How to Unstick Oil Pressure Relief Valve – Any Easy Fixes?

Having a well-operational oil pressure relief valve is significantly crucial for your car. The reason is that this part limits the pressure of oil in the engine. Sadly, it can stick when proper maintenance is not maintained, causing engine damage and leading you to expensive repairs.

Happily, you can easily unstick oil PRV following a few methods, such as using air pressure and increasing oil pressure. However, these solutions won’t solve the issue permanently. Ultimately, replacement is the best fix.

This comprehensive guide thoroughly explains how to unstick the oil pressure relief valve. Be attentive and read the lessons carefully.

how to unstick oil pressure relief valve

How Do I Know if My Oil Pressure Relief Valve is Stuck?

A stuck oil pressure release valve is a common car complication nowadays. Going to a car mechanic every time will not always be a good idea. Learning about the reasons for this problem will help you solve it yourself. However, if you are not confident, visit a trusted mechanic shop.

Your car oil pressure valve will surely show some symptoms when it gets stuck. You must be mindful of these symptoms to prolong your engine’s lifespan. If you don’t, your car engine will damage soon.  

Here are a few common warnings of a jammed oil pressure relief valve,

  • Power loss is a common sign of stuck oil PRV
  • Strange noise from the engine tells that you have a faulty valve
  • A heated engine is one more warning sign of failed release valve

How to Unstick Oil Pressure Relief Valve – 3 Methods

I discussed 3 different methods for fixing stuck oil PRV. By following these solutions, you can get relief from such complications quickly.

Method 01: Using Air Pressure

Generally, experts use this method to unstick the release valve. Also, it is the least suggested solution. Follow the below points meticulously,

  • Inspect the oil pressure release valve
  • Apply air pressure maximum of 115 PSI. This air pressure is enough to open a stuck PRV. If it doesn’t happen, I recommend you not to increase the air pressure.

Method 02: Increasing Oil Pressure

This method is suitable for a new release valve. After inspecting the valve, if you find that it is not stuck due to dirt or dust, increase the oil pressure.

Method 03: Replacing the Oil Pressure Release Valve

The methods mentioned above perform as the first aid to the stuck valve problem. Your car oil PRV will work for a while with these methods. Problems can appear again, and permanent fixation can be a suitable replacement.

You will love to know that oil PRV replacement is a straightforward process when the proper guideline is followed. I divided the whole process into 2 parts:

  • Part 01: Removal of the stuck oil PRV
  • Part 02: Inspection and replacement

Here is the step-by-step method.

Part 01: Removal of the Stuck Oil PRV

With the help of some gears, the removal process is extremely straightforward.

Required Items:

  • 2 sets of Allen wrench
  • New Oil
  • User Manual
  • Oil Filter
  • Puller tool
  • Drain container for old oil

Step 01: Read the User Manual

Before heading into the removal process, reading the user manual thoroughly will help you understand the location of the parts.

Step 02: Wear Safety Gears

Wearing safety gear is a must when removing oil PRV. So, put on gloves and goggles. These safety precautions will help you handle oils or chemicals.

Step 03: Draining Old Oil

Then, drain the old oil from the oil pump outlet into the pan. The removal process can be hindered if oil is left in the oil pump outlet. So, it is vital to ensure no oil is gone.

Step 04: Drain Plug Removing

Now, use the Allen wrench to remove the drain plug. Next, grab a new oil drain plug and install it.

Step 05: Engine Oil Filter Replacement

Your car engine oil filter might also become dusty and dirty. It needs to be replaced with a new one. So, replace it without fail. Your new oil PRV will rust and corrode soon if you continue running your car with an old engine oil filter.

Step 06: Fresh Oil Refilling

Refill the engine oil tank with manufacturer-recommended motor oil.

Step 07: Oil PRV Opening

After refilling fresh oil, it is time to open the oil PRV. In this case, take assistance from a puller tool. Don’t rush in this step. Take enough time to open the oil PRV successfully.

