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HELP! Did I do a lot of damage to my truck?

So, I made a mistake. My oil indicator kept going nuts and it only flickers on idle. While driving it’s fine. I checked the dipstick and the oil level APPEARED fine. So, I figured “nice my indicator is going”. No leaks by the way and under the recommended oil change (close to it though). However, this morning… the dreaded clicking sounds started. I know it wasn’t the day before because I drove without the music or anything on and no sounds. As soon as I heard the clicking I knew but, my knowledge only goes so far in terms of how much damage has been done.

I threw a quart of oil in and the sounds are gone completely. I drove for a little bit and the oil indicator is also steady. But, I think it’s a little odd my truck burns oil that quick though. It has just under 150K. I hate to lose this truck man I just did a whole bunch of work on it and I love it.

Any advice?

Did I miss an important detail?
I don’t see any info in your post regarding the rate of oil consumption of your truck.

In any event, I strongly urge you to have a qualified mechanic (NOT a chain-run place like Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, Pep Boys, or–God forbid–AAMCO) check the actual oil pressure at idle speed. I say that because your “indicator” is intended to warn you of low oil pressure, not low oil volume, and if you have been running the engine for an extended period of time with low oil pressure, then there are going to be consequences.

A good mechanic can determine if the problem is related to the presence of oil sludge on the pickup screen, and/or in the oil galleries and other areas of the engine, or if the oil pump is actually failing. And, he should also be able to determine what damage has already taken place. “Clicking” noises from the engine are not a good sign, sadly.

damn it… Do you think I can get to run for at least 1 year? Until I finish my schooling. I only need 5 months then I’m done…

We can’t say until you do what VDCdriver suggested. Get the oil pressure tested and see what damage has been done.

Maybe you were checking the trans fluid level, or maybe you need to clean the dipstick and recheck a few times while engine is off of course. Keep an eye on the oil and we can hope your car will make it. Fouled plugs and clogged cat would be the biggest threat for massive oil consumption.
“I threw a quart of oil in and the sounds are gone completely. I drove for a little bit and the oil indicator is also steady”

Your indicator is not “going”. The indicator is telling you that at idle your oil pressure is dropping too low.

Have a mechanic assess it, but this generally means the engine is too well worn. The oil pump draws oil up from the pool in the oilpan and pushes it through oil channels built into the engine’s parts and forces it through the spaces between the wear surfaces and the sleeve bearings. That pushing through the system is where the oil pressure comes from. Excess wear allows the oil to flow past the bearings too easily and the pump cannot maintain pressure. It shows up at idle, because that’s when the pump is pumping its weakest.

The “damage” consist of excess wear. It could be from neglect, or it could be from normal use. If the truck was used in the city, 150K could be enough to wear the engine out. An engine in the city could have as many hours on it in 150K as an engine in the country has in 350K.

Thank you all for the well, though out answers.

Mountain, I like to thank you especially because of you just gave me that miraculous light bulb. I actually in fact just moved out of a city. To tell you the truth I was also, skeptical why it was sold to me for such a cheap price. $2700.
I’m also skeptical as to why he installed a tow hitch! Seriously?! What can you tow with a tow with a Ford Ranger?!?!?!

Well, I’ll just keep doing proper maintenance and hope I can finish school before it completely goes ca-put. I’ll get a fund started immediately to save for a new vehicle.

It’s just upsetting because I did some work to this truck.

Not much I can do now I’ve had it since March.

I don’t know the last time you checked your oil or changed it. Not knowing this, I assume you simply ran low on oil. Perhaps more frequently checking the oil level will help keep the engine healthy.

As far as the light is concerned, I believe you are doing OK. It was caused by the low oil level and reducing the oil pressure inside the engine, causing the light to come on. Sure you can spend a $100 to get the pressure tested, but if the light is off one can assume everything is within specifications. Why would I want to check a “healthy” car part? Just check the oil level more frequently. If it happens again within a few hundred miles, then I would have it checked out.

That statement concerns me. Was the oil level at the full mark, I think not. You should check it at least once a week before starting the vehicle.

You didn’t say what year your Ranger is unless I missed it, but some of those things could tow 3100 pounds, which is a decent-sized camper.

I didn’t see it mentioned, but it’s possible the oil pump is starting to give up the ghost.

Suggest to replace the oil and filter at your earliest convenience. Ask your shop to sieve the oil that comes out, looking for signs of metal debris. Good time to ask them to show you how to accurately check the engine oil level with the dipstick too.

That’s the thing is that I work in a two stroke repair shop. So, knowing how to check the oil is like my main skill required. I do my own oil changes. I hope Sea Foam didn’t do anything wrong??? I put Sea Foam in my oil. It was recommended by a guy I work with!

You got great input with the previous assessments.
If I were a student driving a used vehicle with the symptoms you reported, and I needed to get another year or two out of it, I’d do the following:

  1. If you’re in need of an oil change, then do it now, with a new filter as well.
  2. Choose an oil with a slightly higher 2nd number. For example, if it calls for 10w-30, then use 10w-40.
  3. As long as the oil light only flickers at idle, then forget about it. I’ve seen a lot of cars last a long time that way.

Stop doing that.

The key question in this case is…How long did you leave the Sea Foam in the crankcase?
I have used it on a couple of occasions, but I made sure to change the oil the next day.
If you left the Sea Foam in the crankcase for an extended period of time, that could have led to lubrication problems.

I drove for an hour after adding the Sea Foam. I would think that’s long enough…? No?