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Discussion Starter #1
Happy New Year Everyone!

Per my usual luck, while out taking in the Christmas lights this evening, my oil light came on and began flashing. As I just had a free oil change at the local Firestone store (friend gave me a coupon that was expiring & he was not gonna use), I assumed they'd screwed something up with either the amount of oil, the oil pan plug or the filter.

I immediately pulled over under the closest street light, in order to see if there was anything obvious causing the problem and to check the oil level on the dipstick, and found oil level was okay. I had my flashlight and looked under the car but did not see anything dripping or such. While I was pondering what to do next, a kindly gentleman & his son, stopped to offer assistance. After indicating he happened to be a mechanic and many questions later, he suggested I drive the car home (about 5 miles), said it would be okay and to contact the Firestone store tomorrow if they were open and explain the problem to them. (I can't honestly say that I want them touching the car if they did cause this problem but my mechanic is closed till Monday and I am sure will be busy as all heck come Monday morning.)

I read the owner's book when I got home and it did state not to drive the car when that light comes on but it did not indicate if a flashing light versus a solid one makes a difference. :dunno:

Firestone's oil change consisted of 4.5 qts of 5W-30 Kendall Synthetic Blend Oil and a filter (not sure of the filter name) I have never used synthetic blend oil before and usually have used 10W-30 or 40 dino oil so I am wondering if this change could have caused the low pressure. The mechanic did not say that the car was leaking oil or anything so I am wondering what could have caused this unhappy "concidence." :paranoid:

My 94 Accord Ex has 155,500 miles on it if that gives any hint as to the problem.

As I still have not found any work, I sure hope this is not gonna be an expensive problem. If anyone can advise me as to what I can check or what to have checked and an idea of the cost to expect I would very much appreciate it. Thank you all very much for any assistance you can provide.

PS I tried to research this forum for the low pressure oil light warning but did not find any threads referring to a problem after an oil change...did see it could be a collapsed oil filter, or a bad oil sending unit? so still would be grateful for any other suggestions/directions, etc. Thanks.
 

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First change the filter, I've seen issues with bad filters causing low oil pressure and engine noise. And the oil filters most chain stores use are the cheapest things they can get their hands on. Also, while you're there, check the oil pressure switch, make sure it's not seeping or leaking.

The change in oil shouldn't have caused it, the 10w40 that you were running is by far a horrible product in comparison to a 5w30. The oil companies use the cheapest low grade base stocks for 10w40 and 20w50 now, because they aren't supposed to be used in later model cars.
 

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Interestingly, I also had a free OC coupon from a Firestone dealer, the place that I get my tires rotated. Just this week, they did the same, 4.5 qts of 5W-30 Kendall Synthetic Blend Oil and a filter. My '02 has 180k and I have always used 5W-20 until this week. I haven't had any issues with dash lights this week since the change.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Can you advise me regarding the flashing light?

Thank you for your replies. :thmsup: Can you advise me regarding the flashing light? Does the fact that it is not on solid mean I still have enough oil pressue to drive a short (few miles there and back) distance to the parts store to buy the filter & more oil without damaging the engine? Or should I try to get a friend to take me, & then do the change right in my driveway? (Have to admit at my age & condition, I am not looking forward to getting under the car and changing that filter by myself.)
 

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There is no easy way to tell if the flashing oil light is due to oil starvation or maybe bad contact on the oil pressure sender unit or some other problems.

It's safest to not drive the car and get the oil filter changed so you can at least be sure that the oil filter is no longer a factor, hopefully this problems goes away at that point, else you would have to continue to diagnose the cause of the blinking oil pressure light.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Fredsvt:

Sorry to be somewhat clueless, but can you tell me what the oil pressure switch looks like? I know it is located somewhere near the oil filter from your comment but other than that, I am somewhat ignorant. Thanks.
 

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On your car the switch is near or directly above the oil filter. It has usually only 1 wire going to it. It screws directly into the block.

The flashing, at least on my 1995 Integra, was indication of an intermittent loss of oil pressure. Sometimes, if you brake severely or in heavy cornering, the oil can go away from the pickup, and it pulls air. The light would blink in that condition.

If the car has less than 4 psi oil pressure, the light would stay on all the time. I believe that's what Honda sets the switch's "on" setting to.

I was thinking... I hope that from running 10w40 all these years hasn't built up sludge in the engine. If it has, even a little, the semi-syn 5w30, which is much more detergent by nature, will begin to wash deposits off various parts of the engine. This is bad because the gunk will fall down into the pan, and then clog up the oil pump pickup screen.

If you experience a condition where the car is fine for about the first 10 or a little more minutes of driving, then sudden loss of pressure, requiring the car to be shut off. Letting the car sit, will allow the gunk to fall off the pickup screen, starting the whole process over again.
 

