I am a complete moron when it comes to cars. I don’t maintain them as well as I should, and I can’t seem to consistently get my oil changed on time. I took my 2008 GMC Acadia in a couple weeks ago for an oil change, and my mechanic told me that when he went to empty the old oil there was maybe a half a quart in there. The car hadn’t been driving poorly or acting strangely. On my way to my mechanic’s, the oil pressure low indicator turned on then immediately turned back off. After seeing how little oil was actually in my car (embarrassing, I know) he recommended that we go ahead and replace the engine because it’s impossible I didn’t do some serious damage to it. Here’s my question. I’ve been driving my Acadia since then, and it operates fine. The heat gauge has never been elevated, no smoke or anything of that nature. Is there any possibility that I somehow, miraculously, didn’t cause catastrophic damage to my car? I know how dangerous it is to drive with such a low amount of oil, and I’m not trying to be naive about all of it. I’m just curious if there is any possible chance the engine doesn’t need to be replaced?

  • Agree with Solar Mike. Would suggest you drive it until it dies. The bigger question right now is, why was it low on oil in the first place? You need to figure it out and get it fixed so this doesn't happen again. You may have dodged a bullet, but you might not be as lucky next time. Jun 1, 2019 at 10:54
  • Because you auto skills may be limited; I suggest you check your manual to see if your engine needs a timing belt replacement. A friend of mine did not realize this could be necessartyand drove her car until the belt broke and destroyed the engine. Jun 1, 2019 at 15:10
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    How far do you trust this mechanic? It wouldn't be the first time that an unscrupulous shop tried to scare someone into an expensive repair that was unnecessary. I highly doubt that you wounldn't have noticed a problem with that little oil!
    – GdD
    Jun 1, 2019 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


There is no way to guess the amount of damage done, but there will be some.

The life of the engine has been reduced and any issues could manifest themsrlves in 100 miles, 1000 or 10000 miles.

If you decide to keep the existing engine just be aware that it may fail.

Saying that any engine can fail but proper maintenance reduces the risk.

Take the time to check levels, tire pressures once a week...

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