Floridian just moved to Kansas

I have a 2002 Jeep Liberty that has spent the last 7 years in Florida(bought it in 2001). I just moved to Kansas and have experienced snow and ice for the first time. About two weeks ago, after the first freezing rain, my oil light came on while I was stopped at a stop sign. As soon as I accelerated it went off. This happened about 3 or 4 times that week. I took the Jeep in to the dealership for a Jeep recall repair and told him I thought I needed an oil change. We put 1200 miles on it just on the drive up. On the drive home from the dealership the oil light came on again. Over the last week I’ve tried to let it warm up for about 5 or 10 minutes before I go anywhere and have found that the oil light doesn’t seem to come on when I do that.

Is this just something that happens in the winter in the north? Or is this really an issue? And if it’s an issue, shouldn’t the mechanic have noticed something during the oil change? My husband’s truck (a '98 GMC) had a similar issue when we first arrived & the oil change seemed to correct his issue.

First are you sure that is the oil light? Have you personally checked the oil level? How many miles between oil changes?

Note: Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee. 

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.

First did you ever check the oil level at any time between oil changes? What is your typical oil change interval?

Did you mention the oil light to the dealer? Oil light illuminating if true reading means you are doing SEVERE damage to your engine hence the red color. Most mechanics would simply put a manual oil pressure guage on the system and get a real reading. It also could be your oil pressure sensor(s) have gone bad. Changing oil is a simple procedure and very unrelated to an oil pressure light. It would only illuminate if they did not place oil or very little in the engine and most simply check that after starting engine and moving vehicle out of a bay.

Your oil light is an indicator of LOW oil pressure. It is not an indicator of low oil level or the need for an oil change unless the low oil level is causing the oil pump to not be able to pick up any oil from the oil pan where it’s contained. By the time it comes on, you may have already damaged the engine.

The question is do you really have low oil pressure, or just a faulty oil pressure switch? Any shop should be able to put a direct reading mechanical gauge on the engine to see what the pressure is. DON’T let anyone talk you into just changing the switch without testing.

If you find yourself in Wichita, welcome. We didn’t get that much snow or ice. This stuff will all be melted off the streets by this afternoon. I like Yost Automotive on East 2nd, or Peniston’s on East Central for any work I don’t want to do myself. I’ve never known them to overcharge or do anything that didn’t really need doing.

Are you two ever even raising the hood to check the oil level between oil changes? If not, you’re begging for trouble.

Thank you all! We just moved to the KC area, Olathe to be exact. We are trying to find a good independent mechanic, being new to the area. We had a GREAT one back in Florida and miss him dearly. =(
As far as the background on our vehicle, I have never missed a 3000 mile oil change and it is fast approaching tohe 100k mile mark. This is our primary family vehicle (it’s driven EVERYWHERE!) and we’ve never had an issue with the oil light. I’m positive it’s the oil light, I IMEDIATELY looked in the manual when it came on to make sure. I’m sorry to say I don’t regularly check my oil between oil changes. I usually check the oil level before a trip, and did so right before we left Florida. It was fine. This is why I associated the issue with the new climate/weather. It’s the only thing that has changed.
From the responses I received we’ve decided we will be taking it in this week (not to the dealer) to have the pressure checked, as many of you have suggested.
Thanks again.

Welcome to the KC area. I live just north of you, outside Basehor. Use Mechanix files on this site to get some mechanic recommendations. I have used or knew friends who used some of them and can vouch for them. I personally believe most of the Jeep dealers are suspect in our area. Had too many negative experiences with more than one about 20 years ago, and I do hold grudges. There are several good quality independent mechanics to use, and I highly recommend that you do so.

Start checking oil between oil changes. It is apparent your vehicle is starting to use some oil between oil changes, and checking the oil level with some frequency and before long trips will tell you what your average oil consumption is.