Drove with low oil.. Need your advice

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by XavierKing, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. XavierKing

    XavierKing Junior Member

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    Greetings!

    I have a 2011 with 106,000 miles. Just recently, it was discovered that the car had a pretty substantial oil leak where the oil level sensor goes in. The technician who worked on the car guessed that the amount of oil that leaked out was about 3 quarts, all the oil above the oil level sensor and perhaps a little more when oil leaked out going around turns.

    I drove it like this for perhaps two months or so. The car had oil just to the level where the low oil sensor goes in. It did not turn on any warning lights and I did not get any error codes.

    I drive this car hard. I take it up to 80 mph or so on most days of the week.

    TLDR: Drove with oil to oil sensor level for two months. No lights. No codes. Would you trade the car in? It does seem to run fine, but I'm not sure if I've damaged the engine. What would you do?

    Thank you and have a great day.
     
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  2. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    If it still runs fine don't worry, be happy.
     
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  3. Pooka

    Pooka TIFOSO

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    No worries. IF the low oil sensor is working. Its there for a reason.
     
  4. kc410

    kc410 Active Member

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    I have two questions:
    1) Where is this "oil level sensor"?
    2) How was the "oil leak" repaired?
     
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  5. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    How many miles since the repair has been made? Have you been checking the dipstick regularly?

    We have a 2010 Prius II with 157 k miles on it. It consumes a small amount of oil (about 20 ounces between oil changes at 10 k miles), but I check the oil level every Saturday morning after sitting overnight ;).

    Awareness to a problem can help avoid further issues(y).
     
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  6. milkman44

    milkman44 Active Member

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    Didn't know that Prius had "oil level sensor". Several with Gen III have had the low oil pressure light come on when almost out of oil, "oil level sensor" didn't work for them either.
     
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  7. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I'll be a little bolder and come right out and say I'm pretty sure the engine does not have an "oil level sensor", so it would be of interest to have the technician point out the actual piece in question. I'm guessing the crank position sensor maybe?

    The only "oil level sensor" in the car is located on the front of the engine, with a yellow handle on top, where it can be conveniently pulled out on a regular basis, wiped on a rag, reinserted, pulled out, and checked.

    -Chap
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    but the car does have a low oil warning light. not sure what sets it off though.
    who knows what damage was done? i'd trade for something that hasn't had this happen, but how will you know unless you buy new?
     
  9. GrGramps

    GrGramps Active Member

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    Are we talking about the LOW OIL PRESSURE warning?
     
  10. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Exactly. Like most cars, it has a light for loss of oil pressure, which is red and hardly to be called a warning, because that is the "if you see me, your engine is already eating itself" light.

    The name of the game is to prevent that light from ever coming on, by checking the oil with the dipstick.

    -Chap
     
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  11. Johnny Cakes

    Johnny Cakes Senior Member

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    +1

    Also, if there is a hidden problem, would you really feel OK, if you passed it along to some unsuspecting purchaser? You know what they say about karma.
     
  12. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I noticed both gen2 and gen3 cars burn oil when you start traveling at high speeds. If you regularly go faster than 75mph, I suggest you start checking your oil level on a regular basis. Pull out the oil dipstick every week and add as needed
     
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  13. hotrod

    hotrod Junior Member

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    check the level by the good old dipstick method. don't rely on the electronic sensor to do the job for you. these things sometimes just stop working!
     
  14. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    More complicated answers will follow.......and will be mostly unnecessary.

    BUT......if you always "drive it hard", it might be time to consider trading for other reasons.

    And where do you figure that it is legal and safe to go 80 MPH.....or over ??? :rolleyes:
     
  15. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    especially the ones that aren't there!
     
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  16. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    The quick answer is: Texas.

    This week, the Texas Department of Transportation approved an 85 mph speed limit for a 40-mile stretch of the SH 130 toll road from Austin to Seguin, which is just north of San Antonio.Sep 9, 2012

    The law sets the maximum at 70 mph, but allows the Texas Transportation Commission to establish a maximum speed limit of 75 mph (80 mph or 85 mph if the highway is designed to accommodate that speed) on the highway system if that speed is determined to be safe and reasonable after a traffic or engineering study. A maximum speed limit of 80 mph within 10 counties on Interstate 10 and Interstate 20 is also permitted.

    I know OP is not in TX. Speeding may be illegal but that doesn't stop anyone.
     
  17. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    But it SHOULD.
    Speed kills. (I think they should start using the phrase again in Public Service promotions).
    Especially when combined with:
    Lane surfing
    Tailgating
    Distractions such as cell phones
    Just generally poor attitudes
     
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  18. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    So what do you do when you sell your Prius? Because 99% of them, when they have over 100,000 miles, are going to burn oil...Most likely they will be at least 1 quart low if they change at 3,000 miles....And possibly nothing on the dipstick if they are too stupid to check and wait until 5,000-6,000 miles.

    I've sold a couple Priuses in tip-top running condition....and the buyers usually don't know anything about cars. I don't tell them it burns oil (unless they ask, then I would tell them).

    If you listed your car and put in the ad "THE ONLY BAD THING IS IT BURNS ABOUT A QUART OF OIL BETWEEN CHANGES" you'd have only mechanics calling or people that know that is a minor flaw....90% of the people car shopping would freak out and close the ad the second they read that line.
     
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  19. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    used cars, the nature of the beast. funny, when you do a trade in, they don't even get in the car except for the registration. plug the vin # in, here's your price.
     
  20. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    Mine had no oil on dipstick when I bought it and I changed it and so far it is fine...Looks like it will eat about 1/2 quart every 1000 miles (I have only driven it 1300 miles).

    My cousin drove with no oil until oil light came on (different car --- a Kia) ---- and it immediately got a major tick which turned out to be a rod knock...destroyed engine...so my theory is if it still sounds good you didn't damage anything and it will be ok....I would probably keep it for up to 6 months and then DUMP IT :D :D :D
     
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