I was driving and then all of a sudden, my oil pressure went down and a loud knocking started.

Oil pressure went low and knocking started

My car has 260000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi, thanks for writing in. The only way to verify if the engine is damaged is to do at least a partial inspection of the internals. The oil pan and/or valve covers should be removed to inspect the camshaft sensors, crankshaft sensor, etc. If anything visible up high in the engine, under the valve covers, are burned or scorched from lack of oil or oil pressure, then the entire engine is most likely damaged.

If you would like help, consider having an expert automotive technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to inspect and diagnose this issue for you, and make or suggest any repairs as needed.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Low engine oil is an indicator that there is a problem with the engine. If the level gets low, it can prevent proper lubrication of critical components inside the engine and cause starting problems, engine failure, and damage to critical components.
It indicates that there`s a problem with your engine oil pressure, which is an urgent concern. If you`re driving and the oil pressure light illuminates, you should stop the car as soon as you have a safe place to pull over.
If the pressure is within specs, and the engine operates without knocking or rattling noises, engine oil has the correct level and is in good condition, and there are no overheating issues, then there may be a problem with the engine oil pressure sensor, oil pressure gauge or indicator light. Or the electrical circuit.
Things like oil contamination, a jammed oil pump, or improper parts installation can all make your oil pressure drop. It`s essential to repair or replace the pump immediately since it plays a decisive role in distributing oil to your engine parts.
Symptoms of low oil include your engine feeling sluggish. It may suffer from poor acceleration and you could find yourself sitting behind the wheel wondering what those knocking and ticking noises might be? The oil light could ignite or the oil pressure may run low.
When the oil warning light comes on, it is a sign that the engine oil pressure has dropped to a low level, which is dangerous. An engine running with low oil pressure can quickly destroy the engine.
Low oil pressure is no joke. Keep driving when the pressure drops and you will seriously damage your engine. If your oil light comes on or you see any other signs of low oil pressure, have your engine serviced as soon as possible.
Low oil pressure can be caused by a clogged line, a bad pump, or a clogged filter. The low oil pressure would rob the engine of the oil it needs and produce a knocking sound. The oil pressure can be tested with a gauge.
Engines can work without oil, but the effect is so damaging they are only capable of running for less than 30 minutes until failing – and in most cases, it`s a lot quicker than that.
Low oil level is the most common cause of low pressure; it`s also the easiest to fix. Oil changes are important, and between oil changes, it`s equally important to regularly check your motor oil level and top it off as necessary.
Hi There, This is completely normal for the oil pressure to increase when accelerating. The oil pressure inside the motor increases as the motor works harder. Your oil pressure switch reads this change in pressure and relays this to the oil pressure gauge.
Without sufficient oil pressure, your car`s engine will operate with decreased lubrication and increased friction resulting in more heat. Engine overheating can be a complex issue. While it doesn`t always mean low engine oil pressure, low engine oil pressure can lead to an overheating engine.
The oil pressure light is often triggered due to very low oil or no oil in your engine. This could be because the oil hasn`t been changed in much too long or there is a major oil leak. Your oil filter can also be clogged, usually because of the lack of regular oil changes.
If your oil light comes on, you should try to have your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. Note, though, that driving around a bit more won`t destroy anything. Generally speaking, you have about 2 weeks or 500 miles of driving before a flashing oil light turns into a legitimate problem.
When too much oil is in the engine, the crankshaft`s rotation whips the oil up, mixing air into it. It causes the oil to be bubbly or frothy, and the oil pump pickup tube can`t draw oil in properly. The result can be low oil pressure – kind of ironic, isn`t it?
The ideal oil pressure varies depending on the car brand and model, but generally, the ideal oil pressure is between 25-65 PSI.
In reality, low oil pressure is a signal that there`s something wrong in the engine. It could be as simple as low oil level (which can be corrected by adding more oil or changing the oil).
Difficulty shifting gears – A faulty auto transmission oil pressure switch may cause your vehicle to struggle with switching gears. This can be caused by the sensor detecting incorrect levels of pressure. Vehicle enters limp mode – Your car may enter limp mode when it a transmission oil pressure switch is failing.
Best Answer. No if you unplug the oil pressure switch the oil light will stay on steady, the cheapest probable fix would be to replace the oil pressure switch. If not you may have internal engine problems.
Loud popping, knocking, and stuttering noises from the hood of your vehicle are cause for concern, and could be a sign of major engine damage.
It normally takes 12 to 15 seconds for oil to circulate completely in the engine.
A tune-up, including new spark plugs and wires, can help fix pinging and knocking caused by loose wires or faulty spark plugs that could be fouled or cracked. You can test your spark plugs to diagnose whether you need to replace them or not. Depending on your situation, you may be able to complete the tune-up yourself.
In general, if the pressure is below 20 PSI or under the normal range on the gauge it requires your immediate attention. This is also the case when your oil pressure light is coming on. Not diagnosing and treating the problem could lead to serious damage and high repair costs.
Thicker oil will generally increase oil pressure but may reduce lubrication.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

lost all oil pressure, replaced the oil pump, low oil sensor, oil pressure sensor, oil pan gasket,
ANSWER : The fuel pump will not stay on if you loose oil pressure. This is why it is shutting off. The loss of oil pressure may be from bad crankshaft bearings or camshaft bearings. The engine oil pan should be removed and the oil pump needs to be checked to ensure that you put in the pick up tube seal to the pump and connected the pump to the block. Then remove at least one main bearing cap and inspect the bearings for excessive wear and crankshaft damage. If you need some help with this, consider YourMechanic, as a certified technician can help diagnose the issue with your oil pressure firsthand and help you fix it accordingly.

