driving with low oil
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This is a discussion on driving with low oil within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I've neglected to check my oil level a few times and when I got around to checking it, the stick ...

  1. #1
    HJC
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    driving with low oil

    I've neglected to check my oil level a few times and when I got around to checking it, the stick was almost completely dry! It surprised me a bit cuz I didn't expect the car to consume so much oil. It took about 3/4 to a full quart to get it back to the full mark.

    I use Mobil 1 5W30 full synthetic and have around 30K on the odometer for a 03WRX. Question is, what are the chances of permanent engine damage by having such low oil levels. I usually drive pretty hard. What are some of the symptoms of engine damage related to this issue?

    My car runs fine.. but it doesnt seem to be as fast as it use to be.. dunno if I've just gotten use to it?

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  3. #2
    Registered User Thug Nasty's Avatar
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    ...yea, I wouldn't recommend driving without oil.
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    Registered User D0WNxSH1FT's Avatar
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    Ive had this happen one or two times. I had a small oil leak after my turbo install (reused a crush washer, doh!) and i would lose about a quart of oil between changes. I think you could fry a piston w/o enough oil but I think you would know if you did that. Just monitor your oil consumption and check for leaks.
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  5. #4
    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    Lack of oil can do a lot of damage. Odds are you would spin a rod/crank bearing first (that would be quite noticable). 1qt low isn't enough to do damage unless you were doing some serious cornering.

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    Registered User wrx wagone's Avatar
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    Trainrex, the oil light should come on when your oil level goes below the pickup due to lack of oil pressure correct?
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    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrx wagone
    Trainrex, the oil light should come on when your oil level goes below the pickup due to lack of oil pressure correct?
    Normally by the time the light comes on, the damage is done. It only takes seconds.

  8. #7
    Registered User wrx wagone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    Normally by the time the light comes on, the damage is done. It only takes seconds.
    But it takes seconds to fill up the oil filter after the change too.

    My pops was an auto mechanic back in the day and he used to fill the filters with oil when doing a change due to the lower flow oil pumps from the 60's & 70's.
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    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrx wagone
    But it takes seconds to fill up the oil filter after the change too.

    My pops was an auto mechanic back in the day and he used to fill the filters with oil when doing a change due to the lower flow oil pumps from the 60's & 70's.
    I always fill the filter when I can. We have to with the racecars.

    Keep in mind, starting a car without oil pressure for three seconds is different than cruising at 4000 rpm and losing it.

  10. #9
    Registered User wrx wagone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    Keep in mind, starting a car without oil pressure for three seconds is different than cruising at 4000 rpm and losing it.
    Agreed.
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    This is exactly why I monitor my fluid levels every few weeks, also my tire pressure. I have a brand new car, so you can call me paranoid, but I ask a lot out of my baby and I make sure to give her the attention she needs because of it.

    I doubt you did serious long term damage, given you are using high quality oil, but just make sure to keep an eye on the fluids often, especially since this is a turbocharged engine.

  12. #11
    HJC
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    I check every time I fill up the gas now. This is my first turbocharged car. My previous (and first new) car was a 95 Corolla and it had no oil consumption issues at all. Guess I was just assuming the WRX would be the same.

    Thanks for taking a load off my mind guys.

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