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Vauxhall Corsa- any budding mechanics about? Watch

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    I have a 04 Vauxhall corsa and a few week ago, the oil light flickered but then it came off- I checked the dipstick, there was enough oil. A few days ago, I was in traffic and it came on and stayed on this time. I pulled over and checked the oil cap, it had that mayo stuff on it. I topped up the oil and the light came off, I also cleaned off the mayo stuff. The mayo stuff is back on the cap(I cleaned it 3 days ago) and also seems to be in the dipstick, but the Actual oil on the dipstick is just oil- no mayo stuff.

    The car drives fine and doesn't overheat, there also doesn't seem to be oil in the water/coolant. The temp gauge barely moves from 0 actually. Car doesn't seem to be loosing water.

    I know I need to take it to a garage to be checked out, and I'm aware that it could be my head gasket which is gone. However, I've been reading and it could also b condensation? I do loads of short trips and it's only in the last week I've started doing about a 30-40 mile round trip each day.

    A mechanic looked at it and said I should change the engine as its cheaper than a head gasket change, I don't really trust him though! Is there anyway a garage can check to see if it's definitely the head gasket? Or atleast tell me exactly what the problem is?

    Anyone had experience of this? Help please!!


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    You can get the head gasket tested. They stick this thing into the radiator and test for combustion fumes in the radiator. If it comes out positive then it's a head gasket failure.
    Mayo on the cap would suggest gasket failure but no coolant loss and no oil in the coolant suggests its not.
    Maybe the oil pump is going?
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    You can get mayo in the cap from lots of short runs around town, nothing to be particularly worried about unless the other signs are there too. Oil light could be any number of things. I agree to get a head gasket test as it should only be a few quid to definitively check that.

    Head gaskets cost a fair bit because of the labour involved. If you manage to go and overheat it because of a HG failure, then you're looking at big money for replacing damaged parts. If indeed the HG has gone, then somebody who can wield a spanner with some level of skill can change it on your driveway in a weekend. The part itself is pennies.
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    Thanks, at first I panicked when I saw the mayo and immediately thought head gasket. Then I started reading up about it and saw that it may not be the issue. As my temp gauge hasn't shot up, surely I would be safe to assume that it isn't overheating? I have been watching my gauge actually and it barely seems to move..and when it does it doesn't even reach half way point. Will try and find a garage open tomorrow to get a HG test.

    Thanks again.


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    (Original post by Law2013)
    I have a 04 Vauxhall corsa and a few week ago, the oil light flickered but then it came off- I checked the dipstick, there was enough oil. A few days ago, I was in traffic and it came on and stayed on this time. I pulled over and checked the oil cap, it had that mayo stuff on it. I topped up the oil and the light came off, I also cleaned off the mayo stuff. The mayo stuff is back on the cap(I cleaned it 3 days ago) and also seems to be in the dipstick, but the Actual oil on the dipstick is just oil- no mayo stuff.

    The car drives fine and doesn't overheat, there also doesn't seem to be oil in the water/coolant. The temp gauge barely moves from 0 actually. Car doesn't seem to be loosing water.

    I know I need to take it to a garage to be checked out, and I'm aware that it could be my head gasket which is gone. However, I've been reading and it could also b condensation? I do loads of short trips and it's only in the last week I've started doing about a 30-40 mile round trip each day.

    A mechanic looked at it and said I should change the engine as its cheaper than a head gasket change, I don't really trust him though! Is there anyway a garage can check to see if it's definitely the head gasket? Or atleast tell me exactly what the problem is?

    Anyone had experience of this? Help please!!


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    Well we had a head gasket changed on our last car, it cost around £700. And go to lots of garages if you want a more reliable answer.
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    Wouldn't be too concerned about a bit of mayo on the cap - as has been covered above it can be something and nothing.

    Oil light flickering on is an interesting one...
    Is this a low oil pressure warning light?

    How many miles does this car have on the clock? Sitting in heavy traffic I suppose the oil viscosity might have got to the point where it was so thin that the pressure could have dropped below the point that the sensor activates.
    I think if it were my car I'd do an oil and filter service for starters.
    The other thing to check is that the flylead for the oil pressure sensor is connected propperly. I once had a landrover that would show an oil pressure warning under hard acceleration. What had actually happened is the wire had come off and would break contact from the terminal under harsh acceleration. Under normal acceleration there was just enough flex in the wire to hold the contacts together.