Part 02: Inspection and Replacement

Step 08: Oil PRV Damage Repairing (If Required)

Once the old oil PRV is removed, inspect it thoroughly to know whether it is damaged. If the pressure release valve is not damaged enough, clean it appropriately by soaking into the oil from inside.


  • Usually, permanent repairing of the stuck oil PRV is not possible. After repairing, it will stick again after a few days. Experts always recommend replacing the old with a new one to solve the problem permanently.

Step 09: New Oil PRV Installation

Now, install the new oil PRV. Take help from your co-worker or partner when installing. Tell him to turn the engine on. Remember that the control panel needs to be controlled throughout the installation process.

Step 10: Pressure Regulating

Regulate the oil PRV and minimize the pressure at a minimum level of 200 PSI. Reduce the pressure gradually until it reaches ZERO. Finally, stop the pump too.

Step 11: Fastening

Last, fasten the nuts. Avoid over-tightening. Examine the whole thing and whether everything is done perfectly.

Congratulations! You have successfully replaced your car oil pressure valve.  

Why does the Oil Pressure Relief Valve Fail?

The oil pressure release valve fails due to several reasons. The most common reasons are described below.

  • Improper Installation: These valves turn on and off at a specific pressure to control the oil flow. They will not perform as required when installed incorrectly. Thus, pressure will build up, causing failure.
  • Not Following Scheduled Maintenance: Expert mechanics stated that oil PRV fails primarily because of a deficiency of maintenance. Regular cleaning and lubrication are a must to get efficient performance from oil PRV. When it is not done, failure will happen for sure.
  • High Pressure: Another common reason is excessive pressure. The prime responsibility of oil PRV is to release pressure from the oil pump, protecting the motor from malfunction. But, the valve fails when the pressure becomes excessive in the system.

How Can I Keep My Oil Pressure Relief Valve Good?

Your car engine’s health and performance significantly depend on the oil pressure relief valve. If you want to get long-term (5-7 years) service from it, maintaining some stuff is mandatory. The stuff is,

  • Regularly clean and lubricate the oil PRV.
  • Inspect the valve every 12 months for dust or dirt build-up.
  • Learn the cleaning procedure of oil PRV to avoid taking your car to the nearest mechanic shop frequently.


Where is the oil PRV located?

Oil pressure relief valve is available in all modern vehicles. Its location is in the oil pump housing. More specifically, you will find it behind the timing cover.

What is the cost of replacing an oil PRV?

Oil pressure release valve replacement cost depends on 3 factors.
1. Replacement parts cost
2. Labor cost
3. Mechanic shop category

Replacement parts cost you $100 – $200 and can vary based on your car’s make and model. The labor cost range is $75 – $160.

The average oil PRV replacement cost will be $300 – $350.

Is driving a car with a bad oil pressure sensor safe?

A bad oil pressure sensor is a severe issue; you mustn’t overlook it when identified. Driving a car with a bad sensor increases the risk for both driver and passenger. At the same time, it damages the car engine.

When your car engine has a low oil level, the oil pressure sensor notifies us. The problem in this car part means you will not get notification about low oil levels, leading to a big problem such as engine failure.

How do I reset a PRV?

Here are the steps of resetting a pressure relief valve.

Step 01: Unscrew the oil PRV with a pipe wrench

Step 02: Get Teflon tape and wrap it around the new oil PRV. Screw it in until tight, pointing the overflow pipe opening away from the tank.

Step 03: Reinstall the relief valve drain pipe with the help of Teflon tape on the thread.

Final Words

You might be wondering why I focused on the replacement procedure of oil PRV while the main point should be how to unstick the oil pressure relief valve.

No matter what you do to fix stuck oil PRV, the problem will repeatedly arise until you replace it.

Following the correct installation process and ensuring periodic maintenance, you will get 5 – 7 years of efficient service from the oil pressure release valve.

Dan Jones is a car enthusiast and has been involved in the automotive industry for the last 10 years. He has a practical knowledge of vehicles and vehicle parts. Besides, he spends most of his time in the garage and deals with various car problems.