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oil

This used to happen to me every 6 months or so on my previous ride, Infiniti I35 when I would go around a bend, like an exit ramp. The light would flicker then go off when getting on the parkway. If I let it go it would come on more frequent and more often. I would check the stick and it read OK, full...I used to add about one half quart of oil and it shut the light off on a bend..Then it would be OK for another 6-8 months. I assumed I had a small leak but when mentioned to the mechanic he said no, it may just eat a little oil now and then. It happened for the 4 years I had the car. Maybe Firestone did not get a good fill on it and it may need a little bit more..Not much...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If it is gunk in the oil pan??

I changed the filter this afternoon, and started the car and let it run for 5 minutes...the light did not come on. I have not driven it yet, kind of scared but will take it around the block a few times once I get dinner and a shower.

If it is what Fredstv described and gunk has been released and is clogging up the oil pump pickup screen, are we talking a lot of money to "repair" that problem? It doesn't sound too bad.

I also checked the oil pressure switch per your suggestion and I did not see any problem, no seeping or leaking.

Thanks every one for your suggestions....I am keeping my fingers crossed that replacing the oil filter resolved the issue. A neighbor had to help me get the filter off as the wrench I had was way too big (have not done a oil or filter change myself in many, many years. I asked for a loan of his wrench and he was kind enough to come over and then offered to get it off for me. He said it was on there as tight as he has ever seen one. Thank goodness for helpful neighbors:) AND helpful forum members ~ you guys rock as always!:thmsup:
 

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Keep your fingers crossed it's not a sludge issue.

First, you'd have to have a major chemical engine flush done. Have that drained out, and then the oil pan and valve cover pulled and any remaining loose crap manually removed. The oil pump pickup would have to be removed and cleaned, or preferably replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yikes...that sounds awful & expensive! Is it?

Not sure what all that will cost (this being unemployed and not much money is getting really old :rant:) The only thing you mentioned that I do not know about is the oil pump pick up....which I believe you mentioned is in the oil pan? Is that an expensive and/or labor intensive item to deal with?

AS for an update, I took the car over to the store a mile or two away, drove slow through my neighborhood, then 15 minutes later headed back home. I thought I was gonna get away with just a bad oil filter but decided to drive another 5 - 10 minutes around my neighborhood to test your theory re gunk issues. I then headed for home feeling relieved and as I pulled in to my driveway, the light came on again.... ugh. So I am worried you might be right. Would it make sense for me to do an oil change in my driveway tomorrow? I didn't change the oil when I changed out the filter. The oil that did come out was pretty dirty looking for two days use. OR should I just wait and call my mechanic Monday morning though he probably will be booked through Wednesday due to the holiday weekend and the economy (he's busier than ever these days) [He is an ex-Honda tech who opened his own shop...very reasonable prices on labor and parts unless Honda OEM is used & then he is just a bit more as he doesn't get as good a price when he buys from Honda.:( ]

Another question for you all is when I went in to the Firestone shop for the oil change on Thursday afternoon and told their rep that I wanted 10W-40, she said their specs showed the car called for 5W-30 and they only used the synthetic blends. Turns out she was the manager and I specifically asked her if using the different weight oil & synthetic blend could have a negative effect on my old car's system and she said no, that it should make it run better. I feel like she lied since I would have thought a manager of an auto repair shop would know that the higher detergent action could cause problems!

Wonder if I should address that issue with their corporate office? What do you all think? :deal:

Thanks again for any and all advice.
 

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The 10w40 you had been running would be the cause of sludge buildup, due to the poor qualities of all 10w40 oils out there. Its just not suitable for any car since the late 70s. The 5w30 would just have loosened up some of that stuff. It was just a time bomb ticking.

Get the car hot, and drain out the oil, see what comes out, if you see chunks of black stuff you know you have an issue and it's going to have to come apart to clean out the stuff that's in there. If you want, let the oil flow though a coffee filter, so you can see if there's any solid pieces in the oil.

To pull the pan on your car isn't a big deal, just getting the front exhaust pipe off sometimes can be a pain.

Look inside your valve cover, run your finger towards the inside of the motor and see if you come out with thick black goo. Can you snap a pic of down inside the oil fill area?

BTW, complaining to Firestone would probably do no good.
 

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Turns out she was the manager and I specifically asked her if using the different weight oil & synthetic blend could have a negative effect on my old car's system and she said no, that it should make it run better. I feel like she lied since I would have thought a manager of an auto repair shop would know that the higher detergent action could cause problems!

Wonder if I should address that issue with their corporate office? What do you all think? :deal:
BTW, complaining to Firestone would probably do no good.
I highly doubt the shop manager "lied", she used her best judgement with the information on hand, there is no way for her to know any sludge condition that may, or may not be present inside of your engine, or to what degree this condition may be, she followed industry standard information as published for your vehicle and cannot be faulted.

