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oil light on but full oil and running fine

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  • [All Models] oil light on but full oil and running fine

    Okay so before I start I'd like to mention I know absolutely nothing about cars/engines.

    So the other night I went out and when I went to start my car again the battery was dead, after a few tries it started again. The next day it fully died so I purchased a new battery and it worked fine. But apparently I also had another issue.

    The oil light was on, I checked the dipstick and it was relatively low (on the low marker) so I topped it up. I started my engine and the oil light is still on. I did a small journey in the car (5 miles) and when I stopped I could see smoke coming out of the engine. When I popped the hood it felt hotter than it usually would and their was a burning smell.

    Basically the syntoms are burning smell. Smoke. And oil light are on even tho I have full oil. Car runs fine. No strange noises and the drive feels the same as always.

    I've read around and I'm assuming that the issue is either the oil pump. Oil sender or oil filter.

    If anybody could help me out and give me any advice I would really appreciate it.

    Edit: I should probably mention that the car is a 1998 s reg corsa 1.2. 16v.

  • #2
    When was service last done?

    Not a chance in hell is risk driving it, until it's sorted


    • #3
      Honestly no idea. I've owned the car just over 12 months. I've changed the oil once when my head gasket went around may time last year. Is there any chance it could just be the filter causing the light and the burning is just excess oil or something ?


      • #4
        There are all sorts of things that need checking - but the advice not to drive it is good advice. Not knowing when it was last serviced makes diagnosis all the harder since when a car is neglected all sorts of things can develop. When the HG was done was the sump cleaned out? Probably not, but the crud that a blown HG creates can easily lodge in the sump and cause problems.

        Best case scenario is that it's a dud oil pressure switch and the burning is just a small leak somewhere. Worst case is a blocked oil system, and/or worn engine. Somewhere inbetween in a wide range of possibilities. If we could look at it ourselves we'd be able to track it down much better, since we can't we need more information.

        The thing to bear in mind is that the oil pump supplies oil to the filter, and the oil is then pumped into the engine via galleries. Oil pressure is actually maintained by the clearance on bearing all being within close tolerance - ie low oil pressure can be worn bearings rather than pump failure. You'd usually hear some noise from the bottom end of the engine if that was the case and it tends to develop over a period. The other thing to remember is that oil also cools the engine, so lack of oil flow will result in the engine running hot.

        This sounds like it's come out of the blue - so it may be a blockage somewhere, depending where that is could be anywhere from a simple fix to complete stripdown.

        The first thing to do is to remove the filter and inspect it. Make sure it hasn't broken up. That's simple for you to do yourself.

        The other thing to do is to get someone to check your oil pressure. You need to remove the oil pressure switch and screw a gauge in there. By the sounds of it you aren't likely to have that bit of kit.

        I'd also suggest dropping the sump to check the pick up isn't blocked - not difficult, but you need to disconnect the exhaust and remove all the sump bolts (refer to the manual).
        1972 Viva restoration thread -


        • #5
          Thankyou very much for the detailed reply. Yeah it did come out of the blue. Coincidentally the same time that my battery died. And there are no unusual noises or anything just small amount of smoke just from the bonnet not from the exhaust. And I checked just when I got home from work and there were small wet drips on top of the engine. I cant tell what it is at the moment it's too dark. I'm gonna take another look later on and check the filter. With my lack of knowledge of cars will I be able to tell if the filter is ruined ?


          • #6
            A ruined filter is obvious. If it's intact then it's OK, it just might be dirty. The worry begins if it's broken up. I'd buy a new one, make sure it's a GM one or a good brand (eg Manns). Check the wiring to the oil pressure switch whilst you're at it. With any luck it may just be something minor. Let us know what you find.
            1972 Viva restoration thread -


            • #7
              Is it possible that the smoke was caused by spillage onto the exhaust manifold when you topped up the engine oil?


              • #8
                On a brighter note perhaps,it must be said that the oil pressure switch on these engine are very phrone to leaking and spraying on to the exhaust,which would certainly cause it to give off fumes.Easy to check as its on the front left side of the engine.Hope it is the switch as its easy to change and cheap as chips.Best of luck.


                • #9
                  A damaged filter could look like this (left damaged - right new)

                  404 Not Found


                  • #10
                    Okay thanks for your help everyone

                    I've changed oil filter and emptied and refilled oil completely. Oil light has gone off but there's smoke still coming. It looks like its Somewhere under the pressure switch from near the bottom of the engine but I'm not sure. Their is oil under there too so I dunno if I have a leak or something. Shall I change the pressure switch even if the light has gone off or is it something else ?


                    • #11
                      For the price of them, and the ease to change I'd do

                      Prone to leaking too


                      • #12
                        It's probably oil got onto the exhaust as that's in the area you describe. Inspect the switch to see if it's leaking. Personally if it ain't broke don't fix it. They break for fun and sometimes the new one will break before the old one would have. If you do replace it don't overtighten - the alloy thread is quite fragile.
                        1972 Viva restoration thread -


                        • #13
                          Oil is definitely leaking from somewhere very near to the switch if not the switch itself. The switch has oil all over it so I'm just assuming Its the switch itself ?


                          • #14
                            Most likely, in which case replace it.
                            1972 Viva restoration thread -


                            • #15
                              Okay I changed the filter and the pressure switch and the oil light and the leak have gone BUT I still have burning and smoke. Im not totally sure but it might be radiator ? Is that the thing with the silver cover over it at the front next to the dip stick ? It seems like it's coming from under there now. I dunno what it could be but this car is really getting on my nerves now