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Why does my oil light flash only when my car is turning?

JunkyJetta JunkyJetta
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 01/09
Posted: 01/10/09
12:58 PM

Hi there,

I have a question about my 1999 VW Jetta.  It's been causing me so many problems lately that I've nicknamed it, "Junky Jetta."  Grin

My Jetta has about 120,000 miles on it now.  When it hit the 100,000 mark, it began to burn through a lot of oil.  The mechanic repaired a few parts in it, which slowed down the oil consumption somewhat.  But, the problem still persists, requiring me to add oil at frequent intervals.

A few weeks ago, the oil light started flashing on my dashboard, particularly when I was making left turns on the road.  There is one turn on my normal route to work that the oil light always loves to flash on and off for me.  Oddly enough though, once the car straightens back out, the light stops flashing and goes away.

Now, this light is beginning to flash more and more, but it only flashes when the car is turning.  The mechanic checked the oil level, and he said that the level is fine.  So, it's not low on oil.

Does anyone have any ideas of what could be causing the oil light to flash when the car is turning?  This morning, the light began flashing during right turns too.

Also, the engine is making a noticeable clicking sound now.  Could this be tied into the oil light problem?

As you can probably tell, I do not know anything about cars.  Money is so tight now that I hope this won't be an expensive repair.  

Thanks so much in advance for any feedback or advice.

Take care.  

waynep712 waynep712
Enthusiast | Posts: 651 | Joined: 10/08
Posted: 01/10/09
01:03 PM

i have not looked into it... but i wonder if the oil pump pickup has fallen off???

so when you turn ... the oil sloshes off to the side and leaves the oil pump opening dry...

which motor does it have... 1.8 turbo? 2.0   ? or does it have a 6...

here is a link to a picture of the oil pan on a 2.0

you can see why when you turn left... if the oil pump pickup screen missing would cause the oil pressure to drop to 0...

has anybody changed the pan???? do it it getting a hole knocked in it????  

JunkyJetta JunkyJetta
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 01/09
Posted: 01/10/09
03:54 PM

Thanks so much for your reply!  This has worried me so much.

It's a 2.0 motor.

I went to a different mechanic the other day to get the oil level checked, and he mentioned something about a "screen" being a problem in other VWs he has seen.

Also, the Check Engine light came on a few months ago.  Would that light potentially come on when there is a problem with this pickup screen?

Thanks again.

My Junky Jetta appreciates the help too!  

waynep712 waynep712
Enthusiast | Posts: 651 | Joined: 10/08
Posted: 01/10/09
07:25 PM

volkswagen specific scan tools are available..

and not too much..

99 bucks as i post this...

that is the one of the ways to get trouble codes out of it...

be sure to check for crankcase breather leaks.. i have had to replace several of the thin plastic tubes and the rubber elbows that start at the valve cover .. go straight down and then across the front of the engine..  they crack and break.,.. and leak air into the crankcase.. throwing off the pcv system and turning on the check engine light...    if your dipstick holder is broken.. replace it also...  the crank case needs to be sealed tight... so no dirt gets pulled into it... which will shorten its life ...............  

Wenis Wenis
User | Posts: 132 | Joined: 10/08
Posted: 01/10/09
07:47 PM

Hey Junky, Here's a pic you need to look at before you go spend any money on unnecessary repairs. The oil sump or pick up tube sticks down almost to the bottom of the oil pan itself, therefore if the tube fell off the light would be on all the time.

If you look at #24 that's a baffle to keep the oil from sloshing to one side on turns. The #22 is the end of pick up tube which I explained sits almost on the bottom of the pan. Now a car that has had a lack of oil changes could run into the fact that the oil pump drive gears are worn enough to limit the oil pressure, possibly enough to cause a light to come on.

Something else, There's one thing you do that happens every time you take a left or right hand turn, you let off the gas. If the idle comes down to low the pump hardly turns which could be the reason the light comes on, when's the last time you had the oil changed? Did you know that certain VW's are oil specific and that old dirty oil won't hold oil pressure, maybe it's time to change or check on the viscosity rating for that car.

You said the engine ticks, this may be due to low oil pressure, dirty oil or like I said an engine that just never got taken care of.  

JunkyJetta JunkyJetta
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 01/09
Posted: 01/12/09
11:19 AM

Thanks so, so much for the feedback!

This morning, I took my car by a mechanic that lives close to me, and I explained what's been going on with my car.  He looked at me and said, "This will cost you a lot of money, like over a thousand dollars."  I nearly fainted.

Then, the owner walked into the room, and I must have looked so desperate that he agreed to walk out and take a quick look at my car.  Upon closer inspection, it was determined that the dipstick is broken...which I remembered a poster mentioning on this forum.

Because of this broken dipstick, the owner said that it's been giving faulty oil level readings.  It turned out that my car had hardly any oil in it.  So, for three bucks, he added some oil...which I could afford...LOL

I haven't driven my car extensively yet, so I don't know if this will resolve the oil light issue.  I'd imagine that no oil in my car would cause it to go off, but I shall see.

When he removed the cap to put the oil in, it was corroded and looked like a mess.  He mentioned that the cap could be contributing to the clicking sound.  

I know I need to get the dipstick replaced, but hopefully, that won't be a lot of money.

This may sound like a stupid question, but given my complete lack of car knowledge, I probably need to ask it...

In regards to changing the oil, that's something that I rarely do now because I'm always replacing brand new oil after the engine has burned through the last batch of it.  So, do you still need to change oil, even when you're adding brand new oil to it every few weeks?

Or, do you just need to replace the filter?

I'm at the point with this Jetta that I don't want to spend too much more money on it.  But, at the same time, I don't want to end up stranded.

So, once again, thanks for the feedback!  I'm going to print off these replies and take them to the next mechanic I visit about my car.  

Wenis Wenis
User | Posts: 132 | Joined: 10/08
Posted: 01/13/09
08:45 AM

This could have cost you a motor. Frown

I thought you had the oil checked already? Blush

The mechanic checked the oil level, and he said that the level is fine.  So, it's not low on oil."
Get a new mechanic, not very trust worthy if you ask me, he said it was full.

"Requiring me to add oil at frequent intervals." Should always check the level after you fill, then you know where it is, apparently you don't or you'd have seen the broken dip stick.  

waynep712 waynep712
Enthusiast | Posts: 651 | Joined: 10/08
Posted: 01/13/09
09:03 AM

the DIP STICK BOOT is probably what you want...  there are a bunch of different engines in that model... all seem to use the same dip stick boot...   this adapts the dip stick tube to the dip stick... and hold it tight...     when i looked it up over at     look under engine parts..   it cost under 2 bucks retail.. i would think under 10 bucks at VW...      if you buy some of the ones that cost a buck...  drop off one or two to the shop owner ... he saved you a ton...  he will make your life easier later on....


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