Well? Is the engine ruined? 6.1 miles w/o oil pressure...

Mrs. Napier tells me the car started acting funny and lights started flashing and something started beeping, and yet she drove another 6.1 miles to work before calling me.

So I find it takes 3 liters of oil to put the level slightly above the Full mark, and it drove normally for the couple miles to the shop, with nothing dripping or smoking or beeping.

What am I going to buy? A gasket? Or an engine? Everybody gets to guess…

It’s an '07 Jeep with about 100K on it.

What are the rules about begging for money on the Dope? Not that I am… yet…

impossible to tell without laying hands on the car. at the very least an oil pressure check.

I think you’ll be fine actually.

Concur. Do a full oil and filter change to be sure but with a well-broken-in iron-block engine, intermittent oiling for a few miles won’t do any notable damage.

Might troll in the drained oil for metal shavings. A very few are no big deal, but if Mr. Magnet comes up with a full beard you might have shaved cam lobes or piston ring/cylinders.

You can get magnetized oil drain plugs now. It’ll make the search for metal shavings relatively easy.

ETA: must type faster … Dual ninja’d

She probably consumed about 10,000 miles of wear running it that low on oil pressure, if indeed that was the warning she received & ignored.

But unless you intend to own the car until it dies of full-on engine failure in old age, you’ll never miss those wasted miles. Far more likely you’ll trade it in or whatever when it gets ugly enough or starts eating accessories. None of which can be damaged by low oil.

The next owner will never know about the extra wear; the car will price out based on odometer mileage and gross condition.

IOW: no effective harm, no foul, no cost. Not something I’d advise her to repeat, but probably not a big deal.

Had she gone farther enough or run it hotter enough you’d be talking prompt damage. But based on having done the same thing a time or two over the years for reasons both good and bad I’d wager you’re gonna skate this time.

So many variables… Was that six miles of aggressive highway driving while heavily loaded or towing, or was it cruising along at 35 on city streets?

How did it wind up three quarts low? Blissful ignorance or the sudden failure of a gasket or seal?

I’d have an oil pressure test done. If the pressure is OK, keep driving it but maybe not take that vehicle on any long road trips.

And check the oil lever every 2 weeks from now on.

(post shortened)

*You mean, let me understand this … cuz I … maybe its me, maybe I’m a little fuzzy maybe. It’s funny how? I mean funny, like it’s a clown? It amused her? It make her laugh? It’s here to freakin’ amuse her? Whattya you mean funny? Funny how? How was it funny?

  • Tommy DeVito*

(I apologize in advance if I offended anyone. :smiley: )

Drain the oil, or have it drained, but keep the old oil. Check the oil for metal shavings, burnt smell, dark or unusual color. Filter it thru a funnel and paper or cloth filter. Have a professional inspect the spark plugs for color, smell, and taste. I’m joking about the taste.

You need to find out why you’ve lost oil. If the engine seems to be running OK, (no knocking, stalling, banging, smoking, fire) check your oil level daily. Change the oil again within a week. Again looking for shavings, etc.

Driving with less oil than the engine requires leads to overheating of various parts, which could lead to premature failure of those parts.

Hope everything turns out OK.

If you had some Lucas™ or some STP™ mixed in with the oil, then it is perfectly OK and to not worry. I know this because I saw it on TV several times.

Glad to help … :smiley:

I hope you don’t really believe me…

Another vote for little to no damage in the additional 6.1 miles. The bigger concern is that 3 quarts of oil had to go somewhere. Using a quart of oil between scheduled changes is not too uncommon, but unless you were 2-3 oil changes overdue I’d be looking for leak(s) or gray smoke from the exhaust. There may be substantial cost involved to fix the root cause of the missing oil.

By “Jeep” do you mean a Wrangler? If so, the '07 was the first year of the infamous 3.8L minivan engine which, among its many other failings in this application, has a reputation for developing oil consumption issues as they get old.

Its always a Jeep.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve posted this! :smiley:

got a link? the 3.3 and 3.8 Chrysler V6s were basically the same engine, and AFAIK weren’t ever notorious for oil consumption.

now, the 3.0 liter Mitsubishi V6 used in countless Chrysler vehicles was an oil-burning, blue-smoking piece of junk.

I would agree with the no damage likely assessment.

And, given the age of the vehicle, I would do nothing. If oil consumption doesn’t increase then you’re fine. Changing the oil isn’t going to benefit you any more than a regular oil change. You didn’t grind off chunks of metal. I think the line between “oops” and “Oh Shit” is quite pronounced here.

The warning could be just because she was 3 quarts low- the pressure may have been fine.

BE CAREFUL of a shop that sees this as an opportunity to sell you on lots of things you don’t need. I REPEAT: If the car is driving OK, just forget about it.

So here’s the judgement passed by a very equitable shop:

The engine appears OK. Hard to know whether his shortened its life, but it still has life left.

The shaft seal between engine and transmission is leaking, thus the low oil. (Oil was last changed 7 weeks ago and hadn’t been low).

The transmission and rear differential sound bad and a rear wheel bearing is bad. Plus the tires have little li left. The shop says they can’t be certain but they bet it would cost $3000-$4000 to make these things proper and they suggest I get rid of the car. As far as i know these things are unrelated to the engine oil brouhaha.

If you were 3 quarts low it went somewhere, so the seal makes sense. Monitor consumption closely. 3 quarts in 7 weeks is pretty significant, but you should be seeing a noticeable oil spot where you park.

I question the transmission and rear diff sound bad. You should be able to hear these if they are making noise. Do you notice anything? My main point there is just that running low on oil didn’t cause harm to either of those, so they were as they are. Bad diffs will usually howl and make themselves known. Bad transmissions will usually perform poorly.

The wheel bearing is one that I would have addressed, as it’s a safety issue. Also probably around $300, so not the end of the world. I would wait on the tires until “little life” becomes “no life”

If you’re an honest person, you can’t sell it without disclosing the trans and diff diagnosis. Given that, they would be factored into the price. Thus, I don’t think you lose much by fixing the wheel bearing and driving it, keeping an eye on the oil, and determining whether the other things need to be done. When the tires need to be replaced you will have had a little time with it to see how everything is holding up.

When it comes to cars, I don’t replace it til it really needs replacing. That goes for the vehicle as well as repairs. Safety related items obviously get earlier attention, but if my tranny is going out, I’m going to get every nickel I can out of the one I got. But then, in this day of cell phones and AAA, I don’t think a local breakdown is the end of the world.

Well, in attempting to find an authoritative link I typed “Chrysler 3.8” into google and it auto-filled “Chrysler 3.8 burning oil” if that tells you anything…

3 quarts is a lot of oil! If it were leaking that much, you definitely would have noticed it on the driveway.

maybe he used to own a British car. :smiley:

Reminds me of the wife who phoned her husband and said,“the car has water in the carburetter.”
Husband,“don’t worry, Ill fix it. Where is it?”
Wife,“In the lake.”