"low oil pressure" warning


Asked by Feb 15, 2014 at 09:50 AM about the 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Ok here's my problem... I have an 2003 avalanche 5.3 180K miles was on a road trip. leaving for home as I started "low oil pressure" warning came on for about 30 seconds as I was driving-then went off...went to first gas station..checked oil..level was fine. Drove 4 hours home..warning chime went off one other time for about 10 seconds..then off again. took it to a shop next day, when driving there, no warning messages.. He said motor is shot..suggested a reman replacement $4500. told him I needed to think about it I was gonna come pick it up. Went to pick it up. "low oil pressure"warning came on as soon as I started it, it ran 10 seconds and shut down. so I have 1 time a warning shortly after start, then another after it ran at highway speeds (power felt fine) for 4 hours..and now I got the warning at start up.. Any ideas? suggestions? I am the original owner and have maintained the truck pretty well...is the motor really shot at 180K ?

6 Answers


Could be. Low oil pressure is caused by two things mainly. Your oil pump is designed to supply a certain pressure to your motor, they have a pressure regulator built-in. 1.) The pump or regulator can fail causing low oil pressure. 2.) A component or multiple components in the motor can fail causing an increase in oil flow to that area which causes a pressure drop or low flow to other areas of the motor. Most bearings in your motor are metal on metal and use a small layer of oil in between to operate. If the oil cannot get to the specific bearing the metal on metal contact will destroy the part. If any of the bearings in the engine were starved of oil for to long they will be damaged. How hard was it to start the last time it ran. A reman motor is not your only choice but it is the least risky. You could also get a used motor, some salvage/wreckers will show the used engine running and may install it with a limited warranty. Or if you can live without your truck for a week or two your motor could be re-built, but if the bearings went they may have damaged other components.

6 people found this helpful.

I doubt it. I'd check the sending unit and it's wiring for the dash gauge. Sounds like it's developed a bad connection. If no problems are found get a mechanical oil pressure gauge, for testing purposes, and see what's going on. Kinda like getting a second opinion at the doctor's office. BTW the reason it shut down is a safety feature. When the computer detected the low oil pressure message it shut down the engine to prevent damage. HTH. -Jim

4 people found this helpful.

I'm sure the mechanic is knowlegable enough to know the difference between a faulty sending unit and a toast motor. But you never know.


Exactly, you never know. -Jim


I have a 2000 Chevy Suburban with a 5.3 Vortec motor I had the same problem and had to get my motor replaced , I broke down the old motor and saw that my push rods were bad I need a pliers to pull them out I had a build up so if your car is still running you need to go in and get it rebuilt or you're going to have to get a new motor real soon

5 people found this helpful.

Your oil pan bolts are loose, had the same thing happened to mine would drive it for 15 minutes, low pressure light would come on and I would have to pull over and we stopped vehicle and restart vehicle and then fine for 15 minutes.found loose oil, pan gaskets, bolts tighten the bolts problem solved

2 people found this helpful.

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