Car died

My 1994 ford taurus died on the side of the highway lastnight. A roseside helper came and told me i had barely any oil in it. My car is trying to start but wont. WHAT DO I DO???

Junk it

If it’s out of oil you DON’T WAN’T it to start! It may be severely damaged the way it is now. Tow it!

Thanks i was hoping for some good news!

Can i just put oil in it and try to crank it?

I would. Once you get it started you’ll be able to assess whether it’s worth doing any more to it.

Can you provide some more detail? You said it barely had any oil but if it was showing oil on the dipstick then that wouldn’t cause it to stop running. What was going on just before you pulled to the side of the road? Had you had any unusual noises or warning lights come on?

More information please

no lights came on just a rattling noise!

Put 3 quarts of oil in it and see if you have any reading on the dipstick. If not, add another quart and so on until you have oil up to at least the “low” marker.

Then try to start the car. I doubt it will start, but it is worth a try. If it runs OK you might just get a few more miles out of it. If it runs but poorly the damage from no oil could be beyond repair.

The oil level might have nothing, or everything, to do with your problem. If it takes 5 quarts of oil to get a reading on the dipstick, that isn’t good news.

I put oil in the car and no change! I am starting to think it was not the oil to start with! What else would make my car make a crazy rattling noise then not want to speed up then die and not want to crank?

That “crazy rattling noise” was probably a grenade going off in your engine. How many quarts oil did you have to add?

The rattling was probably the valves. If it was rattling loudly, a combination of oil loss and overheat may have happened. If this is the case, this engine is junk and not worth repairing on a 16 year old car.

The engine needs 4 things to run: Gas, Air, Compression, and Spark. Air and compression are a function of the mechanical condition of the engine. Gas includes the fuel in the tank and fuel delivery system, including pump, regulator, and injectors. Spark includes the ignition system, including the ignition module, coil, and spark plugs.

These need to be checked to determine why the car will not start. I generally start with Spark, then Gas, then Compression. If you cannot check this on the roadside, you’ll need to tow it to a shop.

BK described things perfectly.

And I would submit that if the lack of attention you’ve paid to your oil is indicative of the attention you’ve paid to the rest of the car, you might even want to start with a whole set of new ignition system parts, meaning the spark plug wires, the distributor cap, the rotor, and the plugs. Along with new filters.

Normally I’d recommend doing diagnosis before changing any parts, but in this case I suspect there’s a better-than-normal chance that you’re simply way overdue for new ignition parts.

I just had a tune up and oil change less than a month ago as well as a new fuel filter!

The car had a tune up and an oil change, what did the tune up consist of? Plugs, wires, air filter, etc? Where was the tune up and oil change done, dealer, independent mechanic, quick lube or chain? There are too many horror stories about quick lube places on this forum.

Very important, was the oil level ever checked after the oil change before the car died? If not, there is a possibility the oil changed was botched. No way to prove it now though.

How much oil was needed to bring the level back up to the full line? By the way how many miles are on the car?

It would be easier for all involved if the forum didn’t have to play 20 Questions to get pertinent info from the OP.

Ed B.

I would add to the list one more question.
How much oil was the car using before the oil change?

Something has gone amiss here. For an engine to run low on oil in just one month suggests that either it’s been using oil for a while or the oil change was botched.

And, since you did get a tuneup, I retract my suggestion and suggest moving forward in a diagnostic manner, starting with checking for spark.

My brother in law did the tune up and oil change. It took 2 quarts of oil to bring it back up to the full line. There are 222,300 miles on the car. My bro said it sounds like the timing jumped but the timing belt was changed like a year ago. It is really trying to start it almost did one time.