Too Much Oil In Your Car? Here’s What Happens

Every car engine needs oil to work properly, and it is essential to replace your oil regularly. However, while you need enough oil to lubricate your engine, adding too much oil can actually damage your engine and cause wear and tear. 

In this article, I will explain what happens when you add too much oil, how to spot signs of excessive oil, and what to do if you added too much oil. Let’s get into it!

What Happens If Your Car Has Too Much Oil

Engines have fast-moving metal parts, and oil is necessary to lubricate those parts. Proper lubrication reduces wear and tear, prolongs the lifespan of your engine, and ensures your car can keep running smoothly. 

However, too much oil actually has the opposite effect. When you add oil to your car, it will sit in the oil pan until you turn on the engine, at which point the oil pump takes the oil out of the pan and passes it through an oil filter. 

That oil filter removes contaminants from the oil so it can properly lubricate the engine. Once it passes through the filter, it circulates throughout the engine. 

Here’s where it gets interesting: The crankshaft is right above the oil pan. When there is too much oil in the oil pan, the crankshaft can come into contact with the oil.

When that happens, the crankshaft will wipe the oil into a foamy substance. The crankshaft rotates very quickly when the engine is running. 

Its purpose is not to whip up the oil, but that’s exactly what will happen if you add too much oil. Foamy oil, with a lot of air in it, will cause several problems. 

#1 Improper Lubrication

Regular oil helps lubricate the engine, but foamy oil doesn’t do a very good job at lubrication. It’s just too thin, and there’s too much air in it. The oil becomes frothy and bubbly, like whipped eggs or whipped cream. 

When there isn’t enough lubrication, your engine parts can rub against each other and wear out quicker. As a result, the engine may make loud noises or stop working correctly. 

Since frothy oil doesn’t flow well through the engine parts, the engine may end up overheating. That can happen due to excessive friction, which engine parts rubbing against each other can cause. 

An overheating engine is a problem, as it can lead to engine failure if you don’t address the problem causing the overheating. Also, too much heat in the engine can cause engine parts to melt. 

If that happens, you will have to replace your engine. 

#2 Leaks 

Adding too much oil can cause the oil to start leaking out of your car. The more air there is in the oil, and the more oil you add, the more pressure the oil will put on gaskets and seals. 

That includes the seals on the head and tail of the crankshaft. 

What happens when there is too much pressure? The gaskets and seals may not be able to withstand that pressure, leading to leaks. 

Some seals are difficult to replace, so it is best to avoid adding too much oil to your car in the first place. 

#3 Spark Plugs Not Working

The spark plugs need to be able to receive high voltage pulses to start a spark. In turn, this spark creates the ignition for the combustion needed to start your car. 

If you add too much oil, it can eventually get to the spark plugs. If the oil covers the spark plugs, they may no longer receive the pulse or start a spark. 

If that happens, you may have difficulty starting your car. You may not be able to start your car altogether, and you may then have to replace the spark plugs. 

#4 Blue Smoke Coming From the Exhaust

An excessive amount of oil can lead to oil getting into the combustion chamber. When that happens, your car will burn oil together with fuel. 

That can lead to blue smoke coming out of your car. Not only is it bad for the environment, but it can smell pretty bad too, and it’s not good to breathe in. 

Signs of Excessive Oil In Your Car

Fortunately, there are ways to tell if you put too much oil in your car by accident. Here are some tell-tale signs that your vehicle has too much oil.

Sign #1 – You See or Smell Oil Leaking

You can usually see or smell oil if it is leaking out of your car. An oil leak doesn’t always mean you put too much oil in your vehicle, as various factors can cause a leak. 

However, it can be a sign of excessive oil. Whatever the cause of the leak is, you need to check it out. 

Sign #2 – Blue Smoke Is Coming From the Exhaust

As I explained before, too much oil can lead to blue smoke coming from the exhaust.

You may see that smoke, or you may smell burning oil!

Sign #3 – You Are Experiencing Issues With Starting Your Car or Stalling

If you are having difficulty starting your car, the spark plugs may be wet with oil. Alternatively, if your engine seems to be stalling or sputtering while driving, excessive oil may also be the culprit. 

That’s because an engine without proper lubrication can’t work correctly. 

Sign #4 – Weird Noises Are Coming From Your Engine

Without proper lubrication, engine parts can start banging against each other.

When your oil is bubbly, you may hear banging, rattling, clanking, or other weird noises coming from the engine

Sign #5 – You See a Warning Light or High Oil Pressure Gauge 

Many cars will have an oil pressure gauge or a warning light that will come on when there is a problem with the engine or oil. A warning light can mean several things, including too much oil in your car. 

If your car’s oil pressure gauge is too high, you may have put in too much oil. The indicator may also be confused and switch back and forth from full to empty. 

How to Deal With Too Much Oil In Your Car

If you catch the problem early, it is easy to fix. Remove the drain plug to drain out excess oil as if you were changing the oil. 

Alternatively, you can use a suction pump to drain the excess oil. 

However, if you catch the problem later on, you may need to take the car to a mechanic to fix it. You may have worn-out engine parts or oily spark plugs that need cleaning or replacement at such a late stage. 

You may also need to replace some seals. A professional mechanic can figure out what damage the excess oil has caused and fix it. 

How Much Oil Do You Really Need? 

It is best to check your car’s owner’s manual to see how much oil to add. If you can’t find the owner’s manual, you can usually find that information online. 

Usually, that amount will be between four and eight liters. The more cylinders your engine has, the more oil it will need. 

Always use the dipstick to check the oil amount. It should be below the “Full” mark. 

A small amount of excess oil won’t do much harm, as your car will burn it automatically. However, too much extra oil can lead to a wide range of problems. 

Conclusion

Adding too much oil is an easy mistake to make when you’re not paying attention, but it can do some severe damage in the long run. That is why it is important to add only as much oil as the car needs. 

If you did add too much oil, make sure to remove that excess oil immediately. If more severe damage occurred, take your car to the mechanic as soon as possible to minimize the damage. 

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Hi, I'm the founder of VehicleAnswers.com! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!