2000 Toyota Avalon Oil Question

Earlier today I noticed my car making a weird sound when I accelerated, Like a grinding or pinging sound. I checked the oil and it was almost dry, and the oil light in the car never came on. The car runs ok other than the noise, but I have parked it and am going to change the oil before I drive it again. Im wondering If any major damage may have occurred and what I should do about it. Thanks in advance.

Damage was done, the only question is how much. The oil light only tells you when you have lost all oil pressure, by then it is usually to late.

Well What should my plan of action be at this point, change the oil and take the car in to be looked at? Im not sure what to do.

Change the oil and filter and hope you have some reasonable usable life left. The damage that’s been done has already been done. It may eb good for another 5,000 miles or 50,000 miles, there’s no way of knowing.

And in the future, monitor your oil level routinely, perhaps weekly. And check the other fluids while yo’re under the hood. You’ll save your future engines from the same fate.

I want to echo mountainbike’s excellent advice.

In addition, I would add that it would be a good idea to add a couple of qts of oil for the drive to the mechanic’s place of business. While you have undoubtedly shortened the life of the engine to a very great degree, you can somewhat attenuate further damage if there is some additional oil in the crankcase while you drive to the mechanic.

For the sake of the engine and your wallet DO NOT take the car to Jiffy Lube or any of their “quick-change” clones. The incidence of fatal mistakes at this type of place put your car at risk of further problems, beyond the ones that you already created. Take the car to a real mechanic–of the independent variety.

Also–you need to begin using the Owner’s Manual that was provided with the car. It will show you where the dipsticks for the motor oil and the transmission fluid are located, where the power steering pump, the brake master cylinder, and the coolant reservoir/radiator cap are located. Once you know where these things are, you can begin to do the type of regular checking that a diligent car owner is expected to do. The manual will tell you when to change the oil and the other fluids.

The manual will also tell you about the function of the warning lights on your dashboard. Just as you were very wrong about expecting the oil pressure warning light to tell you to add oil, you may be just as mistaken about the other warning lights on your dashboard. Knowing what a gauge or a warning light does, and what it does not do, is very important for you to know.

Even if there is little life left in this engine, what you learn at this point will help you to preserve the life of the future cars in your life.

Damage, yes. Major damage, hard to tell. Action: before you start the car you must add at least 3 quarts of oil, before you take it for an oil change. You can buy the cheapest oil available, but you must have oil in the motor before you start it again.

Then get the oil and filter changed. In about 1,500 miles or 2 months get the oil changed again. Perhaps that will clean out any metal shavings and sludge build up (from interanal overheating). After that you might as well drive the car and see what happens.

If it continues to make metallic knocking sounds then the damage was significant and you can either trade the car in, sell it to some unsuspecting unfortunate buyer, or get the motor rebuilt or replaced.

BlitzCraig, what do you mean the oil was almost dry? Could you see any at all on the dipstick?

Man …the group here sure does love a good hanging. It’s a shame they did away with that sorta thing. LOL!!

Most engines never reach their end of life. Without further evidence/comments, I’ll assume that you won’t either. The condition at retirement can and will vary, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth getting rid of.

Add oil …drive …get it changed and don’t worry about it. Check it often and keep track of how often oil needs to be added.

After you’ve figured out that the engine has a functional service life (that is, you can cope with adding a $2 quart of oil every so often and not think it’s like you’ve got some permanent STD) consider using Auto-Rx to remove any deposits that are surely present.

I’m going to change my answer. Like everyone else, I assumed from the post that the strange new sounds were from oil starvation and resultant damage. That may still turn out to be true, but since the oil light never came on signaling a loss of pressure, it is possible that the sounds are being caused by some other cause. Before making any more assumptions I’d suggest checking the spark plugs, ignition, and checking the computer for stored fault codes. Since you weren’t checking your oil, my guess is that the rest of the maintenance has been ignored also. You may luck out and find that the noise is caused by a need for a good tuneup.

Now, get everything maintenance-wise up to date, start caring for the car better, and hope the oil was a “red herring” that misled us all.

Sincere best.