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P0522 Code – What Does It Mean & How To Fix It

This is one of the most frequent OBD2 trouble codes. Read the full article below to know what it means, how to fix it, and what other codes may show related to it.

Definition

Engine Oil Pressure Sensor and Switch Low Voltage

Meaning

Sensors, controls, and electronics are all controlled by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), the vehicle's main computer. Among the sensors, the oil pressure sensor or sender measures the engine's (mechanical) oil pressure and transmits the data in the form of a voltage value to the PCM. A gauge displays the oil pressure value in some vehicles in the instrument cluster, but occasionally that gauge is not present, but a warning light is displayed if there is an issue.

In vehicles, P0522 is stored when it indicates that the oil pressure sensor is showing a low reading on the PCM.

Causes

This fault code may be caused by:

  • The oil pressure sender circuit has faulty wiring or connections/connectors
  • Sender/sensor for oil pressure is faulty
  • There is a short or open circuit in the wiring
  • Deficiency in oil, incorrect oil, and obstruction of oil flow

Symptoms

  • A low or zero reading on the oil pressure gauge 
  • Engines can fail to start or stop mid-drive
  • Lamp indicating oil pressure is illuminated

Diagnosis

The following steps may be taken by your technician to diagnose the issue:

First and especially if you have other DTCs related to oil, make sure the oil is full and in good condition. Verify that the oil contains the correct type and weight and that the oil filter is not clogged. 

Check the wiring and connectors on the sending unit for oil pressure. Make sure there are no frayed or broken wires, burnt spots, loose or exposed wires, etc. For information about the sender's location, refer to model-specific resources. You should also inspect the wiring and connectors that lead to the PCM. 

To check the sensor's mechanical performance, you should use a digital volt ohm meter (DVOM). If the sensor doesn't meet manufacturers specifications, it should be replaced. The circuit is 5 volts. In most cases, this code can be resolved by replacing the sensor or sending unit. Once everything appears to be in order, check the wiring and connectors between the sensor and PCM. If you notice chafing, pinching, etc., check the wiring for breaks and shorts to ground. Check the electrical connectors for corrosion and ensure they are tight. 

An advanced scan tool can be used to compare the actual oil pressure to a mechanical gauge and the sensor reading. Check the actual pressure in the engine if your problem cannot be resolved by repairing/replacing the wiring/sensor.

Common mistakes

While it is often appropriate to replace the oil pressure sensor, if it is too damaged, it is only a bandage covering over a damaged engine. It may be possible to remove the code by replacing the sensor, but if you don't address the other issues, then the fix will not last.

How serious is this?

The cause of a fault code can vary from being minor to serious. Often, electrical problems cause the oil pressure sensor or sending unit to malfunction - wiring damage, or a bad sensor. A shorter storage period of the code could cause catastrophic engine damage if the engine's oil has become low during the time it has been stored.

What repairs can fix the code?

This code can be resolved by your mechanic by doing the following:

  • Test the vehicle by using a scanner and resetting the code, followed by a road test to determine whether it responds
  • Verify that all wiring and connectors of the sending unit for oil pressure are intact and free of any damage or loose connections. Replace these parts as needed
  • P0522 is most often repaired by replacing the oil pressure sensor if it does not test correctly at voltage (the most common fix for P0522).
  • If the oil pressure is low, repair the damage

Related codes

None listed.

Conclusion

There are many reasons that a vehicle's oil pressure sensor may go bad. Electrical problems, wiring damage, or a bad sensor are a few of the many faults that can cause a P0522 code. But the most important thing to know is that engine damage will occur without oil, so this code should never be ignored.