How To Unstick Oil Pressure Relief Valve

How To Unstick Oil Pressure Relief Valve

Is your vehicle suffering from low oil pressure, persistent knocking sounds, or even engine damage? These disconcerting issues could stem from a stuck oil pressure relief valve.

Fortunately, with some expert guidance and recommended tools, you can unstick this crucial component and restore your engine’s performance in no time! In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at the oil pressure relief valve and explore several methods to free it up without causing harm to your engine.

Understanding The Oil Pressure Relief Valve

The oil pressure relief valve is an important component of the lubrication system in an internal combustion engine that helps regulate oil flow and maintain proper pressure levels to prevent damage to the engine.

What It Is And How It Works

The oil pressure relief valve is a small but crucial component in your vehicle’s lubrication system. It works in tandem with the engine oil pump to help regulate and maintain optimal oil pressure within the internal combustion engine.

Here’s how it operates: as your car’s engine runs, it generates heat and creates varying levels of pressure within its lubrication system. The relief valve has a spring-loaded mechanism designed to open under high-pressure conditions, allowing excess oil to flow back into the sump.

This way, it prevents excessive wear or damage due to over-pressurization while ensuring proper lubrication for moving parts at all times.

Common Causes Of A Stuck Valve

A stuck oil pressure relief valve can be caused by a variety of issues. Here are some common causes to look out for:

  • Rust and corrosion: Rust and corrosion can build up around the valve, causing it to stick in place.
  • Poor maintenance: Infrequent or improper maintenance of the engine and lubrication system can cause components to wear down or become damaged, leading to a stuck valve.
  • Low-quality oil: Using low-quality or incorrect viscosity oil can cause buildup and clogs in the lubrication system, which can affect the performance of the valve.
  • Engine damage: Internal engine damage, such as a worn crankshaft or camshaft, can cause low oil pressure and increase the likelihood of a stuck valve.
  • Wear on the valve spring: Over time, wear on the valve spring can cause it to weaken and not function properly.

By being aware of these common causes, you may be able to prevent your oil pressure relief valve from becoming stuck in the first place.

Symptoms To Look Out For

If you suspect that your oil pressure relief valve is stuck, there are several symptoms to look out for. Here are some signs that may indicate a stuck oil pressure relief valve:

  • Low oil pressure: If you notice that your oil pressure gauge is reading lower than normal or if the oil warning light comes on, it could be a sign of a stuck valve.
  • Engine knocking: A stuck valve can cause metal-to-metal contact in the engine, leading to a knocking noise. This can be caused by low oil pressure and lack of lubrication.
  • Engine damage: If left unaddressed, a stuck oil pressure relief valve can cause serious damage to your engine. This can include bearing damage, worn camshafts, and broken crankshafts.
  • Oil leaks: In some cases, a stuck valve can cause excessive pressure buildup within the lubrication system. This can result in leaks from various points in the engine.
  • Poor engine performance: A poorly performing engine with reduced power or acceleration may also indicate an issue with the oil pressure relief valve.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take action before further damage is caused to your engine. Keep in mind that regular maintenance and proper care can help prevent issues related to a stuck oil pressure relief valve.

Methods To Unstick Oil Pressure Relief Valve

To unstick an oil pressure relief valve, three effective methods include using penetrating oil and manually loosening the valve with a wrench, increasing oil pressure to force the valve open, or using a blow gun to apply air pressure and release the stuck valve.

Method 1: Penetrating Oil And Manual Loosening

To unstick an oil pressure relief valve, one effective method is using penetrating oil and manual loosening as outlined below:

  1. Apply penetrating oil: Apply penetrating oil to the valve to help loosen any rust or corrosion. Allow it to sit for several minutes to penetrate the valve.
  2. Locate the valve: Locate the valve by referring to your vehicle’s service manual or by checking under the hood for the correct part.
  3. Unscrew the cap covering the valve: Using a wrench, carefully unscrew the cap covering the valve.
  4. Turn counterclockwise: Once you have removed the cap, use a wrench to turn the valve counterclockwise. This will help loosen it and allow oil to flow freely through your engine again.
  5. Reassemble: After turning counterclockwise, reassemble all parts in their proper place and test your engine for proper oil pressure.

Using penetrating oil and turning the valve counterclockwise manually can be an effective way of unsticking an oil pressure relief valve. Be sure to follow all safety procedures before attempting this method, including wearing appropriate protective gear and ensuring that your engine is cool before starting any work on it.

