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Oil light turn on randomly and clicking noise

I drive a Toyota Avensis 2005, oil light will turn on randomly while driving and as soon as the light turns on the engine makes a terrible engine noise.
If I stop and turn the engine off and on again the oil light turns off and the noise will be gone.
I tried replacing the engine oil and oil filter, it worked fine for about 130km but then the oil light turned on…

Anyone have any ideas on why my car would do this? It drives fine, but it’s annoying when the thing lights up

oil light means low oil pressure. usually due to low oil levels. changing the oil ensures you have the proper level. did it drain out in 130 km? dont think so. fresh oil and oil light? low oil pressure due to worn engine (probably) vs a worn pump (probably not).

Hi Cavell, the oil level didn’t drain out in 130km. The engine has 200,000 km and runs very smoothly. The weird thing is that it turns the oil light on randomly while driving which makes the engine to do a terrible noise (as running without oil at all), the pump might be blocked at certain moments, maybe due to a electric problem?
I believe the oil sensor to be working correctly as the oil light is always associated with the engine noise.

Which means the engine is being starved for oil EVERY time that happens.

Which further confirms that this is a mechanical oil pressure problem.

The car needs to have a mechanical gauge attached to the engine so a mechanic can diagnose why this seems to come and go. I’d guess sludge inside the engine is breaking loose and momentarily blocking an oil passage and/or a sticking pressure relief valve in the oil pump.

The longer you put off having this checked, the more likely the engine will destroy itself before you do have it checked.


No. It is a mechanical pump, driven by the rotation of the engine.

You may have an engine that is coked ( oil that has turned into a sludge) inside the engine.
That is the only way that the pump may get plugged, then suddenly clear itself.

How good have you been at changing the oil in this??? Lack of oil changes on a regular basis is the common cause of oil sludge. The only cure is to have the engine pulled and rebuilt completely.

I doubt that this engine is going to last too long.


avensis is a british market model? did you see the oil come out or did you have a shop do it? just wondering about color/thickness which than leads to oil frequency? how long have you owned this car and what was avg oil change interval? you could pull valve cover and inspect top of head. or not

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That’s a quick and easy way to see if there’s sludge in the engine. Sludge could account for the temporary and intermittent lack of oil pressure. It might be possible to clean it out without a major teardown, but time is not on your side if you don’t address it now.

This is my father’s car he hasn’t been feeling well lately so I don’t think he was careful with the oil change.
I changed the oil the day after the car had this oil problem (I guess this was also the first time the problem occurred) and the oil was kinda black and a bit thicker than the original 10w40.
The problem was repeated after 130km and hasn’t happened again (170 km passed).
It’s probably because of oil sludge.
Do you guys have any suggestions on what is the proper and not very expensive way to deal with this?

i kinda got a link to camry in england when i searched for avensis so i assume they are similar? what motor is in this thing? 4cyl? v6? we also get 5-30 oil in the us vs 10-40(euro) and than we say its a euro oil spec and all euro cars have high viscosity stuff but US cars need lower weight oil for fuel economy. would more frequent oil changes with a lower viscosity oil help a sludge issue? hard to say

Avensis is successor to Camry. This one has a 4 cylinder 1.6 petrol engine.

As far as addressing the problem. You could try frequent oil&filter changes, look at the oil on the dipstick. As soon as it starts to darken, change it. Alternately you could add an oil additive that helps dissolve sludge, in the States, SeaFoam is popular. Follow the directions on the additive, do not exceed mileage specified on the label.

I’d remove the valve cover and clean up any gunk in there, then clean out the holes in the cylinder head that allow oil to drain back down to the oil pan. If it looks bad up top, after cleaning there I’d use solvent to further clean the top, then drain the oil/gunk/solvent out of the oil pan, then remove the oil pan for a closer look and any more sites that need cleaning.

10W40 is probably not the best oil - a narrower range like 5W20 more likely - I’d be changing it and the filter more often in the next few months. Good luck and please let us know what you find upon closer inspection.

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I agree with others, The noise is not a result of the oil light coming on, but the light coming on as a result of the engine starving of oil, resulting in the noise. You better get that checked asap before the engine is damaged.

Most likely the engine already has damage. It’s just a question of how severe at this point.

Maybe you repeat the process of replacing the engine oil and oil filter again. It maybe of help.