Why Oil Pressure Drops When Braking [Reasons + Solutions]

The usual causes of oil pressure drops when braking are low oil level, coolant leaking in oil, faulty oil pressure sensor, damaged oil pickup tube, leaking engine oil, carbon loaded oil filter, stuck pressure relief valve, and damaged bearings.

Keep reading this article to find out more about these issues in detail and learn how you can solve your low oil pressure problem. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Why Oil Pressure Drops When Braking [Reasons + Solutions]

What causes oil pressure to drop when you brake? That’s the question we’ll answer in this section. Let’s look at the reasons why the oil pressure gauge drops to zero when braking and how to fix low oil pressure.

1. Low Oil Level

The first thing that you should check if the oil light comes on when braking is the oil level of your vehicle. If you’re running low on oil, the engine won’t get enough oil to lubricate properly and it’ll cause low oil pressure.


Check the oil level of your vehicle using a dipstick. If the oil level is low, refill your engine oil by draining the old oil and filling it with new oil of the correct viscosity. Replace your oil filter as well when you do the oil change.

2. Coolant Leaking In Oil

Coolant has a viscosity that is similar to water. Sometimes, the coolant can leak into the oil and cause the oil to become thin. The oil pressure automatically drops when that happens.

A common indicator of coolant leaking into your oil is that you’ll have too much oil. There will also be rust on your dipstick and the color of the oil will change into a grayish color.


The problem can be anything from a small crack in the coolant to a full-blown head gasket. You need to address this issue and get it fixed as soon as possible. Otherwise, it can damage the engine bearings.

3. Faulty Oil Pressure Sensor

If there’s nothing wrong with your engine, the sensor can still get a false reading and show that the oil pressure is too low. If your engine doesn’t make any rattling noises, there’s a good chance that the oil pressure is okay, and it’s the sensor that has gone bad.

If you want to be sure, you can get a manual gauge to check the oil pressure. Connect it to the oil pressure sending unit and compare the results of the manual gauge and the oil pressure sensor.

If the readings are close to each other, that means the oil pressure sensor is fine. But if there is a major difference between the two readings, the oil pressure sensor has most likely been damaged.


The oil pressure sensor needs to be replaced when it becomes faulty. Thankfully, replacing the oil pressure sensor is an easy job and you can do it on your own without the help of a mechanic.

oil pressure sensor

You have to locate the oil pressure sensor first. Usually, it sits on the top of the cylinder head or the engine block. Take out the old sensor and put the new one in its place. All there’s left to do is to check the oil pressure and see if your problem has been sorted.

4. Damaged Oil Pickup Tube

The oil pump takes the oil from the reservoir or oil pan and supplies it to the oil pump. If the oil pickup tube is broken or damaged, it won’t supply enough oil to the oil pump and it’ll cause low oil pressure.

The same problem can be caused if the pickup tube has fallen off. If the oil pressure light illuminates when you’re braking, the most likely culprit is a  faulty oil pickup tube. 


The oil pickup tube is located right next to the oil pan. Check if it is in the right condition and see if it’s broken or not. Replace the damaged oil pickup tube with a new one if it’s broken and that’ll fix your problem.

5. Leaking Engine Oil

If you find your engine oil pressure dropping while driving, it could be due to leakage. The gaskets, seals, and oil plugs can leak oil as they get worn with time. The leaks are made worse if you like to rev up your engine with high oil pressure.

Improper maintenance can also lead to the wear and tear of these components and cause oil leakage. If the oil leaks, there won’t be enough oil to create a decent oil pressure, and then you’ll get a low oil pressure problem.


You can check if your engine is leaking oil by placing a piece of light-colored paper at the bottom of your car. If any light brown fluid accumulates under the car, you have a problem with leaking oil.

If there’s an oil leak, it’s a good idea to take it to a mechanic as the oil leak could come from one of the many components in an engine. He’ll be able to diagnose the problem and solve it for you.

