900 later same day after driving home and then leaving again my oil pressure gauge was dropping from 40 to 20 then 20 to almost 0 and it started having a knock to it like it needed oil. Day 2 after driving awhile oil pressure gauge would drop to 0 then go back up like it would jump and when hitting 0 it said check engine oil pressure. What could this be?

19,495

AskTrannyMan, Thank friend. This common problem has had the filter under the sensor mentioned a few times. Everyone that got that advice has not answered back to tell if it was a fix. I recall one person, a GM mech. stated the oil pan needed to be pulled to remove, clean, or replace the filter. Do you know if it is true?

2 people found this helpful.

I have done everything except the screen to resolve the issue. I have an 08 xl Yukon , flex with afm. I’ve done pump, pan , all new lifters, cam, afm valley pan etc. will the intake have or valley pan have to be removed to clean this screen? It has good pressure on startup but drops out during my test drives in the city.

19,495

Please read the entries above about the screen. An O ring pick is what is needed. I bet if that is the problem solver, a twinge of anger over all the money spent on replacing items will creep in. Over the past decade this issue came up, and just a few years ago, this possible solution was given. Thanks to AskTrannyMan, it's explained again. I gave the information to my mechanic, who can repair anything, and he said none of his clients have the problem because he changes their oil on time. Not so, crud gets into a gasoline engine from many sources. Cheep filters may also be at issue. I always say, cut on cost and quality, and it will cost a ton more3 in the long run, unless you lease and turn it in every few years.

1 people found this helpful.

There was a new screen installed on the afm valley pan that I installed new. I changed the sending unit again just to ensure it wasn’t bad. It gets 40+ psi on startup and will idle at @ 20+- after warm . After @30 minutes running it dropped to about 8/10 psi and I shut it down. The pressure will rise on throttle engagement, but at a lower range when warm. I did read all the entries in full. I am going to try a new filter, I have a Mobil 1 filter on it currently. I’m hoping it might be somewhat restricted from assembly? The other thing you had stated was cam bearings. I’m not sure if that is applicable to this engine but I do need to resolve this. I will check in after filter replacement. I will also try a manual gauge but the response in the gauge cluster makes me assume it is functioning properly. Thank you for the input so far!

19,495

Slammer1979, What weight oil do you have in the engine? In my 69 Corvette I use Valvoline 50 weight racing oil. No issues, but I don't think my engine has the screen. Because I have it built, it runs hot, so I put in the heavier oil. The more horses, the hotter the bar gets. Some people recommend 10W30. Put in 30 weight, or 25/40 weight and up and see if that helps low end pressure.

1 people found this helpful.

Screen was clean, changed it anyways. Another new sending unit, another oil change. It seems to be holding at 33psi + or so at idle all the way warm. Which kind of seems low but am hopeful it is good. Thanks all... I’ll post if any change. The reason for the oil change is because I read the spring in the filter can jam from particles from all the internal work..? I’ve never heard of this..

5w30 Mobil 1 is what I use every time

19,495

Slammer1979, Call me old fashion, but 5 weight is for sub zero temperatures. Up the weight and see how that works.

1 people found this helpful.

I’m in Michigan which isn’t quite sub zero but I’ll go with a 10 weight next time around again thanks for the input and I’ll post any new news

19,495

Try Iowa or the Dakotas. Now that's cold. In the 50s, we put 5 weight oil in the tractors and kerosene to thin it out. Just a little bit to thin the oil.

1 people found this helpful.

I have a 2007 Chevy suburban. I had the issue of loosing oil pressure and all the lights coming on to tell me to shut it off and all. Ended up being a collapsed lifter. Hope that might help.

HIS80 did the engine make any noise or knock?

Hey guys, thanks for all the great info and places to start with my problem on my 04 Chevy Suburban, gonna change my oil again to a thicker weight I have been using the Mobil 1 5w20 synthetic oil and any ol oil filter because I thought they were all made the same. Stupid me, so if I’m understanding correctly, use thicker oil like a 10w30 and good oil filter? But do I need to drop the synthetic oil?

It a Tahoe not Suburban. Don’t think that makes a difference on a 5.3l

Fixed my oil pressure problem by first replacing the driver's side valve cover with the updated version. Ran SeaFoam in the oil for about 100 miles, then changed to 10w30. Knock on wood, the POS appears to be happy now. GM released service bulletin 10-06-01- 008F to address the issue of excessive oil consumption.

I have a 2007 Chevy Silverado and the oil gage won't come off of 0

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