Error Code P0524 is defined as Engine Oil Pressure Too Low. This means an abnormally low oil pressure reading has been determined, a problem which could be caused by defective engine components or wrong oil viscosity.
This is a generic trouble code, meaning it applies to all vehicles equipped with the OBD-II system, particularly those made since 1996 up to present. It commonly appears among Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Rap, though it applies to all vehicle makes and models. Specifications on the definition, troubleshooting, and repairs, of course, vary from one make and model to another.
The PCM (powertrain control module, also known as ECM or engine control module in other vehicle makes) is the vehicle’s computer system which controls multiple controls, electronics, and sensors. One of these sensors is the ‘Oil Pressure Sensor’ or ‘Oil Pressure Sender’ which detects the amount of (mechanical) oil pressure in the engine. It relays information through voltage reading value to the PCM. For some vehicles, oil pressure value is relayed to a gauge in the instrument cluster, showing the driver the oil pressure. Sometimes, however, there is no gauge; rather, there will be a warning light to notify the driver about the problem.
When the Error Code P0524 is triggered, that means the PCM has determined too low of a value from the engine oil pressure sender/sensor. When the engine oil pressure drops too low from the specified numbers set by the manufacturer, it could cause serious permanent damage to the engine. Thus, when this code shows up, it is extremely important to pull over and shut off the engine as soon as possible.
Other related error codes include:
As with other error codes, this code activates the Check Engine light and registers the code to the vehicle’s memory system. Other common symptoms include:
- Oil pressure warning indicator lamp activated
- Too low or zero reading in oil pressure gauge
- Abnormal noise coming from the engine
- Low oil level
- Low oil pressure
- Contaminated oil (coolant, fuel, etc.)
- The wrong viscosity of oil
- Defective oil pressure sensor
- Damaged or worn internal engine components (worn bearings, oil pumps, etc.)
- Shorted to ground signal of the electrical circuit for the sensor
How to Check
The most basic way to diagnose this code is to check the oil level and condition of the vehicle. The oil must be full and not look contaminated. Also, it’s important to check the vehicle’s maintenance history. If the engine has not had an oil change for a long time and has been using incorrect oil viscosity, then that’s most likely the culprit of the problem. Correct issues as necessary.
The next step is to use a mechanical oil pressure gauge to test the actual oil pressure in the engine. When accessing the pressure gauge, you must also check the condition of the wirings and connectors of the sensors.
If the actual oil pressure of the engine is lower than it should be, then that means there’s an internal engine problem.
For this, check the connectors and wirings of the pressure sensor. Look for signs of burnt spots, frayed wires, loose or exposed wires, etc. Check with the model specific resource to locate the sender, and do the same inspection on its connectors and wirings leading to the PCM.
Then, use a DVOM (Digital volt ohmmeter) to check the sensor itself and all its associated wirings. If it doesn’t meet the specifications set by the manufacturer, then it should be repaired, or replaced.
How to Fix
In most cases, a simple oil change can fix the problem. For more serious cases, however, you may have to repair or replace damaged connectors or wirings or even replace the pressure sensor itself.
This code is a serious problem, as prolonged low oil pressure can result in serious permanent damage to the engine, which could easily be more expensive.