Have ever been in a do-it-yourself mood and decided to change your own oil? You went too heavy on the oil and now, you’re not sure what to do? For one, when an engine does not have the right amount of oil, it is not a good thing. When there is too much or too little oil, it causes problems. If your problem is too much oil, read on to find out what you should do.
Overfilling Engine Oil
The older the car is, the more oil it consumes. That means you may be adding oil so much that you overfill it so you don’t have to fill it again in a while. Overfill is when too much liquid is accidently added during a top off or liquid change. It can also occur due to engine condensation or when all of the used oil has not been drained out of the system before adding the new oil. When the engine is overfilled with engine oil, the oil pan levels become too high, which allows the crankshaft to contact the oil and cause aeration. The oil then becomes frothy and can no longer do its job.
Symptoms of Too Much Oil in a CarThe amount of oil needed to operate a vehicle between oil changes is predetermined by the manufacturer. If there is too much oil in the car, the oil gauge and other signs will let you know. If the gauge is up or you see oil spiils on the ground, it just takes that bit of intuition and a few tools to check it out. Here are the most common symptoms of overfilled oil in a vehicle:
Oil light activated – There is an oil gauge on your dash that lets you know when the oil level is a problem. The gauge is usually numbered from 1 to 80 or 1 to 100. New cars have an electronic gauge that is attached to a sensor. When the car is first started, the oil pressure is at its highest. As you drive the car, the oil pressure needle should move toward low. When the oil gauge moves from low to high, you know the oil level needs to be checked. However, the high oil pressure reading could also mean other things.
Smoke from Engine or Exhaust – If there is too much oil, you will see white or blue smoke emitting from the exhaust pipe or the engine compartment when the vehicle is turned on. The exhaust pipe is supposed to have smoke coming from it. However, certain smoke is not normal. The smoke that comes from the exhaust come in several colors, such as blue, grey, white, or black. Normally, the smoke that comes from the exhaust is a grey, thin fume. When it is cold, the smoke may be white and eventually it will die down. If the smoke coming from the exhaust is blue, this is not normal. It should not be blue during startup or acceleration.
Typically, if the smoke is blue, it means the oil is burning in places around the engine and it is mixing with the air and gas. This produces the blue color in the smoke. Perhaps there is an external oil leak where the oil is dripping on a hot engine and other hot parts. Hot oil is leaking into the combustion chamber, causing blue smoke. However, the cause of the blue smoke could come from a few other things, depending on the type of vehicle, where the smoke is coming out, and how old the vehicle is. Blue smoke is usually a mix of oil and other elements, including air, gas, and transmission fluid. The leak could be because of a decrease in the lubrication in the engine. Also, the blue smoke problem can occur in gas or diesel vehicles.
Burning Smell – Obviously, when there is too much oil, some of it will leak out. When the oil leaks out, it’s hot. The hot oil is also making contact with hot surfaces. When the oil hits the hot surface, it begins to burn. If this goes on long enough, the burning oil will give off a burnt smell. If you can smell the burning oil, the problem has persisted and perhaps you may need to take your car to the repair shop for an oil change.
Unstable Oil Pressure – Engine oil serves as a lubricant as well as a coolant in the internal combustion engine. The oil pressure defines the oil flow resistance, viscosity, and flow rate through the engine. The proper oil pressure reduces the number of repairs and extends the life of the car. When the oil pressure is not right, it causes problems and eventually damage to the engine. Recall that the oil pressure gauge tells how high or low the oil pressure is. The oil pressure gauge is high when the engine is cold. That is, when the vehicle is first started. When the oil pressure is low, that means there is not enough lubrication. You may hear strange noises or the car will be hard to crank.
Car Stalling – The car may stall because of oil in the catalytic converter. There is no reason for any liquid to be inside the catalytic converter. The overfilled oil has to find another place to go and sometimes it is the converter. When the converter is contaminated with the oil, it will affect the acceleration and consume more gas. A contaminated converter cannot burn the hydrocarbons in the exhaust so that the breakdown is no longer happening. You will notice the car is running rough, sputtering, stalling, and giving off an odor. If the excess oil is not addressed, the car may not start at all.
You Need to Know This About Your Oil
If you regularly have problems with your vehicle or you’re experiencing problems with the oil system, chances are you don’t maintain your vehicle often. The key to avoid problems within your vehicle along with oil problems is to properly maintain your vehicle.