    I think the key thing to do first is find out what exactly that warning light means. i.e is it a service indicator? is it a level indicator? Is it a lower pressure warning? etc etc...
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    (Original post by JC.)
    Wouldn't be too concerned about a bit of mayo on the cap - as has been covered above it can be something and nothing.

    Oil light flickering on is an interesting one...
    Is this a low oil pressure warning light?

    How many miles does this car have on the clock? Sitting in heavy traffic I suppose the oil viscosity might have got to the point where it was so thin that the pressure could have dropped below the point that the sensor activates.
    I think if it were my car I'd do an oil and filter service for starters.
    The other thing to check is that the flylead for the oil pressure sensor is connected propperly. I once had a landrover that would show an oil pressure warning under hard acceleration. What had actually happened is the wire had come off and would break contact from the terminal under harsh acceleration. Under normal acceleration there was just enough flex in the wire to hold the contacts together.

    I think the key thing to do first is find out what exactly that warning light means. i.e is it a service indicator? is it a level indicator? Is it a lower pressure warning? etc etc...
    It's just a light which shows the oil can, not sure what type of light it is. And the flickering only happened once a few weeks ago. A few days ago it stayed on in traffic. But came off when I put more oil and hasn't come back on since.

    I'm not sure of the mileage, as when I took it to MOT in Feb, I found out from its MOT history that it's been clocked somewhere along the line

    I'm just thinking that if I take it to a garage, when the light isn't actually on-it may be pointless?!

    I'm going to try and find a garage today, I work full time and need my car for work so can only really take it on a sat or Sunday.


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    My Mum has a 2004 1.2 Corsa, and it did exactly this minus the oil light. It is used for short trips almost exclusively, so there is often mayo under the oil filler cap.

    Give the car a service, and take it for a long run, and it should be fine if it is the same thing. Hers has done this for the past 4 years, now on 80k and no problems at all.
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    Engine replacement on an 04 Corsa...? How many miles has it done?

    I echo the points made re: 'mayo' on the cap. It can be an indicator of head gasket, but until tested, it may be nothing to worry about.
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    As JC says, I'd give it an oil and filter change (maybe a flush as well) making sure you're using the right grade of oil. Clean the mayo off and then keep an eye on it. When you saw the mayo, how long had it been since you'd checked the oil level?

    As for an engine change, no point while the thing's still running!

    (Original post by Nuffles)
    The part itself is pennies.
    I'd always assumed that too, but they're not - on more modern cars at least. Just the head gasket for my car is about £40, and last year I looked at buying a 3 series which potentially needed a new gasket and that was about £60 if I recall correctly. Throw in the other gaskets you're likely to need and a cam belt and water pump and it really adds up - it's still going to be a lot less than labour if done at a garage, but it's not insignificant. Prices were from Euro Car Parts, who tend to be reasonably priced if not exceptional.
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    As JC says, I'd give it an oil and filter change (maybe a flush as well) making sure you're using the right grade of oil. Clean the mayo off and then keep an eye on it. When you saw the mayo, how long had it been since you'd checked the oil level?

    As for an engine change, no point while the thing's still running!


    I'd always assumed that too, but they're not - on more modern cars at least. Just the head gasket for my car is about £40, and last year I looked at buying a 3 series which potentially needed a new gasket and that was about £60 if I recall correctly. Throw in the other gaskets you're likely to need and a cam belt and water pump and it really adds up - it's still going to be a lot less than labour if done at a garage, but it's not insignificant. Prices were from Euro Car Parts, who tend to be reasonably priced if not exceptional.
    My bad! I was going on an A-series HG being a couple of quid, and assuming that it's basically a sheet of papery plastic.
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    (Original post by Nuffles)
    My bad! I was going on an A-series HG being a couple of quid, and assuming that it's basically a sheet of papery plastic.
    Modern head gaskets aren't actually - viton and steel is quite common, copper is sometimes used. Otherwise people would just buy a sheet of gasket paper!
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    Modern head gaskets aren't actually - viton and steel is quite common, copper is sometimes used. Otherwise people would just buy a sheet of gasket paper!
    Bloody modern cars *grumble*
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    It was about 2 weeks since I checked the oil level, when I noticed the mayo. I have a mechanic coming out at 6pm today- fingers crossed, it's nothing to worry about!

    Thanks guys.


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