I have 2001 Sebring LX, 6 cylinders 2.7 engine. It has 93,000 miles. Recently, after I drive the car fo 20+ miles, everytime I stop at a traffic light or stop sign the engine motor oil light appears but it disappears once the car starts moving. I always check the oil level before driving the car and I have never added any oilbetween oil changes. I plan to drive this comfortable car for long distance, is it safe?
As always in cases like yours you must rule out the posibility that the sending unit is not a fault. This is done by temporairly installing a mechanical oil pressure gauge. I would accept pressure as low as 7psi at idle 10psi for every 1000 rpm above 1000rpm,would be nice to see oil pressure reach its regulated max by 2500rpm. I have no idea as to the reputation the engine you have has. Maybe it is a poor design that wears out early,or has a poorly designed oil system.
The presence of the oil pressure warning light under these circumstances suggests that your oil pressure is dangerously low at idle speed. The level of oil in the crankcase has nothing to do with the oil pressure.
If it has been a very long time since the oil was changed, it is possible that the oil is beginning to break down, and is too thin once it warms up. However, there are other possibilities:
*The engine has incurred an extreme amount of wear, thus leading to low oil pressure
*The oil pump is failing
*The oil pressure sensor/sending unit is defective
If you really plan on driving that car for a long distance, I would suggest that you get it towed to a reputable repair shop a.s.a.p. (This does NOT include Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, Firestone Goodyear, or any other chain operation.)
If the problem is merely a defective oil pressure sensor/sending unit, the cost will not be very high, it can be repaired quickly, and you should have several good years left in this vehicle.
On the other hand, if the problem is a bad oil pump, the engine may have already suffered a lot of damage. If the oil presssure is low because of excessive engine wear, that would suggest that the oil was not changed often enough. In either of these cases, you could be looking at very high repair costs, and I would question whether a 7 year old car that was never very highly rated is worth a significant investment. That is a decision that only you can make.
Good luck, and please post back with the results of the mechanic’s examination of the engine.
I should mention that my folks’ 2000 Dodge Intrepid (138K) with this exact same engine was doing the very same thing a few weeks ago when I took it on a ~65 mile highway drive. After I was done with the highway part and was hitting stoplights, the oil light started to come on at idle. It was almost a quart low so I topped it up and it seemed to be okay the rest of the day.
I seem to remember hearing that these engines had a really bad reputation for sludge buildup. I don’t know if that will cause the conditions described, but I don’t think your problem is 100% unique.