No Oil in Oil Filter – Signs and Causes

No oil in oil filter is a common issue that can lead to engine damage if you don’t address it on time as contaminants will build up quickly inside your engine. This is caused by a clogged or faulty filter, or a lack of oil in the engine.

The lack of oil can be due to a damaged oil pump, an insufficient level of oil in the engine, or a leak. If you see that the oil filter is the cause, address it immediately. Meanwhile, there’s much more to know about this topic. This article will discuss the common causes and symptoms of no oil in the filter and the steps to address the issue. Firstly, let’s see the probable causes.

no oil in oil filter

Causes of no oil in oil filter

If there’s no oil in the filter housing, you likely have a major oil leak somewhere in the engine. Check the oil pan, filter, and all other oil passages for signs of leaks. If you find a leak, repair it as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the engine.

This leads to this question, do oil filters go bad? Filters can go bad over time. The filter can become clogged or damaged due to age, wear, and tear, resulting in decreased engine performance. Changing your filter regularly is important to keep your engine running smoothly and efficiently. Let’s see the probable causes in detail.

Low oil level

Low oil level is one of the prevalent causes of no oil in the filter. Ensure the lubricant is at the right gauge.

Clogged filter

This is another possible cause. Check the filter for signs of debris or clogs. If the oil filter is damaged or clogged, it won’t allow new oil to enter.

Worn-out oil pump

The oil pump is pushes oil through the filter and into the engine. It may not push enough lube to fill the filter if it’s worn out,

Faulty oil pressure valve

There’s also the cause of a faulty oil pressure valve. The valve regulates the amount of oil allowed to enter the filter. If it’s faulty, it may restrict the fluid flow.

Leaking filter

Next is a leaking filter. Check the filter for signs of leakage. If the filter is leaking, it won’t retain enough oil. You don’t want this to be the leading cause because it can empty the motor oil, invariably causing catastrophe to internal engine parts.

Generally, an empty filter can lead to oil filter collapse which can be caused by a few different things. The most common cause is a filter being clogged or damaged. This can prevent oil from passing through the filter and into the engine.

As reiterated above, other possible causes include an old or worn-out filter, a faulty oil pump, or a leak in the oil lines or seals.

How do I know if my oil pump is clogged?

If you find that the filter on your vehicle is empty, the oil pump may be clogged or damaged. If the pump is clogged, it can’t pass the oil through the lube passage, resulting in an empty filter.

In particular, if your oil pump is clogged, you may notice a decrease in engine performance, a reduction in fuel efficiency, or an increase in engine noise. You may also notice that your oil pressure gauge reads lower than normal. If you suspect your oil pump is clogged, have a professional mechanic inspect it.

Symptoms of a clogged oil filter

Looking to know the causes and symptoms of a bad oil filter? A bad or clogged oil filter can cause a decrease in engine efficiency and an increase in engine temperature. It can also cause engine oil starvation, leading to engine damage.

To fix a clogged filter, change the oil and filter. Here are the signs of a clogged filter: Reduced oil pressure, Engine knocking or tapping sound, Engine misfire, Dark, gritty oil, Excessive smoking from the exhaust, Loud engine noise, and Increased engine temperature.

Can a clogged oil filter cause stalling?

Yes, a clogged filter can cause stalling. It may cause the engine to run poorly and lack the power you need to keep it running. If the filter is too clogged, it can restrict the oil flow to the engine, leading to a lack of lubrication, which can cause the engine to stall.

Can dirty oil cause low oil pressure?

Yes, dirty oil can the car computer to project low oil pressure on the dashboard. The oil viscosity is reduced when it becomes dirty, reducing its ability to lubricate the engine properly. This causes increased friction, which can reduce the oil pressure.

dirty engine oil

Aside from dirty oil, a dirty oil filter can cause a decrease in oil pressure, allowing metal particles and dirt to contaminate the oil and eventually clog the filter, leading to reduced engine performance and increased wear on the engine components. If you don’t replace the filter on time, it can also lead to engine failure.


No oil in oil filter isn’t good. It can be a serious problem for any vehicle. And can cause decreased engine performance, eventually leading to severe engine breakdown. You should check the filter regularly and ensure it’s full of oil. If it’s not, check it out and replace it when necessary. Taking the time to do this can save you a lot of money in the long run.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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