Previous question for context

TL;DR: My 2001 Pontiac Grand Am SE had a flashing check engine light and I found oil in the coolant.

A family member took the car to a mechanic this week. He checked it over and said that it was a problem with the ignition (which he fixed). As I didn't drop off or pick up the car personally, I don't know exactly what was wrong with the ignition, but I'm wondering if I should get a second opinion from another mechanic. It seems off to me that all that was wrong was an ignition problem, given that there was oil in the cooling system, and I don't want to drive around a car that could go at any time.

  • 1
    About the oil inside the coolant reference the following: mechanics.stackexchange.com/a/6447/2881
    – cinelli
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 21:02
  • Yes, your answer made me hesitant to accept the mechanic's assertion that it was just a problem with the ignition. I'm therefore wondering if I should get it checked out elsewhere...
    – Meta
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 12:13
  • 2
    What he said makes no sense. I would bring it to a reputable shop.
    – cinelli
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 18:37
  • 2
    I wouldn't beleive it. There may very well have been a problem with the ignition but I doubt that's the only thing wrong with it if you've got oil in the coolant.
    – user3729
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 0:51

2 Answers 2


I think he's maybe half right...

A blinking check engine light is a misfire. Replacing spark plugs and/or wires would probably fix it. But that's fixing the symptom, not the cause (potentially, based on your information of oil in coolant). A bad enough head gasket or warped head (do not replace the gasket without checking the head for cracks and warp! ) could easily foul any number of plugs. There is also the possibility that instead of a head gasket it is an intake gasket (very common on Chevy V6s from this era). If the intake gasket is bad enough, you can get oil in your coolant and mess up some plug wires as well.


coolant pressure shouldn't be more than 15~20 psi, oil pressure will be 40psi + Could be oil seal was leaking into water pump which is why he did ignition (I thought they had external trigger though?) Reading previous question/answer I would concur on intake or head gasket leak Personally I think you should get a second opinion, get compression and leakdown tests which will help narrow down the area Changing head gasket is do-able but not something I would recommend, I've only done one and it took 'days' (well felt like it LOL) someone with 'practice' can do a much faster job

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