91 Ford Tempo; Oil light comes on but I don't think it's lo pressure


I have a 91 Tempo with about 100k miles and the oil light stays on almost all the time when idling, and even comes on sometimes while driving. But it doesn’t clatter or knock and keeps on going. I don’t think the oil pressure is low. Is this a common occurrence with these beasts?


Regardless of the miles and year of the vehicle when the oil pressure light comes on and stays on it’s trying to tell you something.

With those miles the engine may have worn components that causes a low oil pressure.

It could be anything from a worn oil pump to a cracked cylinder wall.

Then again, the light may be on due to a short in the wiring or a sending unit is faulty.

I wouldn’t put it off unless you like walking.


what type of oil do you use conventional or synthetic?

what type of climate are you driving in when this happens?


[b]The most common cause for the oil light to come on erratically is a defective oil pressure sending unit.

The oil pressure sending unit is threaded into the engine block, next to the oil filter. It has a single electrical connector.

Replace the oil pressure sending unit, and see if that keeps the oil light off.



The oil sender is cheap and easy. If the problem still exists after that, then the crankshaft bearings are probably worn.
And yes, they can be worn, cause low oil pressure, and not knock.


Never could trust my Tempo. The sensor should be near the distributor and costs almost nothing. Had to change mine twice on the 87. Yours is getting to the scrap metal stage, but the engine won’t quit. My standard advice is to get rid of it before it really hurts you. Or at least get a front end alignment check every two years.