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Need help with very loud noise in Mazda 2002 Protege

My Mazda all of a sudden began making a very loud clanging noise and the oil light came on. After an ordeal of checking the oil, adding oil, watching the light go out and the noise stop…the light kept coming back on and the car continued to act as if it needed oil. I had the oil changed only 100 miles ago. Had the car towed into the place that changed the oil and they said no leak. Pan and plug were dry. Now too much oil in the reservoir but no oil in engine. They think its an oil pump but are now going through a third party to determine just in case I decide to sue or something. I just want my car fixed. Are they on the right track and how much should I be paying for this??

Maybe someone else wants to guess at a cause based on so little information. From my perspective, though, if you really trust these guys, then you will need to trust them now. If you don’t, then you should take the car somewhere else. I would hope your mechanics would have no objection to your taking the car to another reputable shop. They should shrug their shoulders, but they should also understand.

Most “oil” lights mean that you have low oil pressure, not necessarily low oil level alone. If you drove it significantly with low oil pressure it will likely cost a lot, to the tune of a new engine, a lot. If it is an old car, consider a salvage yard engine.

What year and model are this Mazda and how many miles are on it?

Its a 2002 Protege with 140000 on it. Running fine up to the moment when this happened. After adding the oil it ran perfectly for the couple of minutes I let it sit there and for the 40 sec before the light came on again but no noise after that first episode. I was able to park the car and turn off the engine with no other sounds or lights coming on. The temperature was good and there was no engine light on. I am definitely not offended by not knowing things about cars but I do have regular oil changes and regular maintenance. It is now at a dealer that I trust and I am going to see them tomorrow to tell them what happened and what I did. Things are just not adding up here. I had someone suggest that the drain plug was not tightened enough and it took that long for it to loosen up and all the oil drained out. If they are saying that there is too much oil in the car now wouldn’t there be a new plug and would that look different from one that has been in that car for years? I will not take offense to any advice here…I don’t know things about cars beyond easy and regular maintenance. That’s why I’m here! How much oil can the car hold without visible signs? They said that they put 5 quarts in then I added 4 more!! That’s 9 quarts!!! Where did it go!?

“the car continued to act as if it needed oil”

I am puzzled by that statement. Did you verify that it needed oil by checking the dipstick? If you did not do this, and instead used some other method of deciding that the engine was low on oil, you could have drastically overfilled the engine with oil–and that can lead to severe engine damage. Please explain this situation more clearly.

“Now too much oil in the reservoir but no oil in engine.”

Huh? The only reservoir for the motor oil is the crankcase of the engine itself. What reservoir are you referring to?

In light of your lack of automotive knowledge (and I say that with all due respect!), taking it to the dealership for their evaluation is probably the best thing that you could do under the circumstances. Hopefully the dealership will have a good answer for you, and hopefully that answer will not involve a lot of $$.

Well I did check the dip stick about 6 or 7 times each time I was going to put oil in the car. I saw nothing! I even checked it by wiping it on my fingers. There was a residue but not the amount of oil I would expect if there was oil in there. I had an old buick for my first car and I had to check the oil on an almost weekly basis so I know what this looks like. Even after I had put 2 quarts in I could not see anything on the dip stick. I have also seen that before when the oil was so low that it took awhile for things to settle. This is why I turned the car back on the first time. I am also familiar with the way a car reacts after getting oil. The light will go away after a few seconds and the engine will begin to act as normal which is what happened. So I thought that the need for oil was the problem and when the light came back on I felt more confident about adding the oil the second time. As for the reservoir thing…by this time I think that is just how my brain was trying to piece together what they were telling me. If they put oil in the car then doesn’t the crank shaft basically rotate the pistons in and out of the oil…and I know I’m being way oversimplified here but isn’t that the basic idea? If so then why is there an oil pump and where is it pumping from and to where? I know, I know I have no knowledge here!!

Cars of yesteryear used the “splash and drip” method of distributing oil in the engine. IIRC, the famous old Chevy “stovebolt six” was the last American engine to do away with splash and drip (back around 1950??) and to go over to the more modern method of sending oil through the engine by pressure (with an oil pump).

You DO NOT want the crankshaft running in the engine’s oil supply because this results in churning the oil into a froth, as this froth is then picked up by the oil pump and since this froth is not liquid oil, it cannot lubricate the engine properly. Going to extremes, if your pistons were rotating in and out of the oil, then the engine would be “toast” from this gross overfilling with oil.

This little primer aside, I am still having a hard time understanding exactly what happened and what you did. Hopefully the dealership can lend some insight and perhaps you can pass that along to us.

Good luck!

Are you sure you’re checking the right dipstick?

If the oil change facility failed to add oil you would never have gotten a 100 miles on it.
Here’s what the oil pump looks like.

Just theorizing for a minute here but since the pump appears to be driven by only a few nubs (note the inside of the seal) maybe it’s possible that the nubs or whatever drives them decided to give way. It’s also possible that something may be only semi-stripped and catching on an erratic basis. This could explain the light being on one minute and off the next.

It’s possible there is damage inside the front cover and based on the oil light coming on (which means zero oil pressure) you should expect to probably hear some bad news about the engine.