Good morning .... the oil light in my 2002 Toyota Camry came on last night. We checked the oil and were a quart low. We added a quart of oil and this morning was fine until about 20 miles into my 43 mile commute. The light is back on and stayed on. I didn't hear any engine noises. I have another 43 miles of highway driving tonight to get home.
Model: Camry SE
So you drove the car 23 miles with the oil light on?
Yes ... had no choice ... on the highway....
Well, that may be a good thing. If you really had very low oil pressure (less than 10 psi to turn on the light) it should have gone less than a mile on the highway before the engine failed. The best thing to do would be to have a shop check the oil pressure with a mechanical gauge before driving any further. But since it has been driven and seems okay you may just have a bad sender for the light making it come on. Do you know where the cap is to put oil in the engine?
Yes ... I know where the cap is and can check it before leaving the parking lot. I was keeping an eye on the temperature gauge and wasn't losing any power at all in the car. I have a shop "on stand by" when I get home. Can also be towed home if I need to work on the side of precaution.
I really don't want to tell you to take it and then damage the engine, so if you can tow it I would rather err on the side of caution. If it becomes a necessity to drive it I was going to ask you to look in the cap with the engine running and see if oil is splashing around in there. If it is the oil pump has to be at least working some, it's not very scientific, but if you are stuck it is at least something to verify that it's oiling. No noise is also a good sign.
Thanks Ted .... I have AAA so I'll take advantage of the service I pay for and have them tow me home. I would rather be safe too than break down on the highway and have to replace an engine. Just want to have a better idea of what I am dealing with before I get to the shop! I appreciate your help!
I really think the sender is just bad, but I also err on the side of caution with customer's cars (and money) so use the AAA and the repair will likely be fairly inexpensive. Thanks for using JA.
20 years auto repair experience, ASE Master Tech, Expert Witness