6. Carbon-Loaded Oil Filter

If you’ve been running your vehicle for a while, you may have loaded your oil filter with carbon. It means burnt oil and blow-by have filled your oil filter.

carbon loaded oil filter

If you have a high output of blow-by when you’re idling, that’s a good sign of a bad oil filter.


Change your oil filter and oil to fix this issue. If the blow-by reduces after replacing the oil filter, that means the oil pressure will go back to normal as it was the reason for the low oil pressure.

7. Stuck Pressure Relief Valve

The components of the engine are protected by the pressure relief valve. It reduces the oil pressure when the oil viscosity is too high so that too much pressure isn’t applied to the components of the engine.

But if the PRV is stuck open, it can reduce the oil pressure. If the check gauges light comes on when you stop your vehicle, it can be because of a stuck PRV.


It’s easy to change the pressure relief valves and you don’t need to disturb too many components to access them. The PRV sits on the oil filter base and you can easily replace it with a new one to solve your issue.

8. Bad Oil Pump

If the other reasons mentioned aren’t causing the problem, it could be the oil pump that’s causing the problem. If the oil pump fails, the components of the engine won’t get sufficient oil and they won’t be lubricated well.


Replacing the oil pump is the only solution in this case. Unfortunately, you can’t tell if the problem is being caused by the oil pump unless you change it. Check the other issues before replacing the oil pump as it can get expensive.

9. Damaged Bearings

The bearings can get scratched and damaged with time. As they get worn out, the gap between them and the adjacent components increases. It causes the oil pressure to drop.

car engine bearing

To inspect if your bearings have been damaged, cut open your oil filter. If you find pieces of metal in it, there’s a good chance that the bearings have gone bad.


The bearings have to be replaced to fix this issue. Unfortunately, it can be expensive to replace the bearings and you may also need to rebuild your engine to get new bearings.

Not replacing your oil when required can cause or increase bearing damage. So, change your oil at regular intervals to prevent this issue and save yourself from spending a lot of money on an engine rebuild.

Why Oil Pressure Drops When Braking Dodge Ram?

In addition to the causes already mentioned, a dirty throttle body or valve can also cause low oil pressure in a Dodge Ram. The valve cannot return to its original position when it’s dirty and that causes the engine to stall.

dirty throttle body

The engine stalls and triggers the warning message that the oil pressure is low and the car should be turned off. Removing and cleaning the throttle components will get the engine back to normal and fix the oil pressure issue.


Is it normal for pressure to drop when braking?

The more you rev your engine, the higher the oil pressure will be. So, it’s normal for the oil pressure to drop when braking. But if it drops too low like lower than 20 PSi, then that’s not normal.

Is it okay to mix new oil with old oil?

It’s okay to mix new oil with the old oil if they have the same viscosity and brand. But it’s not safe to do it if the old oil is already due for an oil change.

What is oil pressure low meaning?

Low oil pressure means that the components of your engine aren’t getting enough oil to be lubricated properly. The components will collide with each other and become damaged if this issue isn’t solved ASAP.

Why does my low oil pressure warning light come on and off?

The low oil pressure light comes on to indicate that the engine isn’t getting enough oil pressure. It is usually caused by a low level of oil or a faulty oil pressure sensor.

Why does my oil gauge go down when I stop?

The oil gauge comes down when you stop because it doesn’t need as much oil when you’re driving. You don’t have to be concerned if this happens as it’s completely normal.

Is it okay if oil pressure drops at idle?

It’s normal for the oil pressure to drop when you’re idling but it shouldn’t get lower than 20 psi. Anything under that is a cause of concern and you shouldn’t drive your vehicle in that condition.

What does Honda Accord oil light flashing mean?

A blinking oil light Honda Accord means that the oil pressure was low for a brief moment and then it was rectified. A low level of oil can cause this problem. Top off your engine oil to get rid of this warning light.


Now that you know the real reasons why the oil pressure drops when braking, you can take the guesswork out of the way and solve your problem.

Routine maintenance of your vehicle and changing your engine oil when required will maximize the longevity of your engine and keep this problem at bay. Drop a comment below if you have any questions for us!

About John M

John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.

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