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2005 Dodge Durango 3.7L V6 Oil Light Dilemma

Do I need an oil pump or worse, what could be more serious? The other day in Las Vegas my oil light was on it chimed. It only chimed once or twice so I kept driving. Well, that was a mistake because it chimed three times and then nonstop chiming after that chiming.
So is it wise to tow the vehicle to the shop? The check engine light never warned me only oil light and no error codes reported by the onboard computer OBD2.

Since my sad chime episode I have changed the oil and more importantly the filter. What do you recommend next? Is it time to car shop for a replacement vehicle?
Rich desperate in Vegas with Dodge

Was oil low when you checked it before the oil change?
Need to have the actual oil pressure checked with a gauge.

Now the other items:
Which engine?
How many miles?
How is it running after the oil change?
Your comment “more importantly the filter” has me questioning if you have had the oil changed regularly.
As far as a new vehicle, that is a financial decision you will have to make.


Anytime a red oil light comes on it means pull over now, turn off engine, and do not start until remedy. If it’s yellow, stop check oil, listen for clicking sounds from top of engine. If good drive home watching temp gage. Yellow oil lights are not designed to turn on when engine is running.

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Engine is 3.7L v6

Only 71,170 miles

Oil level was normal however, the filter is unknown a few years of service.

Is it wise to try to start it after the oil change? Or is it better to tow it to the shop and ask a professional?

I want to avoid costly repairs at this point. Understood it was crazy to drive with oil light on. By driving in low oil pressure condition did it damage the valves? Cam ?

It did not overheat. Thank you very much for the relpy.


Thank you Tcmichnorth.

Try and start it. If the oil light doesn’t turn of within 15 seconds turn it off and get it towed if it turns off listen to make sure there’s no abnormal clicking or knocking. Then if all is good, drive it to a shop, tell them exactly what happened. They will check physical oil pressure and at least a compression test to see and hear if any damages occurred. Maybe someone else can verify how long to let it run before shutting off. In my experience the oil filter is full and pressurized between 5 and 10 seconds.


Replace the oil pressure sending unit.

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Ah, good point. Still wonder why the oil filter wasn’t changed at each oil change.
Which reminds me. We still get CarTalk reruns. This past Saturday Ray (I think) found a use for a 87 Colt Vista, said he was never going to do an oil or filter change, just top it off. I wonder if he did that and how long it lasted.

Thank you tcmichnorth and Purebred. This sounds serious and the oil light stays on.

This past post was helpful Oil light still on after oil change

It just might very well be the sending unit as Nevada_545 indicated, without any internal problems.
Switch should be less than $10. You will need either a lift or ramps to change. But, there is always a but, may require a special socket. Seems simple per YouTube videos. I, just for my own convenience, would have a shop do the change.

Sometimes, when hearing hoof beats, we look for zebras. I think Nevada saw the herd of horses.

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Does this mean that the oil was changed, but not the filter.
Or you have just been topping off the oil as needed for the last few years.

Oil filters are cheap


Yeah but as my favorite public health official says, sometimes it really is zebras. Yeah I’ve only had a problem with the sender but to be sure you need to have a manual oil pressure gauge hooked up to see what the actual pressure is. So if not the sensor, then you’re talking pump, clogged screen, worn bearings, etc.

It’s either a faulty oil pressure sending unit (cheap) or a sludged and/or worn out engine.

Based on the several years old oil filter comment and the fact that you continued to drive with the chime going I would suspect the latter.

A shop can measure the oil pressure with their shop gauge. Then OP would know for certain whether there’s a remaining oil pressure problem or not. This task usually requires temporarily removing the oil pressure sensor, so that part can easily be replaced at the same time if OP desires.

Chrysler Products of this vintage had a lot of oil pressure sending units fail. It was one of only two repairs on my 2004 PT Cruiser in the 7 1/2 years I owned it before it was totaled by an idiot looking right , turning left, and talking on a cell phone.