Automatic low-oil pressure shutdown mechanism

Thanks for the reply! I totally believe you, but do you know where this might be documented so I can show it the mechanic?

All I would need to do is cut open the oil filter and look for metal particulate in the filter media.


Very few cars have ever been built with a low oil pressure shutoff feature and your Honda is not one of them.

Yes, a badly damaged engine may appear to run fine when topped off with oil but it’s damaged goods and may give up at any time.

This mechanic is in CYA (cover your axx) mode and is feeding you a line of BS in the hopes that you will go away. He owes you a new engine whether he likes it or not; and he won’t like it you can rest assured of that.

Why do they even bother putting oil pressure gauges and warning lights in cars?? Nobody pays any attention to them…

New engine?? This is a 2002 Honda… How about a used engine with similar mileage…

I agree with you. Most just turn up the radio and revert to Karaoke mode to drown out the knocking rod bearings.

By new I meant new to the car if nothing else. Either way, the OP may be in for some additional BS and foot dragging.

No such mechanism. It would be stupid. Imagine your engine losing oil pressure as you were navigating a twisty mountain road and the engine quit, depriving you of power steering, power brakes, etc. You could die, all to save an engine.

Having said that, your engine may run ok now, but its life has been severely shortened, Cars are not like people, where what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. What doesn’t kill the engine just brings the end a little closer.

A new engine is not in order, but a used one with similar or fewer miles.

No you don’t have auto shutdown. When the noises started the damage was significant. When the smoke comes out of the engine compartment the motor is severely overheated due to all the friction of raw metal grinding on raw metal. The bearings will be burned out, the pistons and rings have scored the cylinders and the head is likely warped from the heat. The motor can run like this when you put oil in it, but it won’t run well, it won’t have much power, and it won’t last long.

The only way the motor could survive is to turn it off as soon as the “oil” light came on. Once the noise started it is all downhill from there.

ALL cars have a mechanism that shuts down the engine if the oil pressure gets too low. It is called “seizing”. Unfortunately, it shuts the engine down permanently.

I’ll repeat it…Why do people continue to drive after the oil light comes on? The oil light means STOP NOW! Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Shut it down immediately!

OH…DUH, my fault…I didnt read your question properly…no no mfg co puts a shutdown in their cars or at least not many if there are any…With the way people are and how they treat their cars I think there should be tho.

I have done it before tho…

It is possible to wire up a relay to break your ignition circuit in the event of low oil pressure…In fact it is extremely easy…IF you know how to wire a relay and how to integrate it into the cars ignition harness.

I have done it on 3 vehicles I have had over the years just for giggles.

The only thing you need to know aside from all the relay wiring is that upon startup you would need a switch lockout system…when the car is not running and or being cranked…it doesnt have oil pressure…so you lock it out…start the car…turn the oil shutdown relay on…then you are protected…I am sure you could rig in an electronic device to do this for you but… The major problem with this is if you forget to switch your protection circuit back on…you are unprotected…and that will happen…

So to answer your question…yes its possible, but it is probably outside the scope of your abilities… and without some tyrpe of device to disable the system when there is low oil pressure as there is during startup…your system will have a very big weakness in its design. I could prob get around this using a diode…or an electronic box of some sort…again…if it is getting outside my level of experience…I am afraid it will be far out of range for most…

I had a 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue which and both an oil pressure light and an oil level light. I don’t know which one did it (I suspect the oil level system) but it shut the engine in a fast sweeping turn when I was going way fast and plastered all the oil against the right side of the pan.

I will never knowingly buy a car with that system again.

My 1975 Civic had an electric fuel pump coupled to the oil pressure sensor with a relay.
This was there to keep the fuel pump from running when the engine wasn’t.
That could stop the engine if oil pressure were lost, but it would take awhile for the carburetor bowl to empty.

I think it would help on modern cars if the loud, annoying seat belt buzzer were triggered by the oil light.

You don’t need to show it to the mechanic. He already knows. He’s lying.

