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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had my '01 is300 for about 5 months now. It has around 97k miles and always runs beautifully. Toward the end of december the "low oil" light started coming on. I thought "alright, well it's time for an oil change anyway, i'll just do that." got the oil change done and low oil light went away. well it is about time that i get the oil changed yet again, but for some reason that light keeps coming back. Is Eevee (my is) really burning that much oil? I've been checking for oil spots at home and work but there is nothing. I've never smelled my car burning oil either. Is there some other problem this could be? If so how serious and what am i looking at for potential fixes? I appreciate any and all input. Thanks all!
 

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I don't know how much I trust this light on our cars. How low is the oil on the dipstick? Right after I bought mine(used, right around your mileage) I was taking a highway trip from jacksonville to st pete and this light popped up. I stupidly left my owners manual at home so after I got done having a heart attack and figured out what it was I did some research. Nothing definative came up, so i changed my oil with mobile one, also used an "oil cleaner", drove the car for 750 miles and changed the oil with mobile one again. I've been using synthetic ever since and i've NEVER seen that light again. The dipstick has also registered over a quart low(I had leaks that i was un aware of) and this light hasn't come back on. So, use your dipstick, no the light :) Or as the commercial says " think with your dipstick jimmy". haha
-Ryan
 

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I agree with ryan, I have heard though that sometimes during some kind of maintenance (can't remember what kind) but the sensor can get bent and misread the oil level.
 

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Oh, lets see. On the oil leaks, i've done the valve cover gasket, front engine oil seals(get to do that job again here shortly....oh joy...should have never had someone else do it, the old saying "you want it done right do it yourself" applies to cars as well...), and the oil pan. Nothing major, thankfully just the lower pan not the upper. Upper would be big money or ALOT of my time....
 

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When the oil light comes on in any car. Its telling you that either there is low oil pressure, or low oil. By the time the oil light comes on, you're already starving your car of oil and damaging internal parts.

Whenever that light comes on while you are driving, immediately pull over and wait for your car to cool off, then check your oil level.

Its almost a better scenario that your car is leaking oil, rather than burning oil or loss of oil pressure, because all of those things point to internal wear or problems.

On a sludged engine, the oil screen inside of oil the pan can be partially blocked and dropping the oil pressure as well. Something I would look at right away.


Running an engine cleaner is NOT recommended at this point, since you do not know the condition of your engine, releasing too much sludge at once could clog an internal oil port and cause a drop is oil pressure and BOOM...your engine is done.

Its possible that your oil pressure sensor is bad, but its not likely. You want to make sure its not something mechanical first anyways.


Your best and most logical thing to do right now, is to stop driving the car until you have figured out what the problem is. If this is your daily driver, then you should rent a car, take a bus or get a ride. Its not worth having to install a new engine.

~Goodluck~
 

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As Tom stated the cam seals would be a good place to start. Also, do you have any mods like headers, etc. as far as exhaust and emissions are concerned?

Unless your towing a 5th wheel in 1st gear, you shouldn't be burning oil like that.
 

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When your oil light is on, check your oil level on the dip stick. If your oil level is fine then on the next oil change try using a higher quality oil if you are not already doing so.

If this does not solve the problem visually inspeck your engine bay and underbody for oil leaks. As it was already stated the cam seals and crank seals are the usuall culprit.

Hopefully you are not burning oil. Simple signs of burning oil are blue smoke out of exhaust pipe on startup.
 

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When the oil light comes on in any car. Its telling you that either there is low oil pressure, or low oil. By the time the oil light comes on, you're already starving your car of oil and damaging internal parts.

Whenever that light comes on while you are driving, immediately pull over and wait for your car to cool off, then check your oil level.

Its almost a better scenario that your car is leaking oil, rather than burning oil or loss of oil pressure, because all of those things point to internal wear or problems.

On a sludged engine, the oil screen inside of oil the pan can be partially blocked and dropping the oil pressure as well. Something I would look at right away.


Running an engine cleaner is NOT recommended at this point, since you do not know the condition of your engine, releasing too much sludge at once could clog an internal oil port and cause a drop is oil pressure and BOOM...your engine is done.

Its possible that your oil pressure sensor is bad, but its not likely. You want to make sure its not something mechanical first anyways.


Your best and most logical thing to do right now, is to stop driving the car until you have figured out what the problem is. If this is your daily driver, then you should rent a car, take a bus or get a ride. Its not worth having to install a new engine.

~Goodluck~
you are confusing the oil level light with the oil pressure light. The oil pressure light will illuminate, as you've said, if you have critically low oil level(to the point the pump can't maintain pressure) a sludged motor(and hence clogged pick up screen), or an oil pump failure.

The oil level light, however, is a light that is designed to come on when the oil level gets low, as a way to avoid doing damage to the motor. Two very different lights, and I don't trust the oil level light on our cars.
 

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you are confusing the oil level light with the oil pressure light. The oil pressure light will illuminate, as you've said, if you have critically low oil level(to the point the pump can't maintain pressure) a sludged motor(and hence clogged pick up screen), or an oil pump failure.

The oil level light, however, is a light that is designed to come on when the oil level gets low, as a way to avoid doing damage to the motor. Two very different lights, and I don't trust the oil level light on our cars.
Wow, I didnt know we had two different oil lights. On some cars, the low oil pressure and low oil are the same light indication.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
results

so i took the car in and got a call back from the mechanic and was told that the cam seal wasnt leaking but that it seemed to be the variable valve timing assembly. i was told also that the condition of it is nothing that is in dier need of rebuilding at this time. my question now is should i trust his judgment on that because he has been a very reliable mechanic for myself and a fewother people. thanks in advance
 

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so i took the car in and got a call back from the mechanic and was told that the cam seal wasnt leaking but that it seemed to be the variable valve timing assembly. i was told also that the condition of it is nothing that is in dier need of rebuilding at this time. my question now is should i trust his judgment on that because he has been a very reliable mechanic for myself and a fewother people. thanks in advance
I would confirm with the dealer just to be sure. Than go from there.
 

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I haven't ever heard of that leaking(or even really know what assembly he is talking about that is leaking). Not saying it isn't happening, I just haven't ever heard of it or seen it. I'll be honest and say that I don't know enough about how the vvti system works on our cars to say factually whether or not he knows what he's talking about. I can say, that I have never had a tech tell me that the variable valve timing assembly is leaking on one of my customers cars yet, but I do see new stuff every day lol.

Good luck,
Ryan
 

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The VVTi gear has a big o-ring seal, which can, and does leak. Usually not until you start getting pretty high up there in miles. You can't rebuild the gear, or put a new seal in it, you have to replace the whole thing. It's an expensive part, and a decent amount of labor too. I've done three in the past few months. Two on GS 300s, and one on an IS 300.
 

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cline, just curious, was his mechanic right about it not being a potential catalyst for other issues, or is it something he should start saving his money for?
 

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The oil level warning light should never be taken lightly. It is literally the life blood to the motor.

It's okay to burn oil. 1 qt is well within the tolerance of what the car is allowed to burn between oil changes. No big deal, and definitely not worth cracking the motor open to fix. Could be rings or valve guides but it's nothing that's going to fall apart on you or make the motor less reliable for a long long time. And the cam seals, vvti assembly, and crank seals are known leak areas for the motor which would be easily fixable.

The undertray of the motor has a pretty thick 'maxi-pad' if you will that will catch most any leak and you will be clueless as to whether the motor is really leaking or not without an inspection.

If any warning light come on, stop the car immediate and check the oil level. Top it off as necessary. Oil quality is not really the issue to whether you're burning/leaking or not. Just make sure the car has enough oil at all times.
 
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