wrong oil in car

Overfilling the engine oil can be as bad for your vehicle as driving with no oil at all but it’s quite rare to go past the recommended mark. Oil is important to your vehicles operation but having too much oil can counteract the effects the oil has on the engines components. There’s a dipstick in the oil reservoir that has a MAX line which lets you know when you’ve gone past the recommended amount of oil for the vehicle. If you have put too much engine oil in, it’s crucial that you know what to do.

The oil helps to keep the components in your engine functioning smoothly since they move a lot. Too much movement can cause a lot of friction and this creates heat which isn’t good for the engine. A good level of oil will lubricate the engine and absorb the heat that comes from the rubbing components – this allows the engine to work efficiently without overheating. The friction of the moving parts is limited, and the heat is spread through the engine rather than being concentrated in one area.

A good engine oil also works as a cleaner as it goes around the engine cleaning up all the debris and the dirt that has collected up overtime. If these components aren’t cleaned up from the dirt, they can clog up the engine and this will cause more friction and overheating. You may think that having more oil in the engine will help it do its job better, but it can actually be damaging to the engine.

Is it Safe to Drive with Overfilled Oil?

Overfilling your engine oil can cause damage to the engine and this can be noticed by some symptoms. Oil leaks can cause blue or white smoke to leave the exhaust pipe because it’s been pushed into the combustion chamber and this can cause the oil to burn inside the engine.

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When the oils been overfilled, it needs to be way above the max line – if you’ve just gone above by a small amount, you shouldn’t worry about it. Although there is a max line, the oil compartment can still hold a bit more fluid until it’s completely full. If there’s too much oil, this gets pushed into the crankshaft, due to the crankshafts rotation speed, the oil can be mixed with oil and this gives it a foamy texture – this texture doesn’t lubricate your engine like normal oil does, therefore, the engine will be starved of lubrication which will later lead to over heating and potentially a failing engine.

Your oil needs to stay at the right temperature meaning it should be relatively thick, and it needs to be the right oil for the engine to begin with. Low quality oil can suffer in extreme temperatures so make sure that you’re buying the correct type of oil. If you routinely change your oil, you should be doing it each time you hit 5,000 miles – a 1,000 less or more wouldn’t do any harm. To hit 5,000 months will take on average 6 months. When overfilling your engine, it’s a simple process so chances are you weren’t concentrating which has led to you pouring too much oil in. It’s important that you know the right amount of oil to pour into your car.

How Much Oil Should You Put?

For most engines, you should pour 5-8 quarts of oil, but it depends the size of the engine. If you have a regular car, the recommended amount would be 5. A 4 cylinder engine will need about 5 quarts of oil while a 6 cylinder will need around 6 quarts of oil. If you have anything more, you may require around 7-8 quarts of oil. If you’ve poured an excess of ½ quart of by 1 quart, this shouldn’t be a problem for the engine. It’s a problem when you pour more than 2 extra quarts or oil but be aware that this depends on the engine size.

If you work in litres, for a 4-cylinder engine, you should pour about 4.5 litres of oil. For a 6 cylinder, you should pour around 5.5 litres of oil. For an 8 cylinder, you should pour around 7.5 litres of oil. Knowing the exact amount of oil to put in before topping up or changing is crucial.

Overfilled Oil Symptoms


The first sign and symptom that there’s too much oil is that the dipstick line will be overflowing. The dipstick has a max line which is the most you should ever put in there. If it’s overflowing, this means that it’ll show on the dipstick. When pouring in oil again, make sure not to go over this line because it can lead to further problems with the engine down the line.

Smell of Oil

If you’ve overfilled the oil, chances are you’ll be able to smell a strong oil smell while you’re driving your vehicle. Because of excessive oil leaving the chamber, you’ll be able to smell it more than normal. If there’s smoke coming out the engine in many different colors, such as white and blue, this will indicate that there’s too much oil going into the engine compartment. The crankcase can push the oil into the combustion chambers, and this will cause the oil to burn inside the engine and exit the exhaust pipe.

Knocking Sounds

If you hear knocking sounds in the engine, this can be caused by bad quality oil. If the oil gets in the crankshaft and the high speeds cause the oil to mix with the air which creates a foamy texture, this won’t be a good lubricant for the engine. The engine needs to be lubricated properly so the components can move past each other smoothly. If this doesn’t happen, there will be a lack of lubrication in the engine compartment. If there’s no lubrication, the engine’s rods will be loose and this happens when the pistons aren’t tightened securely. Once the rods become loose because of little lubrication, they will be thrown around the engine compartment and this can cause knocking sounds.

