What to Do If You Put the Wrong Oil in Your Car

wrong oil in car

As a driver, you should know that oil is the blood line of your car and with it, the car won’t be able to function properly. Talking about the engine specifications, if there’s a lack of the right amount of oil, you’re going to notice an impact on the engine’s components. When there’s a lack of the right oil, the engine components will start to wear down quickly because they’ll start to rub against each other more due to a lack of lubrication. Too much friction in the engine can cause overheating and this can cause the engine to fail. You need to make sure that you’re putting the correct type of oil into your vehicle when doing an oil change.

When the car is turned on and the vehicle starts to run, the engine components start to rub against each other, and this causes a lot of friction. The oil acts like a barrier between these metal components which means that the amount of wear that happens if reduced. The oil also going around the engine cleaning up the debris – when the engine is running, it wears down over time, and this because dust parts to be scattered around the engine. If there’s too much wear on the engine due to a lack of lubrication, then this can affect the engine’s longevity.

Wrong Engine Oil in Car

Every type of vehicle has a specific type of engine oil that’s been assigned to it. To check the right oil, you should use on your vehicle, you should look at the owner’s manual and this will let you know the right type of oil that’s good for your car. If you can’t find it here, you should check on the manufacturer’s website and they’ll let you know the best oil for your vehicle. If you’ve put the wrong type of oil in, it shouldn’t be a problem but this depending on how different the oil is to the recommended oil for your vehicle.

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If the oil type you’ve put in is too different to what’s been recommended, this can cause problems with your engine. If the engine oil you’ve put in is something that’s similar or it adheres to API standard, then it should be a problem for your engine.

Pretty much all oils adhere to an API standard SN which means that they’re all soluble between different brands, viscosity, and formulation. This means that all types of oils can be compatible with your engine. As long as the oil adheres to the same standard that’s recommended for your vehicle, you should notice any problems. If you want to check the compatibility of the oil, then you should look at the service manual which can be located on the door jamb, boot, under the seat, or glove box. Vehicles weren’t manufactured for one specific type of oil so if you think you’ve put the wrong oil in your vehicle, you’ll need to check if the oil is SAE certified and you should experience any problems.

There are some different types of oils available for cars and if you’ve put one of these in instead of the recommended one stated on the specification manual, you should notice any problems.

Premium Conventional – this is conventional oil but at a premium standard and it’s one of the most common types of recommended oils. This oil can come in different grades and this includes 5W-20, 5W-30, or 10W-30. These are high-quality grades that should be suitable for most vehicles and they’ll all maintain a decent quality depending on the temperature of the engine.

Full SyntheticFull synthetic oil (View on Amazon) this type of oil is at a higher quality that conventional oil and it’s made specifically for high tech engines that require more power such as supports cars. This type of oil goes through specialized testing to provide a high viscosity level. This stops the oil from breaking down when it’s being used at extreme temperatures.

Synthetic Blend Oil – this oil is a mix of synthetic oil and premium conventional oil. This means that it’ll maintain high quality when being used under high temperatures in the engine. For vehicles like the SUV and pickup trucks, this is the most common type of oil that you’ll see is recommended.

High Mileage Oil – if your vehicle has done high mileage, then there’s a specific oil for it. This type of oil protects vehicles that have high mileage and have been used for a long time – it provides more longevity to vehicles that have been used for a long time.

How to Fix Wrong Oil Used in Car

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.

Signs that You’ve Used the Wrong Oil

There are some signs that mean that you’ve put the wrong oil in your vehicle. If there’s a problem with the oil you’ve put in, then an error may have been sent to the diagnostics unit in your vehicle signifying that the oil isn’t working well with the engine. When there’s a problem in the vehicle, a signal is sent to the diagnostics unit and this can be read using a professional OBD2 scanner (View on Amazon). A professional OBD2 scanner will allow you to diagnose the error in the unit to check if the oil is affecting the engine negatively. If you’re using a standard scanner, it might misdiagnose, or it might miss the problem altogether. It also won’t tell you the meaning of the error code, so you’ll have to look it up.

Check engine light – If the check engine light comes on, it could be a sign that the oil you’ve put in the engine isn’t affecting the engine properly. The check engine light comes on when there’s a problem with your vehicle and the bad thing about using it as a symptom is that it can come on for a range of different problems in your vehicle. When using the check engine light as a symptom, it’s important that you group it with other symptoms.

Oil Replacement Light is On – if you’ve put the wrong oil in your vehicle and it’s not working well with the engine, the oil replacement light might come on and this is a sign that the wrong oil has been used in your vehicle. Some modern vehicles have an oil replacement light, and this will let you know that the oil needs to be changed without you know there’s a problem with the oil.

If the correct oil was being used in the engine and you’ve just put the wrong oil in, the system might not register that an oil change has been done become this new oil isn’t working properly on the engine. The oil replacement light is set at intervals from the last oil change and it comes on at a certain time when it thinks that the oil should be changed. As soon as you’ve changed the oil properly, then it’ll register than an oil change has been done and the light should reset.

Hard to Start in Cold Weather – if you’ve put the wrong oil in, it won’t work on the engine like normal, therefore, you might have trouble trying to start the vehicle in cold weather. If the oil is too thick for example, then It’s going to take a long time to run around the engine and lubricate the moving parts while the engine is cold. This will cause the engine to wear down a lot faster than normal. You must use the correct oil weight recommended for your vehicle if you want it to lubricate the engine when it’s in cold weather.

To fix this, you need to warm up the vehicle so that the oil is able to get around the engine so it can start to lubricate as soon as you start driving. If you’ve used oil that’s too thick, then you may experience more wear than normal even if you let the vehicle warm up.

Engine Sounds – if you hear sounds within the engine, knocking sounds specifically, then it’s a sign that the engine oil in the engine isn’t lubricating the components problem. When there’s a lack of lubrication due to bad oil, there will be more friction against the components, and they’ll start to wear again each other a lot more. Since there’s more friction, the engine rods can become loose and this happens when the pistons have become insecure. Since the engine’s rods are loose, they can be thrown around the engine and this can be heard. You’ll need to make sure that the oil is drained and you’re topping it up with the right oil.

Engine Ticking in Cold Weather – if you can hear the engine ticking when you’re in cold weather, it can be a sign that you’ve used motor oil that’s too thin. This is usually heard right after you’ve started the engine and it’ll gradually start to decrease after you’ve driven for a while. This happens because you’ve used the incorrect weight of motor oil and it’s doing a poor job lubricating the engine’s components. You’re hearing the metal components such as the valves and the valve lifters hitting against other metals.

Engine Misfiring – if the engine is misfiring, it’s a sign that you’ve used the wrong oil weight and it’ll need to be changed. When the engine is misfiring, the cylinders are failing to fire properly, and this will cause damage to the engine’s longevity. The misfire could happen when the engine isn’t being lubricated properly so you should fix the problem as soon as you notice unless you could blow the engine.

Loss of Engine Power – another symptom you’ll notice if you’ve used the wrong type of oil is that the engine loses power. When there isn’t enough oil, the engine can lose power, and this means it won’t be able to function the same as when there was a good amount of oil in there. If you notice that the vehicle isn’t performing at the same power it was, it’s a sign that there’s a lack of lubrication within the engine.

Exhaust Smoke – if you’ve noticed that there’s some exhaust smoke, then it could be a sign that there’s a leak and the wrong oil has been used. You’ll need to head to a dealership to make sure all the oil is drained out and the correct oil is being used.

Job Guthiri is a freelance writer with 3 years of experience writing for Motorsrun and other established automobile outlets. His focus and key interests are Tacomas and maintenance. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.