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Oil Warning Beeping A Real Pain

I have a 2000 Dodge Caravan with 151000 miles on it. Its most recent tune up was a year ago. I keep up on the oil changes, though I have to add oil between changes due to my car somehow using up the existing oil without actually leaking it out the bottom. About 2 weeks ago my oil warning beeper came on and I took it to the quick lube and got the oil changed. The beeping has continued however, but it is only beeping 75% of the time. When I do not have my foot on the gas the beeping will not stop until I put pressure on the gas pedal again. I cannot turn up the music any louder to drown it out. Anybody have any suggestions?

My suggestion is that you drive the van to an auto recycler while it still runs. That way you won’t have to have it towed.

Unless there is something about this vehicle I don’t know the oil warning is about oil pressure not oil level. So you are probably driving around with insufficient oil pressure.

Have you asked an actual mechanic to look at the car? Quickie lube guys aren’t mechanics and it is best to avoid going to those kinds of places. You need to get it to an actual mechanic - preferably a local, independent shop and ask them to get a read on the actual oil pressure and evaluate. Don’t expect good news.

Does the oil pressure warning light also come on when the beeper sounds?

I suggest you have a mechanic measure the actual oil pressure, with a calibrated gauge. If you’re lucky, the oil pressure sender is bad, and replacing it will solve the problem.

But if you really do have low oil pressure, which is what the beeper is warning of, the engine will be damaged by continued driving.

Read that last sentence again, with emphasis on the word “WILL.”

Don’t wait. Get this checked out ASAP.

And NEVER go to a quick lube place. Trouble, big trouble. You need a mechanic, not an oil change technician.

Or you could just keep turning up the volume until the engine blows.

If, as I suspect, this beeping is intended to warn you about low oil pressure, you should not be driving the car or even starting the engine.

If the engine is consuming all of its oil supply between changes, that indicates a few things, none of which are good:

You are apparently not checking the oil frequently enough.
When the oil level falls very low, the engine is starved for lubrication.
The result of poor lubrication is increased engine wear.
Increased engine wear leads to low oil pressure.
Low oil pressure leads to even more engine wear, which leads to even higher oil consumption…and so on.

I don’t know where this bad chain of events began, but at this point it is very possible that your engine is shot, due to all of the above.

My theory is that when your engine first began consuming oil, you allowed the oil level to fall very low, and this chain of events was kicked off. The object of checking your oil and other fluids frequently is to NEVER allow the oil level to fall more than 1 qt below the full mark, and based on what you have told us, I think that the oil was chronically low between oil changes, then got to the point where it was dangerously low, and this crisis stage was reached.

Have the van towed to a competent mechanic (not to a chain shop like Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, AAMCO, etc.) and get their diagnosis. Just be prepared for some bad–and expensive news.

Ditto to what Cigroller said.

Insufficient oil pressure with sufficient oil level, especially only at idle, generally is a sign on internal engine wear. Oil pressure is generated by the pump forcing the oil through the various passages inside the engine, key ones of which are the spaces between wear surfaces and sleeve bearings. The pressurized oil forms a liquid barrier upon which the wear surfaces ride. Key ones are the main crankshaft bearings. When wear between the surfaces becomes too great, the spaces become too large, the oil flows through too easily, and the pump cannot maintain pressure. It becomes obvious especially at idle. There’s no real way to directly measure these spaces without dropping the oil pan, but a pretty good idea of the engine’s condition can be obtained by measuring the oil pressure and performing some other basic tests.

If the shop confirms that the engine is shot, and you’ve no intention of investing in a replacement (boneyard or rebuilt), try some heavier weight oil to squeeze some extra life out of it. You have nothing to lose.

PostScript: McP, VDC and myself were all typing at the same time. I agree with them as well as Cig. In truth, we’re all saying pretty much the same thing.

MB and others–

Based on one of the OP’s statements, namely, “I have to add oil between changes due to my car somehow using up the existing oil without actually leaking it out the bottom”, I think that this engine has been run on a very low oil level for an extended period of time.

Obviously, we don’t know exactly what the OP intended to tell us, but it sure sounds like the engine has been run almost dry of oil on more than one occasion. If I am wrong, I would like to be corrected by the OP.

Truthfully, I am not optimistic about the prospects for this engine being salvageable.

I agree. I think we’re all thinking the same thing. This motor has seen its better days.

Assuming our suspicionns are verified, it’s a perfect candidate for a good, hearty 20W50 oil. What’s to lose?

Please note; the OP has not yet replied.

He may have looked, but he didn’t like what he found.

Perhaps it’s time to let this one go.

Engine is cooked. Great way to learn a powerful lesson

Are you telling us that turning up the volume on the radio in order to drown out the auditory warning was a bad idea?

Who would’a thunk?