Oil Pressure Light Acting Oldly


Asked by Apr 02, 2012 at 03:28 AM about the 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

When I'm driving for about 15 minutes, the Oil Pressure light comes on, usually starts beeping at me when I'm idling around 800 RPM.  As I accelerate, it goes off, as it should.  As I continue to drive, the RPM needed to keep the oil light off (and therefore the beeps) slowly climbs.  However, when I stop, and turn off the car for about 45 seconds, I can restart the car and drive the car without the light coming on again until I turn the car back off.  It is inconsistent when it does turn on.  I have driven the car for weeks without it ever turning on and there have also been days where it beeps at me every 5 seconds (as the light turns on and off) while I'm idling at a traffic light.

The oil level in the engine block is a tad above the full line, so there's plenty of oil in the engine, but is was also doing this when the oil level was a little above the 'empty' line on the dipstick.  It isn't a predictably repeatable occurrence as taking the same path at the same speeds and hitting the same bumps doesn't cause the light to come back on.

What do you think the problem is? Sludge in the oil causing the oil pump to partially clog, bad oil pressure switch, or a bad pump? I can't take it in, since Murphy's law is supreme...  The mechanics don't see the oil pressure light when it is in the shop and when the light does turn on, I'm either at the other end of town from the shop I trust, its after hours, or I have to get back to work... So they can't test to see if the oil pressure is too low.

12 Answers


You didn't mention how many miles were on the vehicle, but from what you say I would just install a new oil pressure transducer. They are inexpensive and fairly easy to install. Ideally when you take the old one out run a pressure check to see if you have pressure within specs.

15 people found this helpful.

It's got 90k on it, but thank you. I will install that first.


ok what happens when you let it idle for 15min with the dummy light flashing? does the engine start knocking? if yes you have oil pressure problems, if no don`t get too worried about it. My 1966 plymouth when stuck in traffic idleing will show the dummy light and shortly after will start to knock, I do have oil pressure issues so insted of running 10w30 I use 20w50. In your case I wouldn`t use 20w50 because it could be the oil pump and new engines have tighter bearing clearances, and don`t like thick oils.

5 people found this helpful.

I'm generally driving to places when it is triggering, so I'm not letting it idle for 15. However, I have had it idle for a couple minutes at a time (waiting at lights) with it triggering and I haven't heard any knocking. I didn't think 20w50 could handle my temperature ranges (-30°F to +90°F).

1 people found this helpful.

When you get time I would physically check your oil pressure and put that new sending unit on. You don't want to be driving it that much if your low on oil pressure. If its coming on while driving I would bet that the actual oil pressure is good. I say this because if you have low pressure at higher RPMs you would have consistently low oil pressure at low RPMs. Also note that if the light flickers at all at steady RPM once again sending unit. If your in -30 degree temps I would go with synthetic especially if your doing a lot of cold starts. At 90,000 miles I would still go with manufactures recommendations on the oil including Syn oils.

4 people found this helpful.

I have a 2004 jeep liberty 3.7 lifer with about 130000 miles on it. The oil light comes on only when I stop, no other weird noises and it started the day before I got my oil changed. We did put is synthetic 5 30 since I cant always change it at the 3000 mile mark.

8 people found this helpful.

Why do people ask for number of miles on an old vehicle??? Who cares, it's going to be a lot every time. Same with asking how many cylinders on a car when getting wiper blades!! Irritating.

5 people found this helpful.

NO MORE OIL WARNING !!!!!!!!! I just had exact problem. Annoying warning sound when I stop at red light. 2000 grand voyager with 150k miles original engine and oil pump. I drive 80-90 MPH with this issue for a week with no issue. So I know nothing wrong with my pump or bearings. All I did was clean the wire, connector and the pressure switch using break cleaner. I didn't even remove any of them. Just sprayed to clean all oil and dirt as much as possible. NO MORE OIL WARNING.

5 people found this helpful.