If you want to avoid oil problems and save $100s of dollars that you’ll spend at the auto repair shop, you’ll need to service your vehicle often – you can use our mechanic-rated Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual to do this. It’s basically what mechanics use to go through your vehicle to check if there are any problems that need fixing. As soon as they notice the most minor problem, they’ll ask you to fork out some money even though it’s a problem you can fix yourself in minutes – the manual will teach you how to maintain your vehicle every few thousand miles and it’ll teach you how to fix minor problems that mechanics will ask you to pay for; saving you money in the long run.
A lot of our readers have the Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual printed on their garage wall and 92% of them haven’t visited the auto repair shop in the last year because they know what to do to avoid problems. All it takes is giving your vehicle a little attention every few thousand miles and you’ll never spend money at the workshop again.
What Happens When Too Much Oil is Added to a Car?
The internal combustion engine is very sensitive extremely because there are so many components that must work together for the engine to run. As in most cases, excess causes trouble. The extra oil must go somewhere and there are few places where the buildup can go. Here are the most common aftereffects of too much oil:
Clogged Catalytic Converter– The catalytic converts and then emits harmful gases out through the exhaust pipe. The converter increases the quality of engine lubrication, which reduces the engine wear. The excess oil comes into the converter causing problems. The converter should be dry and filled only with gases. When the oil is overfilled, the excess oil runs into the converter.
Misfiring – Excess oil will also cause misfiring over time. The spark plugs may become covered with the excess oil causing the plugs to misfire. Engine misfire occurs because there is too much oil on the spark plugs. This will happen especially when you are driving at high speeds. You may feel the engine hesitate for a couple of seconds and then resume.
Oil and grime – Too much oil in the engine is never a good thing. That means when you drive, you are creating even more cheap and dirty oil. Using low quality or cheap engine oil is bad; however, when you overfill the cheap oil, the problems of overfilling are expanded.
What to Do if You Overfilled the Oil
Any automotive problem will cause premature wear and tear on the engine. If you suspect too oil has been added, you need to check it out. If the oil level does turn out to be too high, in most cases, you can still fix the problem. Here is what to do if you’ve added too much oil:
Check the oil level – Drive your car around for about 10 minutes to warm up the engine. This will give you an accurate reading when you check the oil. Then, pop the hood and remove the oil dipstick. Wipe the dipstick off and then reinsert it. Wait for about 1 minute. Then pull the dipstick out. This time, read the oil level on the dipstick to see if there is too much oil. If the oil is above the full marking, you know the oil has been overfilled. If the oil level is exactly on the full marking, there is no need to do anything.
Check the oil pan – You can look for problems yourself before taking your car to the garage:
- Park in a safe, level surface and raise the hood.
- Check around the engine to see if there is any buildup of residue around the engine. There be spots of sludge here and there.
- Remove the oil cap. Use a flashlight to check your oil pan. The oil pan may be overfilled and you may see the sludge in the pan.
Drain the excess oil – If you caught the problem close to when the oil was overfilled, you may be able to just extract the excess oil will an extractor pump and drainage pan. Follow these steps to drain the excess oil:
- Gather your materials: a plastic pan, clean towels, gloves, car jack, and a 3/8 inch drive socket wrench.
- Pull the emergency brake on.
- Jack the car up behind a front tire enough to see underneath.
- Plastic the plastic pan under the oil plug.
- Put on the gloves.
- Find the oil plug at the bottom of the oil pan.
- Use the wrench to loosen the oil plug until you see a bit of oil trickling out.
- Drain enough oil into the pan to bring the level below the full marking on the dipstick. It’s better to drain too much than not enough as you can easily replace the oil.
- Secure the oil plug back on the bottom of the oil pan.
- Use the towels to clean up any spills.
If you don’t have the proper tools, let the car garage do it. If you have been driving with the excess oil for a while, it’s best to take your car in to serviced.
Drive safe – Any car owner wants to keep their vehicle running smoothly over the road for a long time. When problems come up under the hood, it’s time to find solutions. Excess oil can cause engine damage in the long run if the problem persists. However, excess oil is not a problem that cannot be fixed, especially if you find the problem early.
The oil overfill is not something you can ignore. Regular oil changes and tune ups are always a great idea. Your owner’s manual will tell you what should be serviced and when. Having the oil changed and getting a tune up are considered preventive maintenance. Keeping the vehicle serviced as recommended by the manufacturer means an oil overfill can be corrected.