Method 2: Increasing Oil Pressure

Another effective way to unstick the oil pressure relief valve is by increasing the oil pressure. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Start by checking your vehicle manual for the recommended pressure range.
  2. Warm up your vehicle’s engine to normal operating temperature.
  3. Remove the oil pressure sensor on your engine and install a mechanical oil pressure gauge in its place.
  4. Turn on the engine and take note of the current oil pressure reading.
  5. Gradually increase the engine rpm until you reach 2000-3000 RPM, which should cause an increase in oil pressure.
  6. Monitor the mechanical gauge closely and make sure that the oil pressure does not exceed the recommended maximum level.
  7. If there is no change in oil pressure, or if it does not increase enough to unstick the valve, then proceed with other methods such as using penetrating oil or air pressure.

Increasing the oil pressure can help dislodge any debris or contaminants that may be blocking the valve from opening fully. However, it is important to exercise caution when increasing oil pressure and do not exceed your vehicle’s recommended levels to avoid causing further damage to your engine.

By following these steps, you can potentially fix a stuck oil pressure relief valve without having to replace it entirely, saving you both time and money in repair costs.

Method 3: Using Air Pressure

When attempting to unstick an oil pressure relief valve, another effective method is using air pressure. Here are the steps to follow when using this method:

  1. Remove the oil cap and pressure relief valve cover to access the stuck valve.
  2. Locate the small hole on top of the valve, which is where air will be injected.
  3. Insert a blow gun into the hole and apply controlled bursts of compressed air to free up any debris or rust that may have accumulated.
  4. Continue applying air pressure while turning the valve counterclockwise with a wrench until it loosens and opens up.
  5. Once you have successfully opened the valve, release the air pressure and close everything back up by reattaching the cover and oil cap.

Using air pressure can be a quick and efficient way to unstick an oil pressure relief valve without requiring extensive manual effort or tools. However, it’s important to use caution when applying compressed air to avoid damaging other parts in your engine system. Always ensure that your blow gun is securely attached before using it, and apply gentle bursts of air rather than forceful blasts.

Precautions And Tips

To avoid injuries and engine damage, it is crucial to wear protective gear and take necessary safety precautions when attempting to unstick the oil pressure relief valve.

Safety Measures Before Attempting To Unstick The Valve

Before attempting to unstick the oil pressure relief valve, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety and avoid any potential damage:

  1. Allow the engine to cool down completely before starting the process.
  2. Wear protective gear such as gloves or eye goggles.
  3. Make sure that the vehicle is on a level surface and the parking brake is engaged.
  4. Disconnect the battery to avoid accidental electrical shock or short circuits.
  5. Follow manufacturer instructions carefully and use appropriate tools for each step of the process.
  6. Be mindful of hot or sharp components when accessing the valve, such as exhaust pipes or sharp edges of engine covers.
  7. Avoid using excessive force when turning the valve or using air pressure, as this could cause further damage to internal components.
  8. After completing the process, double-check that all components are securely tightened and reconnected before starting the engine.

By following these safety measures, you can ensure a successful and safe process of unsticking your oil pressure relief valve without causing any harm to yourself or your vehicle’s internal components.

Tips For Preventing The Valve From Sticking Again

To prevent the oil pressure relief valve from sticking again, here are some tips to incorporate in your regular maintenance routine:

  • Regular oil and filter changes: Consistently changing your vehicle’s engine oil and filter can help prevent debris build-up that can cause the valve to stick.
  • Use of recommended oil viscosity: Using the recommended oil viscosity specified by the manufacturer for your vehicle can help ensure proper lubrication and prevent valve sticking.
  • High-quality engine flush: An engine flush can help remove any built-up deposits that may be causing the valve to stick. However, it is important to use a high-quality flush solution that will not harm the engine components.
  • Checking for engine damage or wear: It is important to regularly check for any signs of engine damage or wear, as these issues can cause the valve to stick. Addressing any problems early on can help prevent further damage to the valve and other engine components.
  • Upgrade: In some cases, upgrading to a higher-quality oil pressure relief valve may be necessary. Consult with a professional mechanic for advice on whether an upgrade would be beneficial for your specific vehicle.

