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Hello! I inherited a 2006 Impala from my mother when she passed away, only 80,000 miles and my step dad is like a car maintenance freak - everything is done on time and fixes were taken care of immediately. The car still gets regular oil changes and maintenance since I've had it as well.

Last week on my way to work a very brief message flashed on my dashboard with one single "ding" - I had just enough time to see the top line of the message "Oil pressure low" but the message was gone before I could register the second line of the message. I parked at work, 2 minutes away, and let the car cool before checking the dipstick - which was dry! I am still 700+ miles from an oil change. A co-worker and I picked up 4 quarts of oil and I put 2 in to take the car to the shop on the way home until I was told it would be this week before they could look at it. The drive home was uneventful, no more messages.

I checked the oil again the next morning and the dipstick showed oil up to the third dot. So I started the car and all was fine up until the exact same spot as the day before and I got that super quick message again. (making a right turn at about 15 miles an hour) This time when I turned off the car, white smoke/steam came out from under the hood. It was very wispy smoke, not a lot at all. Co-worked followed me home and again, it was an uneventful ride and when I turned it off, no smoke from under the hood.

This morning, the car started to overheat at a stop light after running for less than 10 minutes; it moved up 2 marks from the mid point of the dashboard temp gauge. Once I started driving, the needle moved back down to the mid point. The heater was on hot but blew mostly cold air, once in a while it would blow hot for a short time. A little more smoke when I shut it off again and I didn't get any messages.

Had to get it home and it did the same moving up a mark or two on the gauge, no smoke when I got home.

I checked the oil and the radiator and all looks well. I don't see any oil or coolant on the engine, the oil on the dipstick looks dark but not like there is other fluid mixed in with it. There is no bubbling or cracking sounds from the engine when it's running nor when the engine isn't running.

I don't notice any lack of pick up or power when driving and there's no dash lights blowing up with messages or warnings and no weird noises or problems starting.

The mechanic can't look at it until Friday - the BEST mechanic I've ever had - and I'm leaving it parked until he can take a look at it but in the meantime, I've searched the internet for cracked/warped heads, radiator problems, lack of oil pressure, blah blah blah and I just can't put all the symptoms together to even prepare myself for the worst.

Anyone have any input to help me prepare for the mechanics diagnosis? I appreciate any feedback, this forum seems the most helpful I've been able to find so am hoping the help keeps coming!
 

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Two quarts low is not good but it's not the end of the world. There are four in the pan. The oil pressure sensor is a known failure point. If you have an engine with AFM you'll need to be sure the AFM lifter filter under the oil pressure sensor gets changed.

The overheating is probably un-related to the low oil.
Wispy steam from under the hood means you have a small leak somewhere. It's leaked out enough coolant that now it's overheating.

This was a mom car so I assume nobody has monkeyed with the coolant and changed it to the old green stuff or, mixed the green stuff with the DexCool... so it has the original GM Prestone DexCool fill. Go get some Prestone Dexcool 50/50 pre-mix at WalMart. 50/50 is premixed with distilled water, not tap water, so it won't corrode the innards of your cooling system. Get the real thing not the "compatible with" stuff. DexCool will be orange or red so pay attention to what you have.


Start the engine, park the car on an incline or on ramps so the nose is up high enough that the fill is above the heater core, and fill it up. Don't forget to run the overflow tank up to the fill mark.
These guys are draining and re-filling the system on a Gen8 Impala with a 3.5. You just need to pay attention to how they re-fill it. The LS4 5.3 and the 3.9 are very similar.

Once your mechanic gets the coolant leak fixed and the oil changed open the hood and check em every time you fill the gas tank... or once a week before you start up and take off.
 

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I do agree I don't believe the oil and coolant issues are related, I believe you are likely running low on coolant and...
But before you fill it up!!!
I would check the overflow bottle for the coolant level, also make sure to never open the coolant cap when the engine is HOT and I mean wait until the car has sat overnight to deal with coolant related things and then... Check the color, if it's orange you have dex-cool, if it's green you need green stuff... Chances are it's going to have and require the dex-cool but I thought I would mention it because you do not want to mix the two let me repeat: Do NOT mix Dex-cool and green stuff, don't do it.

Last but not least, always let the car sit about 5 minutes before checking the oil to give it a chance to settle down into the pan and...
Make sure the car is parked on a level surface.
 

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As well please inform yourselves before simply adding oil to an engine...
I'm a bit concerned when you said you added 4 quarts...

When adding oil I would recommend the following process:
- Park the car on a LEVEL surface.
- Wait FIVE (5) minutes after the car's engine has been cut off to give the oil a chance to settle into the pan (that is where the dipstick reaches into).
- Now check the dipstick and make sure to look closely, in some cases (especially with fresh oil) it can be hard to see the line of fluid...
- When adding oil ALWAYS check the dipstick at least ONCE between every quart, do not add more than one quart before checking the level again.
- Let me repeat: ALWAYS add oil one quart at a time and check the level, only add another quart if you are sure the level is still low.
 
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