"check oil light" 93' Toyota Camry

Had been driving for about an hour on the highway when the “check oil” light came on. Pulled over, checked the oil, it was low, added some more until it read normal. After continuing on for awhile, the check oil light came back on, then began coming on here and there, flickering, then sometimes staying off for extended periods during the duration of the drive (another two hours.) Also, it seemed to be affected by whether I was going up or down hill, or if pressed or took my foot off the gas, though I could not determine a consistent pattern. I continued driving because I made the decision to keep driving because I noticed no change in the car’s actual performance. Is this something to be concerned about? A need to rush it to the mechanic?

I certainly would not ignore it. It might turn out to be just an oil pressure sensor problem but if not, you could end up destroying your engine if it is an actual oil level or oil pressure problem.

The “oil light” indicates low oil PRESSURE, not low oil level. An engine with insufficient oil pressure can be damaged or destroyed in very little time.

I would have this checked ASAP. A mechanic can test the actual oil pressure. Maybe the pressure sender is bad. Keep your fingers crossed.

Yes, rush it to a mechanic. Is the oil level still “normal”. Big problem if the oil pump is not providing enough oil pressure. This can be a bad pump or the screen in the oil pan is clogged with “gunk” so the oil cannot be picked up by the pump. Driving with low or no oil pressure can cause severe internal engine damage.

A lesser problem is there is oil pressure but the sending unit is sending a faultly signal and flashing the light. Since you were almost out of oil I suspect the sending unit is OK and therefore get it checked ASAP.

Could be as simple as a bad sending unit…Could be as bad as a worn pump…Get this checked out ASAP…I’d have it towed to a mechanic.

Are you absolutely SURE that this warning light indicates a low level of oil in the crankcase?
More than likely it indicates low oil pressure, which is just as injurious–if not more so-- as a low oil level. If your oil pump is bad, no matter how much oil is present in the crankcase, that oil will not be distributed properly to the engine’s bearings. If oil starvation is severe enough, it can wipe out the surfaces of bearings in literally a few seconds.

Even if you never read the Owner’s Manual in the preceding 16 years, this is the time to take it out of the glove box to determine exactly what that warning light indicates. If, as I suspect, it indicates low oil pressure, do not start the engine. Have the car towed to a reputable mechanic (NOT a chain operation), and have him examine it.

If you are lucky, the problem will just turn out to be a bad oil pressure sensor, which is a quick and inexpensive repair. If you are very unlucky, the oil pump will turn out to be worn out, and in this case, the engine is probably toast by this time. Then, you have to evaluate whether you want to spend the big bucks necessary for an overhauled engine in this car.