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Oil light on my '98 dodge Intrepid

I got a 1998 Dodge Intrepid v6 from my aunt. It was recommended that she get rid of the car because the oil light comes on (it comes on after you start it and mostly stays on, almost always - but not always). Apparently a mechanic said these engines were notorious for oil pressure problems, the engine is probably shot, and she should get a new car (which she did). Meanwhile, I got the car. It looks like new inside and out, has only 34,000 miles on it, and seems to run fine. Can you give me any advice on the car? Is it worth fixing and do you think it will leave me stranded somewhere? Other things wrong: heater needs work and it drips some fluids. I don’t think it’s motor oil though, it looks like transmission fluid. No fluids are low and the transmission fluid is actually high. Is this car worth messing with? One big factor - the company I work for just shut down and I am out of work. It would be a huge help if I could drive this car for a year or two w/o sticking too much money into it. Thanks for your time! I love your show! Jayne

The cheapest way to go would be to check the connection on the oil pressure sensor and replace this sensor.

Whether it’s worth fixing or not depends on what the problem actually turns out to be. Invest $20 in a Haynes manual, a few bucks of some equipment, and check two things: the compression and the oil pressure. The equipment to do these basic checks is pretty cheap.

If the compression is poor, the engine may be worn out. That could be the cause of the low oil pressure.

If the compression is good and the oil pressure low, post back.

If the compression is good and the oil pressure good, suspect the oil pressure sensor.

Post back with the results.

NOTE: extremely low mileage on a car that old makes me suspect lots and lots of all very short trips. These are very hard on an engine and would make me discount the mileage and just do the diagnostics. The engine could be shot even with that low a mileage.

Which V6 is in the engine? There’s a 3.5 which is pretty much bulletproof and a 2.7 which is prone to oil sludging. I’d have the oil pressure checked with a mechanical gauge and go from there. If the oil pressure is low and you want to keep the car, I’d consider a junkyard engine. I don’t know your aunt, but it may be she never changed the oil and only did any maintenance when something broke. The tranny fluid being too full isn’t good for it either. If you look in the radiator or overflow jug, what color is the coolant in there?


If it’s a 2.7 proceed with caution as these engines are known to sludge up VERY badly!

I finally got the oil pressure sensor changed today. It looks like this may have been the problem. I know a very good but very busy mechanic that will help me out from time to time but his shop specializes in expensive imports. He showed me that the old sensor was leaking oil and he replaced it. We also changed the oil and he found that someone previously had stripped the oil plug. He put a different plug in it but it’s only catching on a few threads and he is concerned about it. He gave me the old plug and the mission to see if I could find a longer plug of the same diameter because we could see some good threads deeper in the hole. I took the plug to a parts store and they didn’t have anything longer. In fact, they said it was a replacement plug for one that was stripped, that they come in 3 sizes, and that was size 2. Can a longer plug be found? Could I replace it with a bolt of the same diameter? What are the alternatives? Changing the oil pan? Is that expensive? Incidentally, my aunt told me that she had the oil pressure sensor replaced before to try and fix the problem (probably by the same guy that stripped the plug - Haha). Since my last post I have been driving this car regularly for about 2 months and it runs great. During which time, only seldomly did the oil light turn “on” when braking/going slow. The dummy light would turn off if I gave the engine a little gas. Any ideas?

FY…Engine is a 2.7

Napa stores will have a Dorman parts case with 50 different kinds of replacement oil drain plugs…They come in MANY different flavors.