I'm driving a rather ancient 2001 vintage Clio that seems to never have had much in the way of upkeep. At the weekend, driving home at around 65-70mph on an A road there was a loud cough, a brief loss of engine power and then the "STOP" lit up in the center dash light cluster and yellow engine symbol in the bottom right corner of the dash turned on as well. The red engine light was also flashing in the center cluster.

I limped it home as I was less than a mile away, but noticed that apart from the initial loss of power, the engine was back to normal. There was a slight smell of burnt oil but that was it. Fast forward to the next day - I checked the oil level and topped it up as it was low (Just under the lowest notch on the dipstick). Then when I turned the engine over, it was fine. It seems back to normal.

Should I be worried? I'd rather not take it to a garage if I can as I'm skint from a combination of Christmas and having to move house. Ideally I'd like the car to last another three months or so at which point I should be able to replace it. Is this feasible?

  • When it went back to normal, did all the warning lights go away too? Make sure the oil level is close to the max notch on the dipstick when cold and parked on level ground, and that you are using the correct grade oil. Also, 2001 doesn't make it ancient!
    – DizzyFool
    Dec 22, 2016 at 15:57
  • No, the warning lights only went back to normal when I turned the engine off and then on again when home. The oil is correct, and I put enough in that it's close to the top notch when on level ground and cold :)
    – Miller86
    Dec 22, 2016 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


The best thing you can do is keep checking the fluid levels regularly and using the car gently. If you have access to a fault code reader, it would be interesting to know what reason the ECU has logged for the check engine light coming on. It's difficult to say if it will happen again or how long the car will last but you can mitigate against it happening by regular (prior to every journey if possible) under bonnet checks.

  • Thankfully, the car has an easy-check oil pressure system so I can check it every drive, but as I'm having to refit the sprayer tubes every morning as they're not sitting in place properly due to age, I'll just roll checking the oil with the dipper and other fluids into that as well :)
    – Miller86
    Dec 22, 2016 at 15:18

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