I started my car at -25C (plugged in) and it ran normal. I was going home from work and I could smell a burning plastic scent and my car was filling up with smog. I went to run to the bank, when I was done then my check oil pressure light came one. I shut my car off right away and opened the hood, it looked like black oil was all over my engine. I put as much oil as I could in my car and drove to a gas station. The oil pressure light was going on and off continuously. I got to the gas station and filled my car with more oil, it started fine and the oil pressure light remained off. I drove my car to my garage and shut it off and has remained off since. 15 min after I parked it, there was a big pool of oil underneath. My boyfriend came and checked it over and it seems like it won't hold oil. It is getting towed this morning to the mechanics to have a look at. Regrettably, I have been negligent in checking my oil levels. Any explanations or advice? I know for a fact that my engine has not seized or else it would not have made it to the garage.
So you have a leak. That often happens on any engine. To be leaking that quickly, a loose oil filter or leaking oil pressure sending unit are probably the most likely suspects. At some point every professional "double-gaskets" an oil filter by mistake. That's where the old gasket from the filter being removed sticks to the engine, and the one on the new filter sits on top of it. Usually the old gasket blows out before the car gets out of the shop, but not always.
Some cars also use an external oil cooler that sits in front of the radiator. The rubber hoses going to that can spring a leak too. The good news in this case is the source of the leak won't be hard to find.
January, 19, 2012 AT 4:41 PM
Ok thank you. My boyfriend said it was probably the oil filter but does that explain the oil that was all over my engine when I initially added oil? I am just hoping it is not a huge problem with my engine. I know as a woman, I worry a lot haha.
January, 19, 2012 AT 4:47 PM
With a slow leak, oil runs down so you have to look for the highest spot you see it. With a big leak, it's under pressure and is going to spray all over and make a mess. The wind from driving is going to blow it all over too. This is what they make engine degreaser chemicals for. It's to wash the engine after repairs are completed.
January, 19, 2012 AT 4:56 PM
True. So I may have blown my oil filter when I left work, hence oil being sprayed into the hood of my car. Do you believe I have scored anything within my engine because of this problem?
January, 19, 2012 AT 5:56 PM
There's no way to tell over a computer. The oil level regularly gets as much as three quarts low in my '88 Grand Caravan. It makes a lot of noise, but I just drive it home and throw some more in. Have to add about a quart every 1500 miles. I haven't actually drained the oil to change it in over nine years! That is not neglect. That is abuse. And I regularly pull a tandem axle enclosed trailer that's bigger than the van.
If your oil light was just flickering, you weren't totally out of oil yet. Oil had to be getting through the filter to get to the sending unit to turn the light off so even though the pressure was low, oil was still circulating and lubricating moving parts. If the engine wasn't losing power or making unusual noises, more than likely no damage was done.
January, 19, 2012 AT 6:05 PM
Ok well that gives me a little bit of peace of mind. Thank you very much!