A relief valve is fitted to control the set maximum oil pressure. Oil pressure has to be controlled to a preset maximum to ensure oil seals, welsh plugs and filters are not damaged. Most oil pumps are capable of pumping well over 100 Lbs/sq.in. This pressure will burst most spin on oil filters and cause engine oil leaks at o rings and seals. When the engine oil is cold the higher viscosity produces higher than normal pump pressure and the relief valves opens allowing oil to by pass the gallery back to the sump. The pressure is regulated by spring tension on the relief valve.