Engine shuts off and the oil light turns on

Tiny
MICAHH
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 CHRYSLER CIRRUS
  • 2.5L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 500,000 MILES
I have had security problems with the car shutting off. So I reset the codes, that helped with that. But now after fifteen minutes the car will shut off and the oil light comes on. But mainly it will restart back up for a more length of time then shut off again, and oil light comes on. I have changed the oil and the oil filter. Could the oil regulator or oil sensor be what is causing my problems? Please help.
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Monday, September 17th, 2018 AT 3:20 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I suspect you do not understand the operation of the "oil" warning light. That is there to warn you when engine oil pressure drops too low. That pressure is developed by a pump inside the engine, so when the engine is not running for whatever reason, the oil pump stops too, and the oil pressure drops. That is why that light is turning on when the engine stalls. You will also see that light is on any time you turn on the ignition switch, but before the engine is running. That is considered normal operation and is not a valid clue. What you do not want to see is that light turn on while you are driving. If that happens, you are supposed to stop the engine right away and coast to a stop. It only takes a few seconds running the engine with no oil pressure to do really serious and expensive damage.

Related to this, you are just as likely to run into a problem with the warning system. A defective sensor can signal low or no oil pressure when in fact it is okay. Your mechanic may use a mechanical gauge to verify there is no internal problem with the engine before spending your money on a new sensor. That repair is not that uncommon, and the cost of repair is minimal.

We need to concentrate on the stalling issue. The first thing is to read and record the diagnostic fault codes. Those never tell us to replace a part or that one is defective. They only indicate the circuit or system that needs further diagnosis. If you erased the codes before writing the numbers down, that valuable information was lost. The only thing you can do then is to drive the vehicle and wait for the stalling to act up again, then read the fault code(s). Be aware too that erasing the fault codes never fixes a problem. The codes are for information. They are especially valuable when chasing intermittent problems like you have. Once the defect is diagnosed and repaired, if you do not erase those codes, they will self-erase after fifty engine starts.

Fault codes related to this symptom often do not set right away, particularly when cranking an engine that won't start and run, so do not be surprised if there are no codes in memory right now related to the stalling. To start the diagnosis, Chrysler made reading the fault codes yourself much easier than any other manufacturer. Cycle the ignition switch from "off" to "run" three times within five seconds without cranking the engine. Leave it in "run", then watch the code numbers appear in the odometer display. You can go here to read the definitions:

https://www.2carpros.com/trouble_codes/obd2

Or, when you post them here, I can interpret them for you.

I do not want to jump ahead and potentially send you down the wrong path, but by far the most common cause of intermittent stalling is a failing camshaft position sensor or crankshaft position sensor. Your cam sensor is inside the distributor and is really not practical to replace separately. It is easier and more cost-effective to replace the entire distributor. Both of these sensors on any brand of car commonly fail by becoming heat-sensitive, then they work again after cooling down for about an hour.

If you find there are no fault codes related to these sensors, the way your mechanic would approach this is to connect a scanner to view the status of the signals coming from them while he is cranking the engine and the no-start is occurring. On my scanner those sensors are listed with a "No" or "Present" to indicate if the Engine Computer is receiving their signals. When one is listed as "No", that sensor is the cause of the problem about fifty percent of the time. First we have to rule out wiring and connector terminal problems, and mechanical problems associated with it.

You can also check out this article related to stalling to see some of the other things we may need to look for:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/engine-stalls
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Monday, September 17th, 2018 AT 8:17 PM

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