Overfilling Engine Oil

Overfilling Engine Oil: Will it damage my Engine & What to do?

In Engine Oil by 25 Comments

Your engine oil light appears on your dashboard when you are on the way to an important meeting.

You purchase 2 liters of engine oil and pour all of it into your engine. You check your dipstick and realize that you have overfilled the oil above the MAX sign on the dipstick.

What to do now? Will it damage my engine if I keep driving with the level over the max?

In this article, you will learn what will happen if you overfill the engine oil and learn what to do about it.

Dangers of Overfilling the Engine Oil

Overfilling Engine Oil

Overfilling your engine oil can cause serious damage to your engine. There is no need for action if the engine oil level is slightly above the max-level. But if you have filled it 0.3″ or more above the sign, it can cause severe damage to your engine.

The engine oil reserve is designed to hold some extra oil to compensate for the fluid expansion due to hot conditions. Adding an extra half a quart will not damage your engine. However, anything more than that could be harmful to the engine.

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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 like a bad lubricant, and as a result, the oil is not pumped effectively. Over time, the engine will be starved of proper lubrication, and due to the weak oil pump, it can get locked up.

Causes of too much engine oil

Check Engine Oil

If you noticed that your engine oil is above the max-sign on the dipstick even if you are very sure that you did not overfill the engine oil, there are one big reason for this.

If you are only driving short distances, the fuel in the combustion chamber will slowly fill up the engine oil pan with fuel and therefore increase the oil level.

When you drive long distances and the engine becomes really hot, this fuel will evaporate out from the engine oil. This can be solved by taking your car out for a long drive.

If it is very much above the max-sign, I do recommend an oil change instead.

Symptoms of Overfilled Engine Oil

Sometimes you do not 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
  • A burning smell of engine oil
  • Signs of smoke from the engine bay
  • Signs of smoke from the exhaust area
  • Engine making too much noise
  • Engine Oil Pressure Light on Dashboard
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How to remove excess engine Oil

Drain Engine Oil

Now that you know 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 you 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, which is also 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 correct amount of oil.

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

How much Engine Oil should I fill in my car?

Most engines require 3 to 8 quarts of oil, but it varies depending on the engine’s size. For example, a 4-cylinder unit will require 3 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 in the right amount.

25 thoughts on “ Overfilling Engine Oil: Will it damage my Engine & What to do? ”

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

    1. thanks alot this tip has helped me solve the same peoblem

    2. I had vehicle serviced & drove home about 60 miles. Later that day I was needing to go somewhere when I noticed lots of smoke.
      We checked it & it’s over like an 1” on the dip stick. When my friend drains it there’s 10qts & appears they just added oil to the old.
      Is there a good chance I’ll have issues now?

    1. I have a 99 chevy silverado 1500 5.3 I overfilled it with oil due to my gauage showing 0 what damage could I’ve caused to my truck

      1. I have a 2007 Ford mustang. I took it to a mechanic and it was overfilled with oil. It started driving weird and kinda seized up. My son checked and said the crank shaft had been effected but he changed out the balancer thing… Not the crank shaft. I also noticed that when shifting gears, it is delayed… It doesn’t jerk but will take a while to actually engage the shifting. Could it be correlated?

  2. I over filled engine oil never notice untill started to make a noise and vibrate

    1. Author

      It all depends on how much you overfilled it with. However if it does make noise and vibrate there is a risk that any internal of the engine got damaged.

      You have to drain the oil again and fill it with the required amount and check if the noise is gone. If it still occur, I would recommend you let a mechanic listen to the engine before driving it, which could cause even more damages.

      1. I have a Citroen 1.9 diesel , I put 5 litre of oil in my engine, I drove it a short way 100m maybe tons of smoke came out so stopped removed keys engine kept on running , then stopped altogether, now it won’t start is it completely broken ? Z

      1. I realised that excess engine oil poured into the engine of my car after driving of 40 km.

        In between the car was stopped several times first time after running of 15 km.
        2nd time stopped the car after running of next 15km.
        Then stopped after running of 7 km, then after 5km
        Then every km.and I stopped the car.
        After a great deal of thinking I could realised that excess engine oil poured into my car by the service station.
        After that I communicated with the mechanic about the matter.
        But the mechanic replied that excess engine oil is not the reason of stopping of engine, and it will not cause any problems in car.

        But I did not believe his reply.

        I drained the excess quantam of engine oil.

