2010 Chevy Tahoe

So I just bought a 2010 Chevy Tahoe about two weeks ago. So the truck on Tuesday out of nowhere started having smoke come out of the tailpipe when starting it up. It doesn’t do it everytime you start it up but most times. Then yesterday I got a message on the dashboard saying low oil pressure stop engine but the oil level is fine. Does anyone have an idea on what this could be my appointment with the dealership isn’t until October 8th.


Years ago, this was usually the result of leaking valve seals. Nowadays, it is more likely to be from clogged oil passages, which are the result of “coked” oil deposits. Unfortunately, that type of problem could also lead to low oil pressure. For the sake of your wallet, I hope that the latter is not the case.

Did you have this truck inspected by your mechanic prior to purchase?
Do you have any idea of how well it was maintained by the previous owner(s)?

A good independent mechanic’s shop should be capable of diagnosing and repairing the problem at a lower cost than what a dealership would charge. There is no reason to take an 11 year old vehicle to a dealership if there are competent indy mechanics in your neck of the woods.

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Oil pump could be going out or oil flow might be restricted, regarding the low oil pressure. Or the gauge could just be incorrect. Assuming the level is good, like you mentioned.

The smoke…could be valve seals, could be a worn engine. 5.3 liter of that vintage is known to burn a little oil from time to time. Is the smoke blue? That would be oil. Might not be a huge issue, depending on color of smoke and the quantity. How many miles on the engine.

The low oil pressure warning and the smoke may or may not be related, depending on the color of smoke, etc.

This is NOT the same as oil LEVEL. This warning means what it says… STOP ENGINE. Or, ignore the message and replace your engine. Your choice.

Stop driving this truck. Have it towed to the dealer


Ask your shop to get an independent measure the oil pressure w/their shop gauge. They’ll just unscrew your engine’s oil pressure sensor and screw theirs in, pretty easy job. If the oil pressure tests ok, even if the oil level is ok and looks pretty good, changing the oil and filter is the next step. Suggest to replace the pcv valve on a flyer also, that’s usually an inexpensive and easy to access part. I’d replace the engine air filter too, given this vehicle is new to you. If this vehicle has been sitting unused a lot over the past year or two (due to Covid or whatever), all you may have to do beyond that is start driving it more. The movement of air and fuel and oil through the systems will help de-clog the oil passages and clean the fuel system. If the engine ever overheats, pull over and have it towed to the shop. That could indicate the oil passages are so clogged the important parts inside the engine aren’t getting enough oil flow. That might not show up in an oil pressure test.

Do not freak out over this. In most vehicles you should but not in this case. The engines in the Tahoes, pick ups, Suburbans, etc. have a screen under the oil pressure sending unit that clogs up easily. This is a very common problem!!! The oil pressure sender then the screen needs to be removed and cleaned. It does not take much to clog these screens but it is an indication that the oil needs to be changed a little more often. The oil pressure sender is on top of the rear of the engine and is not real easy to get to.
Good luck,