Low engine oil warning: what should I do or not do? - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Low engine oil warning: what should I do or not do?

Hello,

I got a "low engine oil pressure warning this morning".

I drove the car yesterday and all was fine. Stupidly enough, I didint put petrol last night and the needle is almost at the end!

This morning I thought I go to the petrol station. The car was parked on a slope. I turned the key, engine turned but didnt fire. I got the "low fuel warning" followed by the "oil pressure" and the odometer started flashing.I swiched off, and checked the oil levels. It was low but I couldnt say for sure because of the slope. Anyway I added some. Started the car again, odometer didint flash anymore but warning still there. I took the car to level ground with engine running (for brakes and steering), checked and topped up oil to max, but the oil warning is still on.

I had a read here about sensors, pressure check etc, but I need some advice as to what to do or not do.

Should I drive it to the petrol station?
Can someone post a photo of the sensor and its whereabouts?
Is there a "grace pediod" with the oil warning on or should I just never start it again?

The engine sounded fine by the way. If this was due to low oil levels, shouldnt the warning disappear once topped up?

Thanks and sorry for the many questions!
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Re: Low engine oil warning: what should I do or not do?

First thing is that oil level and oil pressure are not always related. You can have the level up to the max mark but if the oil pump is duff then you will have low pressure. The low pressure warning will come on, funnily enough when the oil pressure drops too low. Hence if the light comes on you should stop the engine and not start it again untill you have cured the problem.
Having said all that, dodgy oil pressure switches are not uncommon but are you prepared to take the risk?
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Re: Low engine oil warning: what should I do or not do?

Hello Rockhopper - thanx for the reply.

In my ignorance I took the risk already....I drove to a friend of mine (about 7miles) who knows his stuff, and he suggested the following:

1-the car wouldnt have survived the journey to his place if indeed the oil pressure was low (had I known this, I would never attempted it).

2- Oil pressure is max when the oil is cold, and so If the low oil pressure warning came on immediately as I started the engine this morning, indicates an electrinic rather than a mechanical problem

3- The fact that the warning is constantly on regardless of idle, low or high revs also indicates electronic fault because in high revs the pressure should build up and the warning should dissappear.

4- We checked the oil from the dipstick on white papaer and there was no sign of any sparkilng metal under bright light. This indicates that the engine is ok.


We lifted the car in search of the oil pressure sensor but he couldnt locate it
If ayone has a photo or can describe its location, please please let me know.

The final bit of advice I got from my friend was that of tomorrow morning the warning DOES NOT show up, I should be worried and not move the car. He expects it to be on, as the hypothesis is that it is indeed the sensor.

I can not hear any funny noise from the engine. If there is a noise caused would this be subtle or even an untrained ear (like mine) would hear it?

What do you guys think of all this?

The thing is I need the car to go to work and I dont really have an alternative...

So PLEASE PLEASE if you could let me know where the sensor is I would be grateful.

Last edited by solpap; 18-02-08 at 09:19.
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Re: Low engine oil warning: what should I do or not do?

Any advice please? I am quite stressed about this.
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Re: Low engine oil warning: what should I do or not do?

It's probably the pressure sensor, I'd imagine it was on the sump, change that asap. One issue off course is that when you remove it and replace oil will pour out so have the replacement ready to hand and do it when the engine is cold so you don't burn yourself.
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Re: Low engine oil warning: what should I do or not do?

Sounds like there is some general electrical glitch - most commonly a bad earth - check the small earth connector on the head at the gearbox end of the engine...

If the oil pressure was low enough to trigger the warning I think you'ld be hearing some distinctive knocking noises by now.
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Re: Low engine oil warning: what should I do or not do?

i think an untrained ear can hear low oil, as when my car needs a little top up she sings a little bit out of tune - i hope this doesnt mean shes about to die!
i'm talking just a wee bit out of tune, say 150-200ml top up, which she only needs every 4-5 months.
So, if you were really running low i think you could hear it.
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Re: Low engine oil warning: what should I do or not do?

Hello,

I got the problem sorted!

Took the car up to Jamie in Royston and had it checked.

The pressure in the engine was fine, and it was the sensor that wasnt working properly. I wasnt changed but rather fiddled with as they didint have it in stock. At least now I know it is the sensor and if I get the same warning again I will change it.

While up there I had the thermostat replaced as well, which I was planning to do for some time now.

Just to confirm, the sensor is located on the head at the gearbox end of the engine?

Many thanks to all of you who shared your wisdom with me, to my friend Paul, and to Jamie!
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