Oil pressure gauges are no longer included among the dashboard instrumentation of modern vehicles. We now have oil pressure warning lights. Oil pressure gauges act as indicators of the engine's overall well-being and as early warning systems.
A zero reading with the engine running above idle indicates that the gauge is faulty, the oil level is much too low, or the oil pump (or its drive) has broken. In any case, the engine should be turned off immediately.
For vehicles not equipped with oil pressure gauges, the illumination of the oil pressure warning light (an icon of an oil can) should elicit the same response. Engines that continue to run without sufficient oil will run dry, overheat, and seize.
TIP: Low levels of engine oil may be caused by leaky gaskets or seals, or worn valve guides, piston rings, and/or cylinders that are causing the engine to burn oil.
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