Everyone knows you stop the engine immediately and coast to a stop when the oil pressure warning light comes on. Serious engine damage can occur in as little as five seconds when there's no oil pressure. The fact it made it ten miles is a testament to its toughness. Most engines would seize up in less than a mile.
It's impossible to tell over a computer what happened but to lose oil pressure that quickly you first have to look at the level when the engine is off. If the level is okay, the low pressure is caused by a "spun" engine bearing or less commonly by a weak oil pump. That could have been occurring for a while.
If the engine was out of oil the damage would occur very quickly but you will usually save the engine if you stop it right away. To lose oil that quickly one common suspect is a "double-gasketed" oil filter, meaning the old gasket got overlooked and it stuck to the engine during the last oil change, and the new gasket on the new filter sat on top of it. Typically you won't make it very far before the old one blows out and you have a big mess under the car. Sometimes you can hit something that causes a hole in the oil pan, or someone left the drain plug loose.
Regardless of the cause, after ten miles the engine will be destroyed. The cylinder walls, pistons and rings, engine bearings, and crankshaft will be chewed up so besides a full rebuild, a lot of parts will be needed that are not normally replaced during the rebuilding process. Installing a good used engine from a salvage yard will be a lower cost option.
Friday, July 19th, 2013 AT 12:12 AM