I just purchased a car from someone who had just had oil ...

I just purchased a car from someone who had just had oil changed 2 days prior to purchasing, but oil light had been flickering. I checked oil and it was fine. Later the car started making a noise, quit running as I got it pulled o...

I just purchased a car from someone who had just had oil changed 2 days prior to purchasing, but oil light had been flickering. I checked oil and it was fine. Later the car started making a noise, quit running as I got it pulled off side of road. I smelled oil. And saw oil on bottom of car. Mechanic's Assistant: Just to clarify, what are the exact lights you're talking about? Oil light Mechanic's Assistant: What is the make/model/year of your car? 2010 chevy Cobalt Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your Cobalt yourself? What have you tried so far? I just bought the car 2 days ago and it just quit on me today. Haven't tried anything yet. Don't know where to start.

Automotive Expert
Hello, I'll be happy to help you out with this, and so sorry you had that happen with a new to you car. The best thing to do would be to clean all the oil off with some brake clean, make sure the [oil filter](/topics-oil-filter-chevy/) and the oil drain plug are tight, and then add oil to the proper level and then see if it still leaks. If it just had an oil change hopefully they just didn't tighten something. Did you mean that the oil light had been on for them as well though?

The seller said the oil light had flickered on but they were told that it just needed changing and the oil life reset and it would go off.I also had checked oil levels before driving it and the levels were fine on dipstick.
Automotive Expert
The oil light won't come on from needing an oil change. The maintenance light will, but that's not even accurate, just based on a computer guessing based on mileage and time running. It sounds like there may be a leak then. Hopefully something is still loose from the prior oil change though, because losing that much oil in that short of a time frame should be pretty obvious.

But what why would it just quit running if no noticeable oil leaking and dipstick is reading full? The oil i seen was on the bottom of the oil pan.
Automotive Expert
Ah, I thought you meant the oil light was on and you saw all the oil on the bottom. So it's reading normal oil level currently but the oil light was on when it quit running?

It was reading normal level the minute I initially got into car and drove it no more than 10 miles. Oil light was flickering. Made a strange noise, I was getting it pulled over to side of road and it just quit running. I got out looked under hood and couldn't tell anything as it was dark. Shined light under the car and thats when I saw oil on the oil pan.
Automotive Expert
Gotcha, so what we're looking at is either a large oil leak, or low oil pressure, caused most likely by a failing oil pump or a blockage in an oil passage. Either of those last two options would not be good, unfortunately, to say the least. Does the car crank and not fire now or what exactly does it do?

When I tried to start it back up it just sounded like the starter was trying to crank but nothing happened. No fire.My apologies if I'm not describing the problem well. I'm a middle aged female and know the bare basics of cars.
Automotive Expert
It's not a problem at all, you're doing just as well as anyone on here:) So when you try to crank it now does the [engine](/topics-engine-chevy/) actually crank and just not start or does it just clunk and not turn over at all?

It just makes a whiny sound.No. It doesn't try to start. Just a constant whining sound. Like the starter is trying, but just not engaging anything.
Automotive Expert
Ok, if it's not turning over, then with the oil light flickering there is a fear that it's locked up, which would ruin the engine. I would recommend getting it looked at by a shop or if you're doing it yourself, try to put a socket and ratchet on the crank bolt and see if the engine will rotate at all. If it does not turn, then the engine is locked up and unfortunately ruined. If it does still turn over by hand, then further investigating into the cause of the no start is needed, like an oil pressure check for starters.

Ok. Yea. That was my fear. I was hoping maybe timing chain broke and maybe not too much damage done. But ill definitely get it looked at. Thank you for your help.
Automotive Expert
Right, it's not impossible, but the engine would still turn over with a broken chain, so at least that first check is easy. Keep me posted on what you find and we'll go from there. I'm not sure if you can still return the car or what the details of your deal were, but I would explore that if possible. Obviously unacceptable to sell a car like that if it was a known issue.

Thank you. I appreciate your concern and help. Unfortunately. It was a private party sell. So no return. I'll just be out that money. Just really trying to determine if the repair costs are going to be worthwhile in this specific car.
Automotive Expert
Well depending on the engine, whether it's a 2.0L or a 2.2L, a used engine is around $750, some even less with higher miles. Salvage yards actually usually warranty the engine as well, so that may be an option. It would probably be around $1000 to get it installed, and I don't know the finances of the deal, but that would have you back for around $2k. I know that's not cheap so if the engine has locked up then you'll have a tough decision. Again, so sorry you had this happen. I certainly hope they didn't know anything was wrong or just made a honest mistake and weren't hiding something.

Ok, your mechanical opinion. I paid 2500 cash for the car. In great condition besides the obvious. Would it be worth putting another engine in? I'm trying to believe they made an honest mistake and didn't really know there were issues. The car did run and drive beautifully when I test drove and even the 2 days I had it.
Automotive Expert
How many miles does it have on it? I did some quick looking, that's not going to be a straightforward answer unfortunately. If you were to trade it in after the fix at a dealer, they would likely give you $1500 or less for it. If you were to sell it to a private party, you could get a max of about $4800, so cost wise it's hard to justify, but if you put a used engine in it with a warranty, would you be able to replace that for $2500 again? Probably not. I like to keep cars alive and try to help my customers find the value of not buying another. At least with this you have a relative known after the repair. And hey, maybe it's not locked up, you never know till it's checked out.

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