What happens if you unplug the oil pressure sensor? Find out here

The oil pressure sensor is normally located close to the bottom of the cylinder head that sits above the engine cylinders in the engine block. However, some manufacturers will install it on top of the cylinder head. Can you unplug an oil pressure sensor?

The short answer is yes you can. Just like other components of your engine, the oil pressure sensor isn’t permanently fixed to the engine. So you can easily unplug it even though this isn’t recommended.

It begs the question; what happens if you unplug the oil pressure sensor?

To answer the question, two things will happen, one of which is guaranteed to as long as your check engine light is working;

First, the check engine light will come on and stay on for as long as the sensor is out of its place. Second, your engine will lose the critical functionality of the oil pressure sensor, which is to monitor and warn you if the oil pressure is incorrect so that you take the appropriate action.

Notably, several issues can affect and disrupt the pressure including a bad oil pump, low oil, and improper oil viscosity that’s either too high or too low.

Other issues include a clogged oil filter and worn-out engine bearings that can be caused by many issues including natural wear and tear.

Can I Drive with the Oil Pressure Sensor Unplugged?

Sure you can as that won’t stop the engine’s capability to propel the car. However, you’ll have to contend with the check engine light that will keep on reminding you that something is wrong with your engine.

Most importantly, you’ll be putting the health of your engine at a huge risk. After all, you’ll not know if the engine oil pressure has gone from correct to incorrect and therefore needs attention to protect the health of your engine.

Keep in mind that an incorrect oil pressure may mean that the oil sump—the component that sends oil to different parts of the engine is not doing its job properly or at all.

That can lead to friction between the metal parts of your engine, resulting in serious damage. The crankshaft, camshaft, timing gears, and all other parts will grind against each other till your engine is no more.

Can the Oil Pressure Sensor Turn Off the Engine?

The short answer is yes. Unlike older switchless sensors, modern sensors are designed with a switch that enables them to stall the engine by turning off electrical power to the fuel pump. Don’t worry, it’s a great thing that helps keep your engine safe from internal damage if the oil pressure is low.

However, the sensor could also behave erratically to stall your engine even if there’s no problem with the oil pressure. After all, any engine component is prone to failure for no reason.

The problem with such a sensor is that it can get stuck, preventing your engine from starting. This may need an intervention.

Can the Oil Pressure Sensor be Bypassed?

The most common intervention for a stuck oil pressure sensor is bypassing. There’s a way in which the oil pressure sensor can be bypassed to allow the engine to start again.

It’s a very simple procedure that involves removing and taping the wire from the switch so that it can’t touch the ground electrically.

Keep in mind that the sensor works by allowing ground through the switch, which then disables the ignition. This procedure prevents electrical grounding, which denies the switch the chance to disable the ignition that could otherwise prevent the engine from starting.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Oil Pressure Sensor?

Bypassing is not the best way to deal with a faulty oil pressure sensor. Replacing the sensor is, and the good news is that this procedure is relatively affordable.

According to current prices, you can expect to pay between $45 – $55 and $220 – $260 for it on average, depending on your car model and the cost of labor. The sensor can cost between $35 and $120 and labor can cost between $25 and $150.


The oil pressure sensor is a tiny component of your engine that plays a vital role in keeping your engine running. The process of lubrication of your engine’s vital components starts with it triggering the oil pump to pick up oil from the oil pan and pump it with high pressure to those components.

While the sensor is easy to remove, tampering with it is not recommended as doing so can easily cause the pressure pump and other directly related components from performing their roles as expected.

This can cause friction on every component that requires lubrication, resulting in significant damage to your engine that may cost you a lot of money to repair.

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