The Essential Guide to Oil Pumps: Why They Matter and How to Choose the Right One

The World of Oil Pumps'. At the top, an illustration of an engine with an oil pump highlighted


Guide Of Lubrication Oil Pump

Oil pumps play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth operation of an engine. But what happens when they wear out? And how do you choose the right one for your needs? Let’s dive deep into the world of oil pumps.

Table Summary

Key Points Details
Importance Essential for proper engine lubrication and longevity.
Risks Reusing high-mileage oil pumps can lead to engine noise, bearing failures, and more.
Types Centrifugal, positive displacement, and gear pumps.
Upgrades Consider high-volume or billet pumps for performance engines.
Issues Low oil pressure can result from various factors, including worn-out pumps and debris.
Replacement Always choose quality and avoid reusing old components.

The Role of Oil Pumps in Engine Health

Most mechanics understand the significance of good oil pressure for engine lubrication and longevity. Low oil pressure can lead to engine noise, bearing failures, and costly warranty claims. So, why would anyone risk reusing an old, high-mileage oil pump during an engine rebuild?

The Downside of Old Oil Pumps

Old oil pumps often show signs of wear, leading to sloppy internal clearances and reduced output. This wear can hinder the pump’s ability to maintain regular flow and pressure. Moreover, the pressure relief spring in used pumps might be nearing its end, risking failure. A malfunctioning spring can cause the pressure relief valve to remain open, drastically reducing the pump’s flow output.

Oil Pumps: Types, Characteristics, and Applications

Type of Pump Characteristics Disadvantages Applications
Crescent Pump – High delivery rate of oil, especially at low engine speeds. – Two rotating wheels build oil pressure near the delivery nozzle. – Limited to specific engine designs. – May not be as efficient as other types at high speeds. Used in engines requiring high oil delivery at low speeds.
Rotor Type Pump (Gerotors/Trochoidal Pumps) – Uses metal gears for longevity. – Has an inner gear (driven) and an outer gear rotating around the inner one. – Can be more complex and expensive to manufacture. – Potential for wear between the gears. Most common type used in automotive engines.
Gear Type Oil Pump – Two gears of the same size mesh against each other. – Carries oil in the gap between teeth. – Potential for wear between the gears. – Requires precise manufacturing for proper meshing. Widely used in automotive engines due to its simplicity and efficiency.
Trochoid Pump – Variation of the rotor type pump. – Uses a specific gear shape for improved efficiency. – More complex design compared to simple gear pumps. – Potential for wear in long-term use. Used in specific engine designs for improved oil flow.
Vane Pump – Uses vanes (blades) to pump oil. – Can adjust to varying oil viscosity. – Potential for wear on the vanes. – Can be more expensive than gear pumps. Used in engines requiring variable oil flow rates.

Note: The table provides a general overview of the types of oil pumps and their characteristics. It’s essential to consult with a professional when choosing an oil pump for specific applications.

Choosing the Right Oil Pump Solution: A Comprehensive Guide

Selecting the appropriate oil pump is more than just understanding the types available. It’s about aligning the pump’s capabilities with your engine’s specific needs. Here’s a roadmap to guide you:

1. Determine Lubrication Requirements

Before selecting an oil pump, it’s crucial to understand the lubrication needs of your engine:
  • Engine Size and Type: Larger engines or those with more components might require more lubrication and, therefore, a pump that can deliver oil at higher volumes.
  • Operating Conditions: Engines operating in extreme temperatures or conditions might need oil pumps that can handle varying oil viscosities or deliver oil at consistent pressures.
  • Oil Viscosity: Different engines require oils of different viscosities. Ensure the pump you choose is compatible with the oil’s viscosity recommended for your engine.
  • Performance Needs: High-performance or racing engines might have specific lubrication needs, requiring specialized pumps.

2. Dive into Pump Types

Familiarize yourself with the different oil pumps:
  • Gear Pumps: General automotive use.
  • Rotor Pumps: Consistent oil flow.
  • Vane Pumps: Variable oil flow rates.
  • Crescent Pumps: High oil delivery at low speeds.

3. Consider Operating Conditions

If your vehicle operates in extreme temperatures or conditions, select a pump that can handle these challenges.

4. Budget Considerations

Quality is paramount, but it’s also essential to factor in your budget. However, a quality pump can prevent potential engine issues, saving costs in the long run.

5. Seek Expert Advice

If in doubt, consult with a mechanic or engine specialist. Their insights can be invaluable.

6. Think Ahead

A quality pump is an investment in your engine’s future. While upfront costs might be higher, the long-term benefits in terms of performance and reduced repairs can be significant.
This section seamlessly integrates with the rest of the blog, providing readers with a clear guide on selecting the right oil pump solution.

The Need for New Oil Pumps

A new oil pump is as crucial as new bearings, rings, and gaskets. It ensures the right clearances and optimal performance. However, always disassemble and check the pump’s internal clearances before installation. If you find excessive clearance, consider replacing the pump or trying a different brand.

Upgrading Your Oil Pump

For those into performance engine builds, upgrading to a performance pump is a wise move. This could mean opting for a high-volume pump or a billet pump for added strength. Remember, high volume doesn’t equate to high pressure. It’s essential to understand the difference and choose accordingly.

Challenges with Low Oil Pressure

If you face low oil pressure issues, several factors could be at play:
  • Reusing a worn-out pump.
  • Not checking the clearances of a new pump.
  • Missing parts during installation.
  • Debris jamming the relief valve.

Replacing and Priming Your Oil Pump

Both crankcase-mounted and front-mounted pumps should be soaked in oil before installation. For front-mounted pumps, ensure they are centered on the crankshaft before tightening. Also, many experts advise against reusing old pickup tubes and screens due to potential contamination.


Choosing the right oil pump is crucial for your engine’s health. Always prioritize quality and proper installation to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Further Reading: The Hidden Life of Oil Pumps
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