So lost... please help

I have a 96 Plymouth voyager my husband was driving it to work and he heard a knocking sound he pulled into a gas station where he put oil in it and had to fill up on gas when he went to turn it back on it wouldn’t crank over didn’t even.make a sound like it was trying to crank i know im due for a oil change but im not that much over… any ideas?

How many miles on the van and how often do you change oil? This response should include miles and the number of months. Also, the no-start condition may or may not be related to the oil. Lastly,how long has it been since you replaced the battery?

Were there any instrument cluster lights on, like maybe oil pressure, high temperature, or the check engine light?

How much oil did he add to bring the level up to the mark?

Knocks before shutting down may be the key.

I agree that this no-start problem is not likely to be related to the oil situation–unless the engine actually seized-up as a result of having totally burned-through or leaked its entire oil supply. That would be a rare occurrence, but it can happen (especially on an old vehicle) if somebody does not check the dipstick frequently.

So, in addition to wanting to know just how much oil your husband added, I would like to know…

When was the last time that the oil level was checked?
Were there any warning lights (oil pressure light, Check Engine Light, battery/alternator warning light) lit up either before the noise happened, or after he pulled into the gas station?
Did your husband actually check the oil level before he started adding oil?

(Please don’t be insulted by that last question because we have had people in this forum who were of the belief that, if your engine makes a strange noise, you should just add oil to it–without actually finding out if the oil level was low!)

But, to return to your current situation, with a 17 year old vehicle (with a maintenance record that is unknown to us), there are a multitude of possibilities here. The more specific you can be in answering the questions that I posted above, the more specific we can be with some answers. However, via cyberspace we will probably not be as accurate as someone who can examine the vehicle first-hand could be.

I have had the car for a year i bought it from a family member so as far as the battery i havent had to change it. He said he added 3 quarts of oil but the oil light has been comeing on and off since i have it. I believe but not sure that in 3,000 over the point were i needed my next oil change

If the oil pressure warning light has been coming on & off for the past year, that is certainly not a good sign, and it is something that should not have been ignored.

Low oil pressure will eventually be fatal to an engine, and if this engine had actually been running with a very low oil level (having to add 3 qts is not a good sign as to either the health of the engine or the way that the vehicle is maintained) in addition to having chronically low oil pressure, I think that there is a very real possibility that the engine seized.

If my supposition is correct, then you will have to decide whether to find a replacement engine from a junkyard or to cut your losses and buy a replacement vehicle. If the engine is seized, dropping a junkyard engine into the vehicle would be cheaper than trying to fix the seized engine.

If you’re 3000 miles over the scheduled oil change, I have to ask, did anyone check the oil level in the last 6000 miles?

Your oil light is NOT an indicator of the LEVEL of oil in the engine. It is an indicator of the PRESSURE of the oil within the engine. Oil is your engine’s life blood. Once that oil pressure hits below a certain level, severe engine damage will result in short order. It’s just like if your own heart quits pumping. If your blood pressure hits zero, you are probably still full of blood unless there is a hole somewhere. If it stays at zero for more than about six minutes, your family will be planning a funeral.

The “perfect storm” for destroying an engine is lack of attention to oil change schedules, coupled with failure to check the oil level frequently, coupled with ignoring an oil pressure warning light. Unfortunately, it appears that the OP may have hit the Trifecta…

This won’t help with the OP’s current problem, but–for future reference–please try to remember to…

Lift the hood and check all fluids every couple of weeks. On an old vehicle, once a week is better. If you are on a road trip, check the oil level every time that you stop for gas.

Never ignore any warning lights on the dashboard, and if you see an oil pressure warning light or a temperature warning light glowing, that means (literally)–“Pull to the side of the road, shut down the engine immediately, and have a competent person verify the nature of the problem before restarting the engine”.

Never run the engine when it is more than 1 qt low on oil. Even better is to add 1/2 qt of oil as soon as the dipstick shows that the level has dropped by 1/2 qt.

Get your oil changed at least twice a year. However, if you typically do a lot of short-trip driving, it may be necessary to change the oil every 3 months.

I have had someone tell me that it sounded like the engine blew… really hopeing that’s not the case

For your sake, I also hope that this is not the case.

However, everything that you told us (or implied) leads me to believe that this is not a cheap or simple issue, and–instead–is most likely related to running the car with a low oil level, going too long between oil changes, and ignoring the oil pressure warning light.


Have someone manually try to turn over the engine, with a large socket and a breaker bar

If it won’t turn over, your engine may be done for

If it does turn over, have somebody do a compression test. It’ll probably be very low, or even 0