Engine Mechanical problem
1986 Mazda 323 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Manual 196K miles
Among many other things, the oil pressure warning light has come on on my 1986 Mazda 323. I have absolutely no money to repair it.
Background: The car has 196K miles (I know, I should feel very lucky that it's lasted this long). It has a very bad leak from the water pump, and a very bad oil leak; I go through 3 or 4 quarts a day. (The oil leak is only or almost only while the engine is runniing, so I'm thinking it's from the head or the like, but that's another matter.) There doesn't appear to be any water in the oil. I haven't noticed any performance problems.
A couple of days ago, the oil leak stopped, or greatly abated, for no apparent reason.
The oil pressure warning light would come on when the oil got low, usually when the car is decelerating or braking; after the car stopped it would go out.
Just yesterday (7/28) the warning light came on and stayed on. I added oil (it's overfilled now), to no avail.
I drove the car for 5 miles or so with the warning light on, with no unusual noises or other symptoms.
When I start the car dead cold and just let it idle, the warning light is initially off, but comes on after about 4 minutes, after the car has warmed up a bit. Would an oil pressure problem act this way?
How big a risk would I be taking driving the car (gently, of course) in its current condition? It doesn't seem that I have much to lose.