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Nissan Sentra -- Oil Light Flickers at Low RPMs in Drive Only

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New User

Sep 2, 2021, 12:35 PM

Post #1 of 4 (163 views)
Nissan Sentra -- Oil Light Flickers at Low RPMs in Drive Only Sign In

I have a 2004 Nissan Sentra base model, and I'm having a strange issue with my oil light. When I'm stopped at a stop light or am moving at very slow rpms in drive or reverse, the oil light will come on. I've checked the oil and done a full oil change, and it doesn't seem like I'm on low oil. The engine also doesn't appear to operate differently than normal. If I put the engine into park at these low rpms, the oil light will turn off. This doesn't happen when I just turn the car on at low RPMs, but only after I've been driving it a while. I haven't checked if the issue happens when in neutral. The issue does happen in reverse and in drive, though.
I talked to a friend, and he basically said that it could be an issue with a filter in the oil pan itself being dirty, but that if that were the case then the issue should also happen when the car is in park at low rpms as well. He also said that there could be an electrical issue and that the oil pump might be fine or going bad.
I don't have a lot of money. Thing is, taking off the oil pan to check a filter inside... well, it looks like it needs to be done correctly or else I risk serious issues to the car. If it is just the filter in the oil pan, then no issue. But if it is something to do with the oil pump itself, then taking off the pan isn't viable without taking off the fanbelts, the battery cables, and apparently a variety of different other drivetrain related things BEFORE REMOVING the oil pan. So if I take off the oil pan and it turns out to be the oil pump, then that's a big pain, because I'll have to put the oil pan back on, take off a bunch of other stuff, and then remove the oil pan again.
And then there's the issue that it could just be electrical in nature. If I replace the oil pump and pan filter, and the issue still persists, then that's a lot of money down the drain.
I was wondering if any of you fine folk had any insight regarding the most probably cause of this situation, so that I can avoid throwing money away? Thank you for your time.

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Sep 2, 2021, 1:22 PM

Post #2 of 4 (157 views)
Re: Nissan Sentra -- Oil Light Flickers at Low RPMs in Drive Only Sign In

First, there is no filter in the oil pan. There is a screen on the pickup but that is not your problem according to the symptoms.

There are 2 possibilities here

1) The engine actually has low oil pressure due to a faulty pump or internal wear problem.

2) It is an electrical issue with the light due to a faulty sender.

The logical way to approach this is to test the oil pressure with a mechanical gauge to verify or rule out an internal engine problem. The cost of doing this might far exceed what it would cost to simply replace the oil pressure sender to see if that is the problem.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Sep 2, 2021, 2:44 PM

Post #3 of 4 (145 views)
Re: Nissan Sentra -- Oil Light Flickers at Low RPMs in Drive Only Sign In

OP= (original poster) Hammer is usually spot on. Late "idiot" lights or gauges in anything means wear of bearing that get oil pressure FIRST then the sensor. If late 99% it's worn out. Fault is/was care along the way.
To rule out faulty info he just said, check it directly. I'll add COLD as in overnight or that long. Almost never a pump or screen without insane neglect just too common IDK why?

New User

Sep 2, 2021, 4:37 PM

Post #4 of 4 (132 views)
Re: Nissan Sentra -- Oil Light Flickers at Low RPMs in Drive Only Sign In

Ok. This makes a lot of sense. I will do as you say, Hammer. Thank you for your advice!!! :D

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