Oil Pressure Gauge

The vehicle is a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport 4WD with a 4.0L V-6 engine and automatic transmission. Some other info about it; 131K miles, and it’s endure a few hits here and there (deer, trash cans, guard rails…the regular stuff expected out a young teenage driver and his first car.)

My problem started about two months ago, which is that sometimes (50% of the time maybe) when I start it, the oil pressure gauge drops to the rock bottom it will go. The only thing that makes it jump back to normal, is to drive it for never more than a quarter mile.

I don’t want to throw too much money into this problem, because I only need this car to last until I have enough money saved to make a decent down payment on a new car (about 6 months).

If you want this car to last for even another month, you should not be driving it until a mechanic verifies the actual oil pressure.

With any luck, you just have a defective oil pressure sensor.
If you are not lucky, there may be excessive bearing wear in the engine.

One other thing to expect from a teen is not checking the oil level. Has anyone checked the oil level?

You need to get the oil pressure verified by a mechanic. The problem is made worse on some Ford vehicles because of their idiotic idea to use the oil gauge like an idiot light—the gauge doesn’t really accurately measure pressure on these—it’s either full on or zero because Ford cheaped out and uses the same sensor that you’d use on a car that has an oil light. So you get no warning until it reads nothing.

I guarantee though that if you really have no oil pressure, that the car won’t last six months. As someone else asked, have you actually CHECKED the oil? Do you know how to check the oil?

I’ve checked the oil level everyday since I’ve had this problem and it’s exactally halfway between the hashes.

I don’t think it’s a faulty sensor, because it only shows the oil pressure as low until I drive it a short distance (like I said before short being less than a quarter mile, usaully the length of the driveway brings it back to normal). I think if the sensor was faulty it would be all over the place all the time.

You may think if the sensor is faulty it would be “all over the place all the time”, but that doesn’t mean that you’re right. The sensor may be sticking and indicating no pressure until it warms up and expands, or vibration ‘unsticks’ it.

But the point is there’s no way of knowing until you either replace the sensor or get the oil pressure verified by putting a mechanical gauge on it. And since driving with low/no oil pressure can quickly destroy an engine, you’re kind of gambling here. I’d play it safe and get it checked out.