        The problem is now improved but sometimes my said car stops while the car start after in the middle of running (when the engine is being running) to maintain traffic.
        On that time I feel that the engine is not getting fuel,
        I changed the fuel filter also. But nothing changes

        Kindly help by giving me what types of repairs can be done to running smoothly.

  3. I want to add a pint of STP oil treatment to my engine but I just had oil changed and not sure if that would overfill engine. I have a 2012 Lincoln MKZ with only 54000 miles on it.

    1. at only 54000 miles i would certainly not bother with STP as long as you used the recommended oil for your car it’s fine.

  4. I own a 2015 Mazda 6 Sport. I accidentally overfilled it with about 2 1/2 quarts of oil.
    I knew it was not good. I decided to drive 20 miles to my mechanic and on the way while on tbe freeway my sputtered a bit and made clanging noise. I noticed a cloud of white smoke. I pulled over and called AAA.
    While on the phone I decided to see if engine started. To my surprise it started with no problem or noise.
    I made it to my .echanice and hedrained my oil and added new oil.
    Car ran great on my route back. I had make anotber trip a little later and wbilemaming a right turn onto a slight grade my car once again sputtered and let out a cloud of white smoke. But it once again continued to run great afterwards.
    Is there a chance my engine can have damage?

  5. I drove my Mazda 6 20 miles after accidentally overfilling with 2 1/2 quarts of oil over limit.
    It sputtered and blew a cloud of white smoke . I pulled over and restarted engine with no problem. My mechanic drained the oil and replaced filter and it ran great. Noights came on but do I still have worry about engine damage?

  6. I noticed that the newer Volvos have eliminated the oil dipstick. With so much at stake for overfilling, why would the engineers get rid of this “analog” measurement? How did they replace its function?

    1. 2004 acura tl 185000 miles…Oil leak since last oil change…thot it was power steering pump but wasnt…yesterday dip stick registered a drop at tip…?? Been driving for days….bought oil refilled 5 quarts and overfilled by a pint +- . Running great…but oil constanstly on passenger side engine block from front of engine…reset oil life display….should i be ok. Thanks.

  7. Idk if I messed up My 2012 Chevy traverse to where I can’t save it to getting worse 😭 is there a way I can figure this out or if I still can save My engine or any other important parts that may have Got ruined. I pulled out of my drive way onto the Street to the corner which I would say is 3 house down max turned around real quick because it started smelling and smoking under and Behind my car. Is my car done? What can I do without spending every dime to fix it.

  8. Hello , yesterday a friend changed my oil for me since my husband has passed . He drained my transmission oil by mistake . He poured the new oil into the car in the proper place 5 qts. So double the amount . He let the car idol for about 5 min. because he could not put it in reverse ….no trans.oil. I figured out what was wrong and we put transmission oil back in and drained the motor oil out changed the filter and replaced the engine oil again. There is now blue smoke coming from my exaust pipe which never was before . I love this car 1998 4runner ! What should I do ? Car starts right up and has only been driven around the block ?

  9. I went to a certified Mercedes Benz dealership to get my oil changed. It was to much oil put in my car. I drive my car for two days before my oil light came. I took I back to the dealership that Following Monday was told it was to much oil in my car. I drove my car for over a week and the light came back on. They told me it was to much oil and that they didn’t drain the tight amount of oil out. Now I need a new engine in my car as a result. But the dealership trying to say it was because I didn’t get an oil change on time. So will riding for about a month with to much oil in it result to you needing a new engine?

  10. I have Suzuki Works Turbo 660 cc model 2015 with 40,000 km running. Will you recommend Amsoil W0-20 Signature series in a climate of 40degree Celsius.

  11. My 97 Toyota t100 was overfilled with oil and was smoking very bad from the exhaust. I drained the oil and refilled with the right amount but now it’s still smoking and the transmission seems to not be working normally. The engine itself is running fine and is not smoking at all. Any idea what could be going on? Also, should I let my truck run and burn the oil that’s in the exhaust?

  12. I just had my first oil changed,and my car is 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Ex 1.5 Turbo. I brought 4 quarts of oil and the mechanic just poured it all,but my engine oil capacity is just 3.7 quarts. Will it do harmed to my engine? Is it too much or just be fine?…Thankful to your answer Sir!

  13. Sugar was poured in my oil tank. the car gave a sign and I stopped after 5 km. The oil was drained by the mechanic, When he replaced the oil he overfilled it. The oil was drained the following day after 96km There is oil coming out from the exhaust. it consumes a lot of petrol. When I start the engine in the morning there is some funny knock or noise from the engine. Does this mean something is not right. What must I do.

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