The low oil pressure light starts to flash rapidly when I am braking at low speed while in gear, for example slowing for a speed bump. It also did it when I was trying to move from a stand still using only the clutch with no gas but the engine was not shaking or anything. It seems that the problem started once I switched to synthetic oil which weights 5w30 (recommended) and the continental oil was 20w50 which seems counter intuitive since it is a lot lighter. I checked the oil level just in case and it seems to be fine. The engine sounds a lot quieter after switching to synthetic and is less shaky. The car is an 06 Chevy Aveo 1.5 SOHC with 270k KM on it.

Is my problem a failing oil pump or could it be something else? Is damage occurring to the engine every time the light comes on?

Edit: now the light is flashing during idle and goes away with throttle does this confirm a bad pump?

Edit #2: Okay so I was confused as why it didn't light up at all yesterday but did do so today and the day before yesterday, I believe because it only does it after driving some very steep hills with wide turns on my way to work other than that the light doesn't seem to flash at all during my other routes, my guess is because the oil moves around the sump starving the oil pump but should it not go away after finishing those hills? it seems to last minutes after and it did worse the second time than the first?

Edit #3: Disregard edit #2 the oil light seems to start flash whenever the engine is put under high load and then letting it idle however if I rev the engine higher than idle it goes away, does this mean it has a bad bearing?

EDIT #4: Alright the light no longer flashes after changing back to 20w50, does this confirm that the bearings are going bad?

  • What oil weight is recommended for your car? You have a lot of miles, a higher lower number on the oil is better for high mileage. 20W-50 is better in your case.
    – Moab
    Jun 23, 2017 at 0:35
  • @Moab It is 5w30 but there is only about four weights sold here 20w50/40 conventional and 5w30/0w20 synthetic. Well I used synthetic because I thought the additives might make the engine last longer it also feels a lot better after changing
    – method
    Jun 23, 2017 at 0:37
  • 1
    I would try to find the correct oil and change it.
    – Moab
    Jun 23, 2017 at 0:39
  • re: edit #4. If the light went away, and you aren't hearing any weird noises, I'd be surprised if the bearings are bad. When you score, spin or otherwise trash a bearing, it becomes very obvious, very, very rapidly.
    – 3Dave
    Jul 5, 2017 at 21:54

3 Answers 3


Your engine requires API SL (ILSAC GF-3) oil with visc. SAE 10W-30 or SAE 5W-30 (in cold climates). Also, as soon as you did not mention, which is, however, quite obvious, you might have you oil filter changed as well. If you haven't - change it. Next thing to check is oil pressure switch. Oil pump malfunction is quite rare.


270,000km is a lot. Your engine isn't able to cope with this viscosity and that's why it throws up the oil indicator light.

I would Use an OBD tool to check the error code registered to confirm my theory.

Carbon/sludge build up in the engine is also the culprit. Changing Oil pressure switch isn't going to help if this happened only when switching to synthetic oil.

Check if oil level is staying same after say 1000km. If there is a decrease,there is a high chance a rebuild is required. I had same issue with my Toyota (frequent oil indicator light) and one of my pistons came into pieces through my oil pan.

Good luck


Another user with the same car make and model reported that he had the same issue once he changed to the same oil I used, so I guess there must be a problem with that brand of oil itself not with the engine.

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