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2003 VW Passat Turbo oil light issues

the oil light comes on with instructions to stop engine now. Oil was just changed 2 wks prior. 130,000 miles Occurs during highway driving after several hours. We use synthetic oil. Why is this happening?

This is usually caused by (assuming the oil level is correct) a faulty oil pressure sending unit or a serious engine problem. Pray that it’s the former.

You can either have an oil pressure test done or change the sending unit and hope for the best but the first step is raise the hood and make sure there’s some oil in it.

oil level is fine. Is the oil pressure sending unit the same thing as the oil pump? We changed the oil pump at about 90,000 miles

No, the oil pressure sending unit is what illuminates the dashboard oil light when the pressure is too low.

I always get very suspicious when an oil pump is changed. Oil pumps seldom wear out and are often replaced as part of a misdiagnosis.
Look at this way. The oil pump is the first thing to receive oil from the pan. If the pump is really worn out this means the rest of the engine is worn out since it all follows the pump on the lubrication chain.

The oil pressure switch is not a big deal at all and should always be the first thing inspected whenever there is an oil light flashing on.
If the oil pressure switch is not bad then it’s likely the engine has a serious oil pressure loss problem; usually crankshaft bearings and to a lesser extent, camshaft journal saddles.

If the engine has low oil pressure, and seeing as how this is summertime, you might consider stepping the oil viscosity up a step or two to something heavier.

thanks so much for the info.

And one more thing Margie…

DO NOT TAKE IT IN TO A VW DEALER for the diagnostic/repairs. If you do, the first thing you’ll hear from them is: “This car cannot be driven any more, off our lot. You will need a new engine. The cost will be $6000-$7000”

Look around for an independent shop (not part of a national chain i.e Pepboys, Meineke, etc, etc), preferably one that specializes in VW’s, or at least European cars.

Use the linky below to try and locate one in your area:

Wow, kind of harsh and generalizing aren’t you? My experience with the dealers I have worked with have been good. Not saying that there aren’t bad dealers out there (there are for any brand). Just remember that NOT ALL dealers are bad.

VW dealers are the pits !

I’ve worked for several VW dealers over the years and the vast majority of techs there were very qualified and as a matter of fact, the best mechanics I’ve ever known worked for VW so I think your generalizing is very misguided.

I used to diagnose stuff like this all the time as did my compadres and no one was ever told they needed an engine or transmission unless they really needed it.

As to independents ask yourself this. Many cars (VW is prone to this) require special tools, techniques, and info to perform certain repairs.
So if the independent shop does not have those specialized tools and info how are they actually performing that job?

In this particular case there’s nothing special about an oil pressure test and what would be interesting is to hear if a thieving VW dealer did this oil pump change or whether the OP had this done at an independent shop.

Those Mechanics Files serve as a guideline but anyone can post anything there, including the owner of the shop who may be patting himself on the back under a half dozen different posts.
One shop listed there has an owner who has been dead for going on 10 years due to a car crash. (I knew the guy personally.)

You need to get the oil pressure tested with a gauge when the engine warmed up. This will determine whether the sensor is faulty or you have a more severe problem. (like worn bearings)

You may have a great VW dealer, but if you can find a decent independent shop that’s qualified to work on your car, it will likely be a lot cheaper than the dealer.

Our locale one is very good according to the happy VW owners. A bit pricey but very good.

Have it checked out by a VW dealer. This engine/year was very prone to oil sludging which VW covered by an extended warranty.

If sludge is the problem, horray >>>

I know of this as a few friends ran into this and were covered. I will also add they were lax on oil changes.

I bet its oil sludge. I had a 2002 Passat with the turbo and VW sent me info stating that they would extend the warranty to original owners I think up to 100k, which won’t help you. I got rid of mine before it hit 40k, I never owned a worst car and most VW dealers are the pits.

Oil sluding causes premature engine wear. Don’t want engine oil sludge then change the oil regularly. Problem solved.