By incorporating these tips into your vehicle maintenance routine, you can help prevent future issues with your oil pressure relief valve and keep your engine running smoothly.

Importance Of Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for preventing a stuck oil pressure relief valve. Proper lubrication is essential to keep the valve functioning smoothly, and regular oil changes can help prevent rust or corrosion from building up on the valve.

In addition to preventing a stuck valve, regular maintenance can also help identify potential issues before they become major problems. Checking for engine damage or wear during routine maintenance can alert you to leaks or other issues that may affect your vehicle’s performance.

Preventing A Stuck Oil Pressure Relief Valve

To prevent a stuck oil pressure relief valve, it is important to regularly change the engine oil and filter, use recommended oil viscosity, perform a high-quality engine flush, and check for any engine damage or wear.

Regular Oil And Filter Changes

Regular oil and filter changes are essential to prevent a stuck oil pressure relief valve. Here are some factors to consider when performing regular maintenance on your vehicle:

  • Change the engine oil every 5,000 miles or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Use the recommended viscosity of engine oil for your vehicle.
  • Replace the oil filter during each oil change.
  • Inspect the engine for signs of damage or excessive wear during each oil change.
  • Flush the engine with high-quality engine flush to remove any contaminants that could cause valve sticking.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your engine stays healthy and free from valve sticking issues. Regular maintenance is key to preventing costly repairs down the line.

One important factor in preventing a stuck oil pressure relief valve is the use of recommended oil viscosity. Different engines require different viscosities, and using the wrong type can lead to engine damage and a stuck valve.

It’s also important to note that using high-quality synthetic oils can help prevent buildup and corrosion within the engine, which can contribute to a stuck valve.

High-quality Engine Flush

In addition to regular oil and filter changes, using a high-quality engine flush can help prevent a stuck oil pressure relief valve. An engine flush is designed to clean out sludge and debris that may accumulate in the internal workings of an engine over time.

One example of a high-quality engine flush is B-12 Chemtool, which has been used by many mechanics with great success. It works by dissolving deposits and flushing them out of the system as part of an oil change.

Regular maintenance plays a crucial role in keeping your vehicle running smoothly, preventing costly repairs down the line.

Checking For Engine Damage Or Wear

To ensure that your engine is functioning properly, it’s important to regularly check for signs of damage or wear. This is especially crucial when dealing with a stuck oil pressure relief valve, as low oil pressure can cause serious engine damage over time.

Some common signs of engine damage include knocking sounds, excessive smoke from the tailpipe, and decreased performance.

If you suspect that your engine may be damaged or worn, it’s important to have it checked by a professional mechanic. Ignoring these warning signs could lead to more serious problems down the road, such as complete engine failure.


In conclusion, understanding how to unstick an oil pressure relief valve can save you from costly engine repairs. By following the methods outlined in this article such as using penetrating oil and increasing oil pressure, you can effectively address a stuck valve.

However, it’s essential to take precautions before attempting any DIY fixes and regularly maintain your vehicle to prevent future issues with the valve. Don’t overlook symptoms of a stuck valve such as low oil pressure or knocking sounds, as they can lead to significant engine damage over time.


1. What are the signs of a stuck oil pressure relief valve?

When an oil pressure relief valve gets stuck, you may notice increased engine noise, low oil pressure, or fluctuating oil pressure readings on your dashboard.

2. How can I diagnose a stuck oil pressure relief valve?

To diagnose a stuck oil pressure relief valve, you will need to perform an oil pressure test using special gauges and tools. If the test results suggest that the valve is sticking or malfunctioning, it will need to be removed and inspected for damage.

3. Can I unstick an oil pressure relief valve myself?

It is possible to unstick an oil pressure relief valve yourself with some basic tools and know-how. However, if you have never worked on engines before or don’t feel comfortable trying to tackle this repair on your own, it’s best to leave it to a professional mechanic.

4. What are some tips for preventing my car’s oil pressure relief valves from becoming stuck in the future?

Regularly changing your car’s motor and transmission oils according to manufacturer recommendations can help keep all moving parts well-lubricated and prevent the buildup of sludge or other debris that could cause an obstruction in the valvetrain system over time. Additionally, avoiding sudden changes in RPMs while driving – such as excessive idling – can also help extend the life of your engine’s critical components like its valves by minimizing unnecessary wear and tear caused by rapid acceleration/deceleration cycles within short periods of time.

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