Is It Ok to Put Oil in a Hot Engine?

Your vehicle requires routine oil changes to run optimally. If your vehicle has signs of low oil, you also need to add oil so you don’t risk destroying your engine.

Therefore, if you want to add or change your oil, you may wonder if it’s okay to do so when the engine is still hot. Here’s the answer.

When You Need an Oil Change or to Add Oil

Your check engine or oil change light may come on if you have an issue with your oil. Your vehicle is basically telling you that your vehicle is at risk of damage because there isn’t enough lubrication between the engine components. 

Your automobile may make noises, such as a knocking or rumbling, to let you know there’s an issue with the oil level. The knocking is from the metal-on-metal rubbing against each other due to a lack of lubrication.

Normally, the oil lubricates the metal components, which keeps your engine quiet. 

As a general rule, you should change your oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Vehicles that use fully synthetic oil may be able to go 15,000 miles before needing an oil change.

Keep in mind that dirty oil can cause your engine to break down. It can also decrease your fuel efficiency and damage the engine parts. 

You may have an oil leak if you have an oil smell inside your vehicle’s cab. You can tell you have an oil leak if the vapor from your exhaust has changed to smoke. 

Changing the Oil When It’s Hot 

When it’s time to change your oil or you notice issues that signify an oil-related issue, you need to promptly address the issue to prevent potentially expensive engine damage.

However, you could experience serious burns if you change the engine oil when it’s still hot. If you’ve recently been running your vehicle, you may want to shut the vehicle down from 20 to 30 minutes and then change the oil. 

Adding Oil When The Engine Is Hot

If you’re not changing the oil and only are adding oil, you can do so when it’s hot without a problem. The cold oil will not harm your hot engine. 

If you’re measuring the oil first, you should let your vehicle cool off first, though. When the oil is hot, it expands. Therefore, you won’t get an accurate measurement if you’re checking it when your car is hot. 

Adding Oil When The Engine Is Warm 

Ideally, you should change the oil when your automobile is warm. Start your vehicle and allow it to run for a few minutes. After a few minutes, the oil is less viscous and will flow easier.

The oil will get hot enough, so the old oil doesn’t stick to the oil pan and other engine parts. Additionally, when the motor oil is only warm, you may change it without getting burnt. 

Adding Oil When The Engine Is Cold 

You may also opt to add oil when you have a cold engine. You won’t risk burning yourself if you’re changing the oil rather than just adding oil.

However, you’ll notice that the thickness of the oil will make it more difficult to drain the oil. 

Ideal Temperature to Add Oil 

As mentioned above, you can add oil when the engine is hot, warm, or cold. There are only minor differences. You should make sure that the engine isn’t extremely hot or extremely cold, though.

For instance, you shouldn’t change your oil if the temperatures are below the freezing point and your vehicle has sat for quite some time. In this case, you should turn your vehicle on and give your car’s engine time to warm up. 

How to Check Your Oil

For many vehicles, you should first turn on your vehicle and let it warm up a bit. Don’t let it get too hot, though, or you’ll risk not getting an accurate reading. 

With others, you should check the oil when you have a cold engine. 

Your user manual will let you know how you should go about checking your oil. 

Make sure you park your car on a flat surface to get the most accurate measurement. 

Firstly, have an old rag ready. Then, locate the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out and clean it off with the old rag. Next, you should insert the dipstick once again. Make sure you push it all the way down so you get the most accurate reading. 

Finally, pull the dipstick out and assess how much oil you have. The dipstick will have some sort of markers on it to let you know how much oil you should have.

For instance, the dipstick may have pinholes, or it could have “MIN” and “MAX” written on it. 

If you don’t have enough oil, you should proceed to add some so your vehicle’s engine receives enough lubrication to function safely. 

Besides checking the level, you should evaluate the oil quality as well. Oil should be either black or brown. Look for metal particles in it. If it has any, that could mean you have engine damage.

As you examine your oil, you should look for any milkiness. If the oil looks milky or is a cream color, you may have a head gasket leak. You may assess this problem by also checking the exhaust pipe. If it’s blowing white smoke, that’s an indication of a head gasket leak.

Additionally, you should check your coolant levels. If you notice your vehicle has problems, you’ll need to address them. An oil change won’t make a difference if you don’t service the rest of your vehicle.  

Check for dirt. Essentially, your oil should be relatively free from dirt and debris. Additionally, make sure you assess the thickness of the oil. If your oil is dark and very thick, you need to drain and replace it.

Dark oil alone is sometimes an indication you need to change your oil. However, if you have synthetic oil, the darkness might just be the type of oil.   

How to Properly Change Oil, No Matter the Temperature

You don’t want to change the oil when it’s too hot due to your risk of burn. You don’t want to change the oil when it’s too cold because you’ll have difficulty draining all the oil. Therefore, if you haven’t run your vehicle in a while, you should start it for a minute or two.

The oil will flow out more freely. 

Before changing the oil, park your car on a flat surface. Determine if you can slide under the front of your vehicle without jacking it up. If you can’t, you’ll need to use a jack with a jack stand and raise your car.

Place newspapers down first and then the drain pan. Remove the drain plug with a socket wrench and place the drain pan underneath. Once you let all the oil drain, put the drain plug back on. 

Keep the oil drain pan underneath the car and locate the oil filter. You should also change the oil filter now. You’ll need to loosen it using the filter wrench. It turns counterclockwise. Then, you may remove the filter.

Make sure you apply a tad bit of motor oil to the new gasket so it doesn’t stick or crack. Fortunately, you may tighten the oil filter by hand. 

Now that you have all the oil out of your vehicle and you have a new filter, you should now replace the oil with new. When you’re choosing what type of oil to put in your car, consult with your owner’s manual first.

It’ll provide a recommendation for what type of oil you should put in your vehicle. Often, your manual will advise you to use 5W-30 since it’s rather versatile, and you can usually use it year-round. 

As you choose which type of oil to use, you should keep in mind your location and the season. Generally, you want a higher viscosity during the summer and a lower one during the winter.

Never add oil that’s too thin for your vehicle, or you could risk damaging the engine. When oil is too thin, it won’t lubricate the internal components of the engine properly. 

In terms of synthetic versus traditional, newer cars tend to run better with synthetic than they do on a traditional.

Older cars, on the other hand, tend to run better with traditional than synthetic.