Check engine on knocking engine milky cap but not in oil change loud knocking noise while driving and cold start up
ANSWER : Coolant leaks can be external or internal. If the coolant is leaking internally into the cylinders or crankcase, that will require a fairly significant repair. If the coolant is leaking externally, unless the leak is at the head gasket or the lower intake manifold, external leaks can be repaired readily. On the engine you have it was really common to have coolant leaks at the lower intake manifold, so common that the gasket there was completely designed and a different repair procedure was specified (higher torque on the manifold studs). To get the coolant leak diagnosed, please use YourMechanic’s coolant leak diagnostic service link. The knocking noise is obviously of concern. Unfortunately, typically, such noise is from worn bearings, connecting rods, and other major components. The noise might be accompanied by low oil pressure. My best advice is have the cooling leak diagnosed in case that is readily resolvable. The mechanic can evaluate the noise and if it is internal the engine will eventually have to be disassembled and rebuilt. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

I have an engine knock and my oil pressure guage is reading high, then stops shortly after starting to drive.
ANSWER : Hello,
You may want to inspect your oil pump to see if it may not be causing the problem. If it is not pumping or circulating oil properly, it may also cause this type of increase in oil pressure that may be sporadic as you describe. When you first start the engine, the oil pump needs to work a bit harder than normal at first the get the oil circulated through the motor to all of the places it needs to go as the oil is much thicker when it is cold. As the engine warms up, the oil becomes thinner and flows a bit easier, which may be what causes the pressure to come back down once it is warmed up. Please feel free to reach out to us here at YourMechanic or schedule an appointment to have one of our qualified mechanics come to your location to diagnose and inspect your truck.

My car has low oil pressure. I’ve already changed the oil pressure sensor 3 times.
ANSWER : If you have replaced the sensor three times and it did not fix the problem, then you may have problems with the oil pressure being low at idle due to wear in the engine bearings. The reason it would be fine sometimes and not others may be due to engine load and temperature changes. Have the oil pressure tested at the sensor port to see if it is low and needs engine repairs.

I recommend having a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your location to perform an inspection to determine why the Oil Pressure Light is on.

2006 BMW oil filter gasket keeps breaking and oil leaks from oil filter. Oil leaks only after starting car in morning. PCV valve?
ANSWER : Hi There,
It sounds like you may need to replace the oil cap o-ring. If you haven’t done this before there are two O-rings to replace; a small green one on the base of the filter cap stem and the large black one that seals the filter cap (which seems to be the one you are having issues with). The large O-ring sits in a small square-shaped groove that is at the base of the oil filter cap. It is very easy to not properly seat the large O-ring because the threads for the oil cap are quite large and will accept the O-ring if you are not careful. I would suggest having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your vehicle.

I was driving and then all of a sudden, my oil pressure went down and a loud knocking started.
ANSWER : Hi, thanks for writing in. The only way to verify if the engine is damaged is to do at least a partial inspection of the internals. The oil pan and/or valve covers should be removed to inspect the camshaft sensors, crankshaft sensor, etc. If anything visible up high in the engine, under the valve covers, are burned or scorched from lack of oil or oil pressure, then the entire engine is most likely damaged.

If you would like help, consider having an expert automotive technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to inspect and diagnose this issue for you, and make or suggest any repairs as needed.

Low oil pressure light comes on when idle. Check engine light is on as well. Both came on after getting an oil change 3 days ago.
ANSWER : It is possible that they put in the wrong viscosity oil. In rare instances, a defective filter will also cause low pressure. If there is too much oil, it will aerate and cause low pressure. Be sure the oil level is really not above "max". The P2187 code will appear if the oil fill cap is not tight but it will also appear due to a myriad of causes because that code only "generally" identifies a lean running condition. Consequently, numerous parts would have to be tested including the O2 sensor, gas cap seal, manifold air leaks, any vacuum leak anywhere including PCV and EVAP systems, exhaust leaks, and fuel system faults such as failing fuel pump, clogged filter and more. Since the car has relatively low mileage, you would not expect a failed oil pump, although the pressure sensor (or switch) could be bad. However, the occurrence of the oil pressure warning light is quite coincidental to the oil change, thus I would suggest bringing the car back and asking them to redo with a new filter and double check the viscosity of the new oil that they use. If the problem persists after that, you will have to test actual operating oil pressure (at idle for instance) as well as the oil pressure switch. Finally, if the oil pressure warning light comes on continuously, unless the warning circuit itself is malfunctioning, that means the oil pressure is too low to operate the engine without damaging it. Anytime the light comes on for more than literally an instant, you should shut down the car and thus an issue like this obviously has to be repaired.

If you’d like, a YourMechanic certified mechanic can come to your home or place of business to inspect the vehicle and perform an oil pressure light is on inspection to diagnose the vehicle and suggest potential repairs.

think i put wrong oil in car went few miles lose power car dies oil in spark plugs still starts low oil blinking light before die.
ANSWER : Hello. If you put too thick of an oil in the car, then you may have damaged the engine bearings but this should not have caused oil to get in to the spark plugs unless the oil got into the intake of the engine or one of the pistons rings broke. If you ran it without oil and then tried to put oil in thinking it would be okay after that, then you were not that lucky and broke or damaged all of the rings on the pistons. If you would like to have this looked over, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to inspect the stalling issue and go over all of the relevant systems for a better diagnosis.