Can you add oil while engine is hot?

Ever wondered if it’s okay to add oil to a hot engine? We’ve got the answers!

Dive into our guide on ‘Can You Add Oil While Engine Is Hot?’ as we break down the basics, share crucial tips, and make engine care easy to understand.

Let’s keep your ride running smoothly!

What Happens If You Put Oil in a Hot Engine?

Nothing out of the ordinary will happen.

Adding oil to a hot engine is usually smooth sailing, as long as you’re careful not to spill.

From a technical standpoint, it’s possible to introduce fresh oil to a warm engine; however, it’s advisable to wait 20 to 30 minutes after shutting off the engine for a safer approach.

In fact, if you take your car to a repair or oil change shop, they might warm up the engine a bit before adding new oil.

An image illustrating whether you can add oil to a hot engine
A mechanic pouring fresh engine oil into a car Source: freepik

What constitutes a hot engine?

Combustion and friction in the engine result in very high temperatures in the combustion chamber.

However, thanks to the coolant and engine oil, which disperses the heat throughout all other engine components and out of the engine.

How hot does a car engine get?

If all is well and coolant and oil are doing their job, the temperature ranges from 190-220 degrees Fahrenheit (88-104 degrees Celsius).

These temperatures are hot enough to burn your skin and potentially lead to other issues.

Why is engine oil important?

Your engine needs oil to run well and last longer, thus engine oil keeps things smooth and efficient in your engine.


Think of oil as your engine’s superhero – it keeps everything inside moving smoothly.

From pistons to valves, oil is like a protective layer that stops parts from rubbing against each other, making sure everything works well.

Oil makes sure parts in your engine last longer and work their best by reducing friction.

This not only keeps things running smoothly but also helps your engine be more powerful and use fuel more efficiently.

2. Cooling

Engine oil circulates through the engine, absorbing and distributing heat away from critical components, thus maintaining optimal operating temperatures.

The oil also cools those parts with its lubrication properties – for instance, a bearing would start melting if not lubricated.

Engine oil has detergents and dispersants which aid in the suspension and removal of contaminants, thereby preventing them from forming harmful deposits.

Also, the engine oil has special anti-corrosive additives that act to prevent rust and corrosion, further extending the engine’s lifespan.

3. Cleaning

When the engine’s insides rub together, they make tiny metal bits, and the burning process creates leftovers that might build up in the engine.

Even if the air filter grabs most dirt, some still get in. No worries, though—engine oil steps in to tidy up the mess.

A photo illustrating whether one can add oil to a hot engine
A technician adding engine oil to a car

Why adding oil to a hot engine can cause problems?

1. Poor Drainage

As you drive, a special pump moves oil around the engine, soaking up heat in a specific path.

When you turn off the car, the pump stops, and the oil goes back to a container, like a resting place called an oil sump.

Most of the engine oil flows back to the pump within two minutes of turning the engine off.

The remaining close to 5% returns into the oil sump within 15 minutes of turning the engine off.

If oil is added without prior removal of degraded oil, there might be an issue with your engine later on.

In simple terms, it is always better to wait until the engine cools off a bit before adding oil.

2. Risk of Burns

Watch out for hot oil! In a running engine, the oil can get as hot as 200 Fahrenheit.

Be careful when opening the drain plug – you don’t want to get burned.

How to Reach the Right Temperature for Oil Change in Your Engine?

The engine should be warm, not too hot or cold. Get it warm by doing these:

  1. Start the engine and let it run for 5-10 mins.
  2. Turn it off and wait for about 6-7 minutes.
  3. Drain out the engine oil.


It’s generally okay to add oil when your car’s engine is warm, but it’s safer to wait a bit after it cools down.

Adding oil when it’s too hot can be risky, leading to burns or even causing smoke or a fire.

Remember to check your oil monthly, get regular oil changes, and always let the engine cool a bit before opening the hood. Keep things running smoothly and stay safe!


Leave a Comment