Hate to say this but as Fredsvt has pointed out, you likely created this issue yourself over time. As such, and while regrettable, you really don't have a leg to stand on with the argument that "the shop should know".
 

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Discussion Starter #14
? Professionals should not know the answers but I should?

Hey, I appreciate your help and respect your opinions though I totally disagree with the belief that as an average consumer I should know such things. I find it confusing too. As a non professional, plain old car owner who is a little mechanically inclined (compared to my same age girl friends who are lucky they know what a car radiator is) and who tries to find ways to fix stuff myself cause my income is not the best, how can I possibly know every piece of information I would need to know to thwart every problem that may be created by professionals who don't know either.

Professionals should know & if they don't know they should find out & have appropriate information to advise/warn their customers; that is why they are the professionals. It seems that no professionals ever take responsibility any more....my plumber thinks I should know how to fix my pipes, my appliance repair guy thinks I should know how to fix my appliances, same with electrician, irrigation guy, drywaller, roofer, etc. When something goes wrong with any of those repairs, they say well you didn't tell us such & such or you didn't ask about "whatever" which should have been used instead to prevent the problem. They certainly charged me enough to do the repair & didn't give me a break for their inferior service.

Even my doctors don't "know" important stuff like when my thyroid tests come back with an in range TSH level but the T3 & T4 values were out of whack, that does not mean, my thyroid is fine like he said! If I hadn't asked for a copy of my test results, and gone to the library (yeah the internet was not invented back then) I'd have known no better & taken his word for it that I was fine. In the last two years I had to do the same with my Cardiologist! If I hadn't started asking questions, 'cause my heart was making funny fluttery feelings, I'd have never had the Holter monitoring done and would probably be dead! I told him my heart was doing odd things but cause it did not do it in his office while he was listening to it, gee there must not be a problem! I opted to get a second opinion after the monitoring and found a real professional who sat down with me and told me everything he could about my real condition and what we could do to fix me. He was great, he was proactive, he was a true professional.

When I got oil changes at the dealer years ago, they put in 10W-40 & when I got oil changes at the mechanic's shop I use now, he puts in 10W-30 or 40 depending on what you want ~ that was the choice. I didn't own the car for the first 7 years but I know from the history at Honda, that the oil changes even back then were standard old 10W-30 cause it was on the history I viewed. Did they even have 5W-30 synthetic blends back then or even back in 2001 when I bought the car?

I don't think it is completely fair to blame the consumer for what they do not know and therefore could not possibly realize that standard practices could cause such problems.

I believe in being my own advocate for good service, but only because I have to as a reaction to all the lousy service.... that doesn't make it right to receive ignorant lousy service by those in the various industries who should know more than me especially when I ask appropriate questions.

I do appreciate all the help I get here and hope it will continue 'cause you guys are "aces," :notworthy ~especially since you give your help from your passion & caring and not for $$, but I did want to protest this point.

Respectfully,
Janet
 

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You asked if you should know:

All you needed to do was OPEN the owner's manual, it has all the information you need to know regarding what to put in the car.

5w30 in regular and synthetic has been around for over 25 years now.

The mechanic/dealer that was changing the oil with 10w40 is 100% ignorant regarding modern lubrication and oils. The dealer that was putting that oil in it, if they actually were doing so, were using the absolute least expensive oil they could get their hands on.

There is a lot to learn regarding oils and modern car lubrication requirements. I've had some training, and it can get massively confusing, as things are changing constantly.

That's what the owner's manual is for. It's a shame so many people either toss it, or bury it someplace, never to be seen again.
 

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I am curious if 10w was every really put in it by a mechanic. What is stamped on the oil cap?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Look inside your valve cover, run your finger towards the inside of the motor and see if you come out with thick black goo. Can you snap a pic of down inside the oil fill area?
I did like you suggested re: pics and they are attached. I also ran my finger inside the opening and there is no goo at all. There is absolutely nothing but liquid on the parts inside the hole. (The pics were the best I could given my old camera.) IF anyone can advise how to take a better or clearer pic it would be appreciated.

I also put clean sheets of white paper under the car last night and there is nary a drop of leaking oil in case any one was wondering. The dipstick did indicate oil right up to the 2nd hole too.

Can you deduce anything from this additional information? Thank you!
 

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Use Macro mode, indicated with a flower, on your camera. It should clear that up real good.
 

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Use Macro mode, indicated with a flower, on your camera. It should clear that up real good.
Beat me to it! You may also have to manually move the camera closer or further away as the camera may not be able to auto-focus, but you can judge how focused you are from viewing the rear LCD viewfinder.

The reddish color is alarming to me, I don't think you should see that kind of color, those non-wear surface should be porous and just a darkish metal color, the reddish color may signify deposit/coating from the oil......
 
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