Oil Light

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The oil light on my 97 Avalon (1MZ-FE) stays on for about 3 secs after I start the car, then goes out. It started doing this recently, like in the last 2 or 3 months. Engine has 150,000 miles on it. Is this normal? I don't believe that there is much sludge in the engine, but the valve covers havent been off in at least 60k miles
 

parimento1

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It has seen any sale brand of dino 5W30 its whole life, with 3-4k mile oil change intervals and whatever oil filter is on sale at the time, usually a purolator or STP.
 
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hal

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could be the oil pump is weak (edit-but i doubt it). could be lack of oil pressure at cold startup using 5w30 and you might consider switching to 10w30. also wouldn't hurt to run a synthetic oil with a high level of detergents to help clean out the motor. also get an oil filter with a good ADBV like a pureone or wix.
 
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The fact the oil light stays on that long is an ominous sign............. Probably getting sludged up. I would be very concerned. Why do you assume it does not have sludge? With dino oil changes I would be assuming the opposite? Maybe it is not sludged up but the fact the oil light stays on so long makes me think that the filter is getting clogged up and going into bypass..........
 
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Time to open 'er up and take a look. I've been able to look up my car's oil drain hole by taking pictures with my digital camera and a strong flashlight. Switching to synthetic will tell for sure if there's sludge. ;\)
 
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The first thing to do is cut open an oil filter ASAP. Don't even need to remove a valve cover to see if you have sludge. The filter media will tell you volumes.
 
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Think sender!!! I have had this problem many times, the sender units get slower and slower as they age.. It may also take longer for the light to come back on when the engine stalls. Likely a new sender will fix it, you can also screw in a gauge while you have it out for a quick pressure check. Even old worn engines usually have a lot of oil pressure when cold, if the oil light take the longest to go out when the engine is cold, then it is almost surely the sender, not the oil pressure.
 
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It could simply be the sending unit. All things considered, it may be worth 'throwing parts at it' and see if it is fixed for $20 or so.
 
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I agree, its worth throwing on a new sender. But given you car is a sludger, even if a new oil sender fixes the oil light problem, it might be a good idea to an Auto-Rx cleaning.
 
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I would first suspect a leaking drain back valve in the oil filter. A known sludger for people who opted for the 7,500 mile oil change interval. With oil changes every 3-4,000 miles, I doubt the engine is sludged. I would go with a new PureOne oil filter & as suggested a good 10w30 oil like Pennzoil Dino. A few seconds on a cold start up is not a death sentence but, certainly not desirable.
 

parimento1

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I decided since I have an oil change coming up in like 200 miles and the pan has never been dropped, that I will tell the mechanic to drop the oil pan and clean it out and clean the pick-up screen while he is at it. The pan has never been removed in all the years ive owned it, and its a 97...I am wondering what he will find.
 
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If you didnt notice the problem before the last oil and filter, I would suspect the filter. I wouldnt do anything before I changed the filter. They are waaaay cheaper than having the pan dropped
 
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Why not hook up a mechanical oil pressure gauge and see what exactly happens on a cold start, then check the pressure when its hot at 2000 rpm and at idle. That will take all the guess work out.
 
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Right. An improper oil filter can cause start up ticks for sure. It didn't sound like this happened right after an oil/filter change to me, though.
 
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