Burning Smell

Since the components aren’t receiving much lubrication, there will be a lot of friction between them and since the engines mainly composed of metal, if the components start to rub against each other, a lot of heat will be created and this can give off a burning smell. You may think that putting in too much oil will provide more lubrication, but because of the oil turning into a foam due to the amount of heat and air in the crankcase, this will make the engine lose its lubricating properties.

Engine Failure

The worst thing that can happen to your engine because of too much oil will be engine failure. If there isn’t much lubrication going on within the engine, this will cause too much friction within the engine and this can cause it to overheat. If the engine overheats, this can cause it to fail and once it’s failed, it’ll need to be replaced. If you notice that the temperature of the engine is getting too hot, you need to see a mechanic as soon as possible.

Dark Puddles Under Your Vehicle

If you back out from your driveway and you see that there are brown or yellow puddles where your vehicle previously was, this could be a sign that the overflowed oil has leaked. The excess oil will go directly onto the pavement which can cause problems with oil levels and pressure.

Dashboard light

Another thing you’ll notice when there’s too much oil in the engine is the dashboard warning light come on. The dashboard warning light comes on when the oil level is low or lower than normal. The oil could have leaked which has caused the excess oil to leave the vehicle. If this is the case with you, you’ll need to drive your vehicle to the nearest workshop and get it checked out.

Engine wear

since the engine has suffered from little lubrication, this can cause the moving parts to constantly rub against each other and this can cause the engines parts to wear down. Over time, this can damage the long-term performance of the engine or even cause it to shut down. If there’s too much lubrication, it can cause pressure on the crankshaft to increase and this can lead to oil entering the crankshaft exhaust pipe and entering the combustion chamber. This can end up blocking the suction hose with oil soot and this can potentially overload the engine.

If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms above, then there’s too much engine oil in the reservoir and the next thing you need to do is take out the excess oil. You’ll need to stop your vehicle somewhere and turn off the engine. Wait a few hours for your engine to cool down because it can be dangerous to work on while it’s hot. If you have experience working under the hood while the engine is hot, you can go ahead and lift up the hood. You then need to open the hood and check the dipstick oil level and check where the oil has reached on the dipstick. It should be above the MAX line which will indicate that there’s oil present.

How to Remove Overfilled Engine Oil

If there’s too much oil in the reserve, you’ll need to drain all of it. The first way to drain the excess oil includes using a suction pump to pump the oil from the cap access point or the dipstick tube – to do this, you’ll need a wet and dry vacuum (View on Amazon) because a lot of suction is required to pull the oil out. This can be a manual vacuum pump or an automatic vacuum.

When you have the vacuum, place it above the oil reservoir where you’ll normally pour the oil and start sucking out the excess oil. Make sure not to suck too much oil out unless there won’t be enough to lubricate the engine. When you’re done, then you can check the dipstick to see if the oil is at the correct level and if there’s enough left to last you 5,000 miles.

The other way that you can take out oil can be messy, but you’ll need an oil pan (View on Amazon) to collect all the oil and a wrench – this method also requires some heavy lifting. To do this, you need to get underneath the vehicle and access the oil plug.

Warning: You’ll definitely get oil on your hands when loosening the oil plug so be aware of this.

When loosening the oil plug, make sure that you don’t loosen the plug too much because you risk losing too much oil, and this will be bad for your engine. Only loosen the plug enough so that a small amount of oil is leaving the vehicle. Once you think the excess oil has gone, you can go back and check the dipstick to see if the correct amount of oil is in the vehicle.

How to Fix Overfilling Oil in Engine

If you want to ensure that your engine has longevity, you’ll need to make sure that you’re putting the right oil and doing the right checks on the engine. There’s a lot to know about oil such as the quality, additives, consistency, brand, and temperature that can all affect the way the engine runs. Failure to maintain the engine by putting in the wrong oil can cause the engine to deteriorate quickly. The key to a long-lasting engine is maintenance. Oil is just one form of engine maintenance and even this needs to be done right. Failure to main your vehicle as a whole can lead to all sorts of problems.

If you want to avoid engine problems or any other 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 to Do Now That You Have the Right Amount of Oil

Now that you have the right amount of oil, you’ll need to maintain the oil level in your vehicle. To do this, you should routinely check that your oil is at the right level. When pouring in the oil, you should do it slowly making sure that you don’t go past the max line. If you do go past this line, this can cause the same problems as before and draining the excess oil isn’t fun to do.

The amount of oil that you need in your vehicle is stated on the owner’s manual so there should be no excuse for pouring the wrong amount of oil. If it wasn’t you that filled your oil and it was the mechanic, they may have put in the incorrect amount of oil. They have systems that can tell them information about your vehicle so they can pour in the right amount of oil. Sometimes they can make mistakes which can lead to too much oil being poured in your vehicle.