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1993 volvo oil light comes on

My oil light goes on and off all the time. My mechanic changed the oil but the light still comes on. There is a lot of mileage on this vehicle however, I hope it’s not the engine.

It may be the engine. Or it could be the oil pressure sensor. Have the actual pressure checked just to be sure.

Oil pressure is developed by the pump forcing the oil through the small spaces between the bearingas and their corresponding wear surfaces. A the engine wears and the spaces become larger, the oil flows through more readily making it more difficult to maintain pressure. If the pressure really is low, then you might try a heavier base-weight oil. Might help, might not, but it’s worth trying.

If your Volvo is like the vast majority of cars on the road, the only “oil light” on the dashboard is the one that warns of low oil pressure, and is not an indicator that you need to change the oil or that you need to add a qt or two of oil.

Some cars do have a light to notify you of the need for an oil change, and some have a warning light to notify you of the need to add a qt of oil, but ALL cars have a light to warn you of oil pressure that is so low as to damage the engine. You need to open the glove compartment, take out the Owner’s Manual, and find out if your car has an oil change indicator and/or an oil level indicator in addition to a low oil pressure warning light.

Low oil pressure–especially in an older car–is usually an indication that there is a lot of wear in the engine.
It can also mean that the oil pump is failing.
Or, in the best-case scenario, it can simply mean that the oil pressure sending unit in the engine is defective and needs to be replaced.

Since your car is now 17 years old, it is likely that there is a lot of wear on this engine. If you would share the important detail of how many miles are on the odometer, forum members would be able to be more helpful on this point.

Anyway–the first thing that you need to do is to find a new, competent mechanic.
If this guy told you that a glowing oil pressure light simply means that you need to change the oil, I wouldn’t allow him near my car.

Either ask friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors for a recommendation on a new mechanic, or use the “mechanic finder” feature on this website. Have the new mechanic check the actual pressure being put out by the engine’s oil pump. If you are very lucky, he will tell you that the pressure is normal, and that he only needs to replace a defective sending unit. Or, he may tell you that this engine is ready for the scrap heap.

Please report back to us after you have found a competent mechanic and he has given you his assessment of the problem.

I forgot to tell you a few days ago my car wouldnt start so I had the battery charged and drove it to the mechanic and explained to him my oil light keeps coming on, so he changed the oil but the light still comes on. I have about 150,000 miles on my car.

If in fact he changed the oil to address the oil light coming on, and the oil was not really really low, than I have to agree with VDC…you need a new mechanic.

I’m giving this a bump, just in case the OP has trouble locating it.

I say no wear related issue is going on here. The OP mentioned nothing of consumption or noise …or lack of utility …all pretty much coexist with high wear engines. 150k is hardly any end of life for a modern engine outside of some flawed design characteristic.

I’d say that if the oil light only came on at idle and then went away as the rpms climbed, then we can figure it’s a true pressure related issue. Otherwise the wiring is more suspect …and beyond that some fouled pump relief. Then after all of those far more plausible (and cheap) suspects being eliminated would I look at wear being the cause.

Not knowing the history of oil changes and if you use quality oil or not, it’s hard to say whether the engine is worn out or not. A couple of incidents of letting the oil get very low can kill an engine’s bearings despite doing routine maintenance.

You also don’t say whether the oil light comes on at idle, at speed, when the car is cold, warmed up, etc.

I’d say the first step would be to get a competent mechanic to put a mechanical oil pressure gauge on the car and test the oil pressure while the engine is warm. This will address the true question: Is the engine’s oil pressure normal or not?

I now have a new competent mechanic (cartalk recommended)and he said I need an oil pump reseal, crank position sensor, radius arm bushings, transmission fluid flush, front eng seals & timing belt covers…quite expensive. I’m not able to do the repairs until maybe a month from now will that affect my car if it sits for a month. Thanks to all of you!!!

“I’m not able to do the repairs until maybe a month from now will that affect my car if it sits for a month.”

No, the car will not be adversely affected by allowing it to “sit” for a month. Since it sounds like there is an oil leak, be sure to check the oil and refill to the “full” mark on the dipstick if necessary before driving it to the mechanic next month.

Incidentally, in the intervening month, you have an excellent opportunity to read the Owner’s Manual.
I am still concerned that you thought that the warning light for dangerously low oil pressure was an indication of something other than low oil pressure. You need to become as familiar as possible with the warning lights, gauges, and controls of this car in order to preserve both its life and yours!

Also–thank you for reporting back to us. We do not always hear about the outcome of our advice, so your feedback is appreciated.

Happy Motoring!