overfilling engine oil

Overfilling Engine Oil: Will it damage my engine?

In Engine Oil by Josh S2 Comments

overfilling engine oilThe oil level warning light pops up on your cluster when you are out and driving. You stop your vehicle and fill your engine with 2 litres, you check your dipstick and realise that the level is far over the MAX mark.

Will it hurt your engine and is it hard to get the oil out?

In this article, you will learn what will happen if you are overfilling engine oil and learn what signs to look for.

Routine oil change is a part of car maintenance and it should be done after every six months or 5,000 miles. Oil change is a fairly simple process and could be done at home as well, however, a small mistake can prove to be fatal for your car and could cost you hundreds of dollars. We are talking about overfilling the engine oil which can severely damage your car’s health but we are here to explain to you how to tackle the situation.

Overfilling your engine oil can cause serious damages to your engine. Some common symptoms are oil leaks from the engine and blue smoke from the exhaust pipe. You should always check your dipstick and make sure that you are not filling over the “MAX” sign. Overfilling can also cause damages to your internal parts in the engine with an engine replacement as result.


Recommended Amount of Oil for your Engine

Most of the engines require 5 to 8 quarts of oil but it varies depending on the size of the engine. For example, a 4-cylinder unit will require 5 quarts of oil whereas a larger 6-cylinder engine may need approximately 6 quarts of oil. You can also find more information about your engine’s oil capacity in the owner’s manual. Always be careful that you fill the right amount.


What Happens if you Overfill the Engine Oil?

The engine oil reserve is designed to hold some extra oil to compensate for the fluid expansion which happens due to the warm condition. Adding extra half a quart will not damage your engine, however, anything more than that could be harmful to the engine.

When you add too much oil, the excess oil will go towards the crankshaft and as the crankshaft rotates at a high-speed, the oil is mixed with the air and ‘aerates’ or becomes foamy. This foamy texture of the oil acts as a bad lubricant and as a result, the oil is not pumped effectively. Over the time, the engine will starve for proper lubrication and due to the ineffective oil pump, it can get locked up.


Overfilled engine oil Symptoms

Sometimes you do not really know if you or the mechanic have overfilled your engine oil. But if you have some of these symptoms, there might be a risk that your engine oil is overfilled.

  • Oil leakage
  • Burning smell of engine oil
  • Signs of smoke from the engine bay
  • Signs of smoke from the exhaust area
  • Engine making too much noise


Checking for Overfill

If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, it is likely that there is too much engine oil in the reserve and steps should be taken to fix the problem. To ensure that there is excess oil, stop your car somewhere safe and shut off the engine. Open the hood and check the dipstick oil level to see the oil stain. Most probably it will be above the top marking indicating that excess oil is present.


Removing Excess Oil

Now that you are sure that the engine is filled with extra oil, it is time to drain the excess oil. There are two ways to do this: the first method is easy and less messy. It requires an oil suction pump through which you pull the oil from either the cap access point or the dipstick tube. This method does not require you to raise your car but will need an air supply for the vacuum. You can use both a manual vacuum pump or an automatic. If you want a manual tool for these tasks, and good for several other things. Check out the: Vacuum Fluid Extractor Pump Tank Remover Link to Amazon

The second method is a traditional one and can be messy as well. The tools required are a drive socket wrench and a plastic oil pan. Raise your car to some height then crawl underneath and locate the plug. Place the plastic oil pan beneath the oil plug and loosen the plug until the oil begins to drip. Make sure you don’t loosen the plug too much and remove only a certain amount. Check again with the dipstick to ensure the oil is of right amount.

Note: Some vehicles do have a cover under the vehicle that has to be removed before you can reach the oil plug.


Post Maintenance Tips

Now that you know how important it is to keep the engine oil at its optimal level, make sure to double check every time you take your car for the routine oil change. The recommended oil change schedule and the amount of oil your car engine need is mentioned in the owner’s manual. Sometimes if you had your car at a bad workshop, they might only fill the amount of oil from the information they got from their computer. Because of that, even a mechanic can make a mistake and forgot to check the oil level after a service. That’s why you should always double check after you or your mechanic have filled oil in your engine.



  • Overfilling your engine oil can hurt your engine and damage a lot of parts in your engine.
  • Be careful when you are filling your engine oil that you got the right amount of oil.
  • Always double check, even after your car have been in a workshop. They can make mistakes also
  • If you have some of the symptoms above, double check your oil dipstick


If you have any other questions about overfilling your engine oil, comment down below. If you have any other car questions you are welcome to ask us at our homepage.

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  1. i got my 1985 v8 rv servised oil was over filled. drove 800 hundred km never noticed any problems should i worry.

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