I have a PT Cruiser at 89,000 miles, the attached pic is the light that comes up periodically. I don't need any oil, oil level is fine. What could this light be? would appreciate

5 people found this helpful.

The light in the picture is temperature warning. Not oil pressure warning light discussed here. Temperature warning means your engine is running too hot. First let your engine cool down aND check coolant level. 1. Check level of your engine coolant in reservoir. It is a plastic tank with 2 level markers. It should be above lower marker when engine is cold. 2. Open radiator cap. Engine better be at embiant temperature. Coolant should be full. Check radiator cap for tear and ware on rubber seal. Top up coolant if necessary. 3. Check the front of radiator for trash/debris/dirt and clean if necessary. If the temperature light keep coming on try this: When the temperature light comes on, turn on heater in side you car full with windows down. If this makes your temperature light to go off, your radiator is not cooling sufficiently. Repeat this a few times to confirm it goes off consistently when you turn on heater. If this is the case you would try changing and flushing the coolant first. If that still not working replace radiator and thermostat both.

4 people found this helpful.

I have a PT cruiser as well with 94k on it and I do have the red oil can light on. It came on last night and it chimes continuously as I drive but just stays illuminated when I stop and doesn't make any chiming sounds. I don't hear any knocking and its driving as normal what could that be?

1 people found this helpful.

PT CRUISER>> FIX FOR ENGINE OIL LIGHT COMING ON AT IDLE >>>> IT TOOK A YEAR OF TESTING AND MAKING CHANGES AND REPLACING PARTS,first step would be to install a mechanical oil pressure gauge to determine if you have low oil pressure at a idle when hot, if you do and there is no engine bearing noises then this fix would most likely be right for you too>>FIX been having a oil light intermittent problem, come on at an idle,go out when giving it throttle, first thing I did,was install a mechanical oil pressure gauge under the hood,also removed oil galley plug from head under the camshaft position sensor and relocated & installed the new oil pressure switch, filled it with 5w-30 Pennzoil and a puralator filter then fired up, the oil pressure was the same and the oil light still had same problem, it has (when hot) in 93 degree Florida heat, 2 lbs of oil pressure at a idle and 48 at 3000 RPM, so I pulled the engine and removed the crank, took to a machine shop and had it inspected and had the crank journals checked and they were standard and right on specs,so had the crank cleaned and polished and installed new bearings, new oil pump, new oil pressure switch.. fired it up and the oil pressure was the same,only 2lbs at idle when hot, but remembered when cold,oil pressure is great at a idle. so I added a Hayden external oil cooler to the front of the a/c condenser, now when running the air,the coolant fan runs which cools the oil cooler, this not only give;s me 7 lbs of pressure at a idle now on a hot day but it brought the engine temp down one full notch too, the temp used to run in the center all the time,which I had no problem with, my thoughts are,the cooler the oil,the thicker the oil, and cooler oil means less engine temp, now oil light and gauge are great, Im going to service the engine this week end and use 10w-30 this time which I believe will boost idle oil pressure even more, if anyone is thinking of going to a hi volume oil pump on their PT, thats ok,as long as you add a oil restrictor in the head under the rear cam cap in the head,a 3/16 hole is perfect, the hi volume oil pumps will suck the oil out of the pan and it does not drain back fast enough to the oil pan, the restrictor will fix this, also the 2003 to 2010 pt's have a higher volume oil pump from the factory,turbo & non turbo, wish I knew if one would fit the 2001 & 2002 pt's non turbo's,I have seen a lot of PT owners complaining bout the intermittent oil light problems, on many PT forums and internet when surfing for a fix, hope this helps the people who have this same problem,if your engine has no noise, and less than 4lbs of oil pressure when hot is found, then add a oil cooler and a mechanical oil pressure gauge, I found no place in the PT to place one inside the car that would not be in the way, so I mounted mine on the bracket for PCM, you may get a small 1-1/2 - 2 inch gauge inside,but my eyes are not that good anymore.. have a great day and God Bless

2 people found this helpful.

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