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Check oil light flickered

Hello I own a 2003 Kia Optima and I was coming up a small tiny hill and my check oil light flickered and boom died. Won’t start no more. When I do try to start it it sounds like it wants too but won’t. I put a car tester on it and it said it was the camshaft position sensor so I bought one and put it in and it still doesn’t want to start. Can anyone help me :sob:

Do a compression check, first thought. Daughter had a saturn, timing chain broke, similar symptoms,

How do I check that ?

A parts store may have a loaner, they can tell you the specifics.

I put a car tester on it again tonight and it gave me the same code P0340 camshaft position sensor but I just bought that and put it on at beginning of January

The code refers to the whole circuit, not just the sensor itself, so could be bad installation, bad part, bad wiring, etc. But don’t believe that would have anything to do with the oil light so maybe a coincidence and chasing the wrong fault.

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If you have the 4 cylinder engine, on the passenger side of the engine is a vertical black cover. Remove the bolts and the cover and your timing belt will be visible. If it is broken or loose, that is your problem.

You have an interference engine and valve or piston damage will occur if the belt has failed. That belt should be replaced every 6-7 years or 60,000 miles.

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I’m still new here lol. I appreciate the feed backs guys. But also I have no idea about cars lol so how do I tell if the belt is bad ?

The belt should be tight against the pulleys and if you try to move it left or right in the same plane as the pulleys it should not move. The teeth on that belt turn the camshafts that open the valves on top of your engine and let the fuel and air in and out. If that belt breaks, at least one cylinder will have its now not moving valves open and a piston will come up and hit it, bending the valve and maybe damaging the piston.

Have you checked your oil using the dipstick? The light that turned on is not a “check oil” light but tells you that you have no oil pressure. Once that light comes on you have a few seconds to shut the engine before it becomes a lump of scrap metal. I suggest you get the car towed to a Kia dealer.


Does this engine have a distributor? If it does, remove the distributor cap and watch the rotor as someone cranks the engine over. If the rotor doesn’t turn, then your engine is likely done for.

Did you ever check your oil level, if there is no oil pressure, there could be a program in the computer that prevents the engine ignition from working when there is no oil.

If you don’t know anything about car engines, how did you replace the cam position sensor? Did you have that done?

When checking the timing belt, there are three modes of failure. One the belt breaks. Two the belt stretches to the point that it skips a tooth now and then. This failure usually doesn’t happen all at once. Generally it will skip a tooth and you will notice reduced power and poorer fuel economy. Then it skips another and it gets worse. The more often this happens, the worse the engine runs until it doesn’t run anymore.

The third is that it strips teeth off a section of the belt. This can be catastrophic like a broken belt. But removing the top belt cover described above will not detect that this happened. The striped section will be down around the crankshaft pulley and the belt will still be tight against the cam pulley. You will have to have someone crank the engine to see if the belt moves and turns the camshaft.

Lol, has any car in the last 30 years had a distributor?

Yes, there were vehicles that used the distributor until the next round of engine design. Honda used a distributor for quite awhile although it was not a distributor in the way that we usually think of one. There was no “ignitor” in the distributor. That was where the cam position sensor was located. It did still have a single coil and rotor and distributor cap. Timing was done by the computer.

Son’s 96 Integra had one. No points but cap and rotor that needed to be replaced. Getting close to 30 years but not quite.

The Astro van had a distributor until its very last model year, 2005

Even the 350 small block had a distributor until the end, which was the early 2000s for some commercial vehicles

You need to be concerned with this oil light flickered business. Have you actually bothered to check the motor oil level? How often, if ever, do you check the oil level?

If the engine is wiped then a crank sensor will accomplish nothing and there is really no such thing as a check oil light. There are low oil level lights and no oil pressure lights. The latter is red and means bad news. Given the light flickered, boom and died, is why I wonder about the state of the engine itself.

+1 to ok4450’s comments.

Yes, it is possible that this is an issue having to do with the cam position sensor, or a broken timing chain, or… God-only-knows what else, but until the OP weighs in with his/her findings after checking the oil level via the dipstick, I think that any suggestions are… let’s just say… premature.

In American medical schools, they teach students that, “If you hear hoofbeats, think first of horses approaching before you think of zebras approaching”. Ergo, an engine that has seized as a result of low oil level should be ruled-out before exploring any other possibilities.


I’m guessing the oil light flickered as the engine died, but first the oil level…

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Yeah, I was in middle/high school in the early 2000s.

I barely even remember cars without COP ignition, but I appreciate the info about distributors…if there was one vehicle that would have that in the 2000s, the Astro makes perfect sense to be it :smile:

sounds like you don’t have a high opinion of Astro vans :smirk: