Maintaining the level of your car oil often is essential to keep it functioning effectively and long enough.
Sometimes you get notifications on your car’s dashboard to check the level of oil. Regardless of the message form, it simply means your car’s oil level is not correct.
Therefore, there is a need for topping up your vehicle’s engine with fresh engine oil to keep the engine running smoothly and avoid overheating.
However, whether engine temperature impacts oil added to the car has been common to many motorists.
Can you add oil to a hot engine, or should you wait for it to cool? Well, that’s what we shall be discussing in this article.
Let’s get started.
The Need for Proper Oil Levels?
Lubricating the moving parts is only one of the basic functions done by the engine oil in your car. Tiny amounts of carbon and debris accumulate inside the engine while it operates, where they can obstruct narrow channels.
To avoid this, engine oil contains surfactants that eliminate such deposits before they become harmful. This is the major reason as to why the motor oil in the engine gets black, particularly after prolonged use.
The oil also plays a crucial part in engine cooling, since it removes heat from the engine. This implies that it must be able to withstand the extreme temperatures that occur within components such as the cylinder head and pistons. Because of this, the majority of modern engines are equipped with oil coolers to guarantee that the temp of the motor oil remains within prescribed parameters.
In conclusion, there’s an oil pump that draws oil from the oil pan and pushes it throughout the engine under pressure. Several components, such as hydraulic valve tappets and variable valve timing solenoids, rely on enough oil pressure to function.
You shouldn’t ever allow the amount of engine oil to get too low, given that it performs such important functions. When there is insufficient oil within the engine, the engine might overheat under strong loads. If this occurs, the oil’s molecular structure will disintegrate and it will decay.
In addition to losing its lubricating and cooling qualities, it may also result in low oil pressure. This can result in engine performance concerns, increased wear, and, in the worst case, component failure.
Can You Put Oil in a Hot Engine?
There is a common misconception that if cold oil comes in touch with hot engine parts it can create cracks.
This theory is founded on the observation that metal contract and expand when temperatures fall or rise. If this occurs too quickly, the material may undergo a rapid deformation and shatter. A clear demonstration of this happens when a glass shatters when poured with hot water.
Nevertheless, there’s no significant risk associated with adding oil to a hot engine because metal components are not particularly fragile and they have a degree of flexibility.
Moreover, engine oil absorbs heat much more slowly compared to water and therefore it cannot cool the engine as quickly. Finally, you must wait a few minutes prior to checking the engine oil level, as the oil drains back down the drain. During this waiting period, the engine will naturally cool down, and it will be less hot when you refill the tank.
When adding oil to the engine, one should do so in a manner that prevents overfilling. Using the MIN and MAX inscriptions as a guide is easiest to determine the appropriate amount of oil to add. The difference between the two markings is typically one quart.
How to Check the Oil Level?
The oil level in your car should be checked regularly to ensure that it is topped up and at the correct level. Checking the oil level is a simple task that only takes a few minutes, and can be done with a few tools that are readily available.
To check the oil level in your car, you will need:
- A clean cloth or paper towel
- A flashlight (optional)
- Engine oil dipstick
First, locate the engine oil dipstick. The dipstick is usually located near the front of the engine, and has a bright yellow or orange handle. Once you have found the dipstick, pull it out of its housing and wipe it off with the clean cloth or paper towel.
Next, insert the dipstick back into its housing and push it all the way in. Then, pull it out again and check the level of oil on the dipstick. The oil should be between the “full” and “low” marks on the dipstick. If the oil is below the “low” mark, you will need to add more oil.
To add oil, locate the engine oil fill cap and unscrew it. Then, pour in the required amount of oil (usually specified in your car’s owners manual) and screw the fill cap back on. Once you have added oil, recheck the level to make sure that it is at the correct level.
Step By Step On How To Add Oil to Engine
Before adding oil to your engine, you will first need to check your car’s oil level.
To determine this, check the reading on your car’s dipstick. The dipstick has Max and Min lines, and the level of oil should be near the Max line but should not overflow.
It is best to check the level of oil when the engine is cool.
Do it more often, like once in a month and ensure you get a change of oil once per month or when need be. To add oil to your engine, here are the steps to follow;
1. Park Your Car on Flat Ground
The right place for parking your car when adding oil is on flat ground.
Being on suitable ground ensures you get accurate readings. Parking on a slope will give you wrong readings, so choose your place to park carefully.
2. Locate Your Car’s Dipstick from the Car’s Hood and Clean It
Open your bonnet and check the dipstick. The dipstick is colored bright orange or red and has a round or T-shape.
After getting it, ensure you remove the dirty oil by wiping it clean with a dry piece of cloth before re-inserting it back.
You re-insert it because the first readings are likely to be incorrect due to the splashing of oil that stains the dipstick.
3. Pull Out the Dipstick and Check the Oil Level
Remove the dipstick now and check the level of the oil. There are two mark lines: maximum and minimum fill line to show the optimum oil level.
Now, your oil level should be somewhere between the two fill lines.
It should not be too close to the top line to avoid an overflow.
Also, if your oil level is normal, fantastic, you don’t need to add any.
However, if the oil is below the Min line or there is no oil remaining, top up your engine immediately.
4. Add Oil to Your Engine Using Funnel
Locate your filler cap in your engine bay. The filler cap has an outline of an oil can, or it’s either marked “oil” on it.
Now, put your funnel at the spout’s top and pour in the oil. Ensure you use the right oil for your automobile. I recommend you to check the best oils for your car on Amazon.
Then, put your funnel at the spout’s top and start pouring your oil in. Ensure you are using the right oil for your car.
Avoid overfilling by putting little oil at a time as you check the dipstick often.
However, make sure you get oil change often since your car can not rely on top-ups only. Mixing old and new oil can make it watery and runny oil cannot operate your engine effectively.
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How Long to Let the Engine Cool Before Adding Oil?
If you’ve been on the road for hours and need to change the oil immediately, it’s highly recommended you wait for about 10-15 minutes for engine to cool before adding oil.
Thus, there is no specific time to wait for the engine to cool before adding oil if your concern is the engine.
When adding oil to your car, it does not matter whether the engine is hot or cool or warm. Provided the engine is not extremely hot or very cold, you can add oil to your engine.
It is also advisable to top-up your engine when the car is warm or even when it has cooled down for reasons of volatility.
Because when the engine is scorching, the oil flows faster. When you let the engine cool down, you allow for the oil to settle.
However, there is no actual danger of adding oil in a hot engine because metal parts have some form of flexibility and are not very fragile.
However, wait for several minutes before checking the oil level so that you allow it to drain. By so doing, you will enable the engine to cool on its own, and it will not be as hot as when you topped it off.
Also, note that very hot oil can cause smoking and even fire if it spills during top-up. So, when adding oil to the engine, ensure there is no overflow.
Should The Engine Be On When Adding Oil?
You should not add oil to the engine while it is still running. Before you top your engine up, ensure you turn it off.
Since adding oil to the engine is considered a dangerous thing to do and can cause harm.
For instance, when you add oil to the engine while it is still running, hot oil can splatter, or even foreign substances can fall on the engine.
To avoid such kind of harm, don’t fill the engine while it is still on.
Also, there is no better way to get the proper reading on the dipstick than turning off the engine.
So, turn the engine off, wait for around five minutes to check the oil level.
When the engine is off, pull the dipstick and read it; if it is low, add oil. You can add oil to a hot engine but not when the engine is running.
Engine oil is an essential fluid in every automobile. It helps in making sure that the car moves smoothly.
You can add oil to a hot engine because there is no actual danger. However, be careful to avoid oil spillage since extremely hot oil is dangerous and can burn.
Hence, it is best to wait until the engine is warm to avoid extremely hot oil spillage dangers.
In addition, check the level of oil regularly since engines consume oil differently. Also, change your oil once in a while for effective engine operation.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.