How To Replace A Vehicle's Oil Sensor

Oils in your vehicle protect the working engine parts from producing friction. If your oil sensor detects low oil, it lets you know by turning on the light. 

However, the sensor can fail. Some common signs of faulty oil sensors include continuous blinking, incorrect oil gauge reading, and erratic reporting, such as from high to low or low to high. You should be able to replace the sensor yourself by following these tips. 

Prepare to Replace the Oil Sensor

To replace the oil sensor, gather:

  • work gloves
  • eye goggles
  • shop towels
  • wrench extender handle
  • socket wrench  or screwdriver set
  • oil filter wrench 
  • basin
  • thread seal tape
  • fresh oil
  • new oil filter (optional)
  • new oil sensor

Turn off the engine, and let it cool. Prop the hood, and find the oil sensor, which is commonly on the engine block or cylinder heads. Consult your manual, if you have trouble finding the sensor.

Remove the Old Sensor

Slide a bucket or basin under the oil pan, and detach the oil pan plug with the wrench. Use the oil filter wrench to remove the oil filter so that you can access the sensor better.

The sensor has a cable or electrical harness. It may help to snap a photo to help you recall how wires connect. Pull the rubber boot slightly from the switch, and depress the locking tabs to remove the wire harness. 

If the wires are hard to remove, try removing them with a small screwdriver. After the harness has been disconnected, use the shop towel to clean the connectors.

Attach an extender handle to the correct-size socket wrench, and loosen the sensor slightly. Finish unscrewing the sensor by hand, cleaning up oil spills.

Install the New Sensor

Use the old sensor as a guide to buying a replacement that has the same diameter and pitch. It is also ideal to buy a new oil filter if you haven't replaced it in a long time. Thread sealant suitable for petroleum-based products is needed because the sensor installs in a location that has pressurized oil.  

Dip a gloved finger in the drained oil, spread it on the new filter, then reinstall the filter and oil plug. Install the sensor by hand until you can't twist it anymore, then finish with the correct socket and wrench.  

Reinstall the electrical harness, ensuring it seats properly, and secure the tabs. Fill your engine with new oil using the kind suggested by your manual. 

Test the oil sensor by starting the engine, giving five to ten second for oil pressure to build. If there is no pressure reading, the light still stays on, or you hear strange noises get the vehicle serviced.

Contact a company like Felix's Auto Repair & Towing for more information and assistance.