Car lost power and white smoke

the car has felt like it looses power a little while ideling but never has completely. we have had the oil light on for a week but hadn’t checked it yet. then it lost power twice while driving so we pulled over and white smoke was coming out of the oil. we added a quart of oil but it would not start… the dip stick was still low, looked dark but not sludge. it mightvebeen leaking the oil we poured in but that could be from the power steering leak we had. started it a few days later. the engine sounded like it was shaking real loud back and forth. does anyone know what’s wrong or should we drive it like that 15 minutes to the machanic? thanks for your time.

This car may be beyond any simple fixes as a result of driving it for a week after the “oil light”-- which actually is a warning of low oil pressure–started to glow.

As the text in your Owner’s Manual will confirm, when that light shows up, it should be essentially be interpreted as, “pull over immediately, shut down the engine right away, check the oil level, and replenish the oil if the dipstick shows a low reading. If the “oil light” goes off after adding sufficient oil, then it should be safe to drive. If the “oil light” is still on, then shut the engine down and tow the car to a competent mechanic for diagnosis.”

The sequence of events (first an indication of low oil pressure–which was ignored–followed by smoke & shaking of the engine) tells me that you may well have destroyed the engine by delaying any action regarding the first warning light. Just as with medical treatment, delayed action is almost always more costly, and potentially fatal.

No, you shouldn’t drive it.
The car should be towed to a competent mechanic’s shop, and after getting the diagnosis, then you will have to decide whether to fix or to replace this vehicle of unknown age, make and model.

An oil light on for a week and not bothering to check the oil level combined with the dark but not sludge comment has the pessimist side of me agreeing completely with VDCdriver.

“we have had the oil light on for a week but hadn’t checked it yet.”

I’ve been having squeezing burning pains in my chest and arm and have been out of breath for a week but haven’t gone in to get checked out yet. Well, if your car were a person that’s what it would be saying. If the oil light has been on for a week and it sounds and runs bad I think the engine is beyond repair.