The mechanic is wrong on two counts.

First, you have no such mechanism. My '72 Vega had that, but it was because GM was testing aluminum engines with unlined cylinders and they needed to add extra protection. It didn’t work. The engines self-destructed anyway, even with oil. But that’s another story for another time.

Second, there was definitely damage. The damage could range from reduced engine life to severe internal damage manifesting itself as poor mileage, poor operation, and burning oil. Your cylinders are pretty much guaranteed to be scored.

And perhaps “bearing knock”, a condition wherein the damage to the bearings (I guarantee you have some) is severe enough that the crank and bearing surfaces are no longer consistant enough to maintain the proper pressuruzed oil film between the corresponding surfaces…and they bang against one another.

Monitor your oil usage very carefully. And look for smoke upon acceleration, upon deceleration, and upon startup. Have a friend follow you up the highway watching for smoke. Smoke under any of these circumstances is bad news. Sadly, the only way to definitively evaluate the engine would be to do a compression check and then open it up, to drop the oil pan and pull a few bearing caps. A compression check would be prudent, but may or may not be definitive. If it’s bad, it means damage was done, but of it’s good it doesn;t mean the bearings weren’t damaged.

A 72 Vega had ANY engine component made of Aluminum?..interesting…I have to look that up.

It only ran like it was made of lead.

I’d love to get my hands on an early chrome bumper Vega and do some Hot Rodding…I always liked how the 2dr looked even when I was young I noticed it… I nice LT1 under the hood would be wicked or an entire Camaro drivetrain with a 6sp manual…that would be fast and really fast because of the high final drive with the 6sp…top speed wouldbe over 160 for sure… Hmmm…my next other project? lol… I need a new career first… My desires for car projects exceed my financial abilities…but I fear that will always be the case…unless I hit the Powerball… A guy can dream right?

I just found this link…Aw man…

'71s and '72s had the chrome bumpers. '73 was the year the feds mandated the 5mph bumpers and they had to switch to the slotted front end, which I always thought looked like the front of a WWII troop carrier.

Cosworth Engineering used to make a complete conversion kit to drop a smallblock V8 under the hood of a Vega, complete with a beefed up subframe, a new rearend, and all the necessary hardware. There was plenty of room under the hood. It’s rumored that GM was originally considering selling a smallblock V8 version, but it never happened. V8 Vegas actually became common in hot rod circles. There was a fella here in Hooksett NH that had one up until probably 5 years ago. They were definitely cool.

I liked my Vega, although I’ll be the first to admit it was a constrction of all the cheesiest parts known to man. I had the 2-door (hatchback) and it was a great little car when it was new. I got rid of it after four years when the rear axle with wheel slid out of the housing and off the car. The retainer clips in the diferential assembly had a habit of falling off, freeing the axle from its prison…whereupon it would try to escape from the car.

I could list the other problems for which there were ultimately recalls, such as the breaking idle stop solenoid brackets that fell into the accelerator linkage and held it open, and the insufficient coolant system volume, but why bother.

Read this pretty comprehensive history of the Vega. There is a whole section devoted just to the aluminum block engines they tried (and failed with).

That was the best history of the Vega that I’ve ever seen. Thank you sincerely for the link.

The Vega gets bashed a lot, and deservedly so to some extent, but plenty of other car makers in this era had their share of iffy designs.

An example could be the early/mid 70s Subaru with the wet sleeve engines. This meant the aluminum block housed removeable cylinder liners that sat atop copper gaskets of varying thicknesses.
The liners were designed to protrude above the block by about .005 of an inch and this helped to seal the head gasket.

Now think about the following, which the engineers apparently failed to do during all of this.
Subaru recommends head bolt retorques EVERY 15k miles.
Block is aluminum.
Cylinder liners are steel.
Cylinder liner crush gaskets are copper.
Copper is a soft metal.

Needless to say, head gasket failure could be brought on by overheating, the passage of time, and other factors such as the sun rising in the east, change of wind direction, etc. :slight_smile: