I'm trying to determine if I need to replace my oil pump or put a new engine in. on 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier

My oil pressure light will come on when I'm idling at a stop light/sign. I've had the oil pressure sensor replaced and the light still comes on. I've also noticed that when I go up the mountain, the oil pressure light comes on then but not when I'm going back down the mountain. I've been meticulous about doing my oil changes every 3-4000 miles. I currently have 168,000 miles on her.

by in Chattanooga, TN on August 15, 2012
4 answers 4 comments
ANSWER by on August 16, 2012
Down is not bright normal, I think no big problem
ANSWER by on August 16, 2012
take oil pressure switch out and hook up a gauge that will tell you if the oil pressure is within specs
COMMENT by on August 16, 2012
Goodguy - being a single woman, is this pressure test something I can do myself?
COMMENT by on August 18, 2012
if you have an oil pressure gauge you can do it yourself I doubt you have one
ANSWER by on August 16, 2012
As goodguy said you need to check the oil pressure with a gauge. If the pressure is out of spec. I would replace only the pump assuming you have no unusual internal noises from the engine.
COMMENT by on August 16, 2012
Chevy Power - I'm not having any issues with any abnormal engine noises. It still has great power and "get up and go". If the pressure test is within specs, any thoughts on what else to check out? Money is a big issue and I don't want to pay to have the oil pump replaced only to have the shop come back and say they found something else wrong after tearing the engine down for the pump.
ANSWER by on August 16, 2012
have a manual oil pressure test done to determine issue but don't drive car as to damage anything just in case
COMMENT by on August 16, 2012
Greg - thanks for the input. I only use the car to go to the grocery store and/or doctors appts. I don't even put 100 miles a month on it. I'm too nervous to drive it any distance, for fear of having the engine seize up on me for some reason. I'll have the pressure test done and see if it's within the specs and try to make a decision then.