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1991 Toyota Tercel:
Oil Light On, Clapping Engine Noise

By
Alex Steele
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Question:

 

I have a 1991 Toyota Tercel. After the car warms up the oil light comes on and a noise is present. It's like a heavy clapping noise at the base of the engine when you accelerate. What could cause this kind of a problem? It keeps getting worse.

 

Answer:

 

That's not a good sign. Whenever the oil light comes on at the same time an engine noise develops, that almost always indicates a major mechanical engine failure.

 

It may have been a loss of pressure do to an oil delivery problem -- such as a bad oil pump -- which damaged the engine due to the lack of lubrication. On the other hand, the oil delivery may be sufficient, but damaged camshaft or crankshaft bearings are causing the noise. The damaged bearings, in turn, are unable to hold back the flow of oil resulting in a low oil pressure reading and the idiot light coming on.

 

There is a chance it could be something else. Regardless, stop driving and get the problem diagnosed by a professional. It may already be too late to salvage the engine.

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