Can You Put Oil in Your Car While the Engine Is Hot?

Can You Put Oil in Your Car While the Engine Is Hot

While most people know that you should never add water to your car’s radiator while the engine is hot, many are unsure if it’s okay to put oil in while the engine is still warm. The simple answer is yes, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. If done correctly, adding oil while the engine is still warm won’t hurt anything and can save yourself time when changing your oil for routine maintenance.

Maintaining your vehicle properly will help ensure that it runs smoothly for years and years without trouble. If you’re not sure how often to change your car’s oil or what type of oil works best with different types of engines, consider consulting an auto mechanic before attempting this job on your own. They will be able to walk you through the process and ensure that your vehicle is running its best.

Oil changes are one of the most important maintenance procedures for your car’s engine.  Once you find out how to properly change your oil, it is also important that you know how to properly put fresh oil into a hot or warm engine. This can be done by simply following these steps:

Step 1 – Warm Your Engine Up

Driving your car around for 15 minutes will get the engine good and warm, but not hot like it would be if you were driving for an extended period of time. If possible, park in an area where you’re free to move about the vehicle without having to step in front of moving cars. The  last thing you want to do is get hit by an impatient driver who doesn’t understand why you’re in the middle of the road.

Step 2 – Remove Your Oil Fill Cap (Where It Says “Oil”)

Most cars require that you remove this cap before checking your oil level, so be sure you don’t confuse it for another cap if there’s one on top of your engine. If you can’t read what type of oil your vehicle requires, consult the owner’s manual or look up your vehicle specifications online. Keep in mind that older model vehicles may require the same type of oil at different levels than more modern ones.

Step 3 – Position Your Container Underneath The Engine

If possible, position it about halfway under the engine. This is where the majority of the oil will drip down, so placing it too far under or overworking your container could result in a huge mess. Give yourself enough space for other tools and rags to work with as well. If you use an old coffee can or something similar to catch the oil, be sure to place paper towels underneath first so that it doesn’t leak through and stain your garage floor.

Step 4 – Locate The Drain Plug On Your Oil Pan

It should be about halfway between the top and bottom of your engine on the left side (when looking from behind) and should have a small arrow pointing down at it.

Step 5 – Loosen The Clamp And Remove The Plug Gently

Slowly turn the plug counterclockwise and make sure it’s completely loose before attempting to remove it. If the oil is hot, use some caution not to burn yourself on the metal.

Step 6 – Let The Oil Drain Out And Clean Up Any Drips

Allow the oil to drain out of your vehicle for about 5-10 minutes or until no more drips come out. Use paper towels or rags to clean up any messes that may have been made while removing the plug and replacing it gently when you’re finished. You don’t want to lose any parts of this process so take care not to force anything if it seems stuck or doesn’t move easily.

Step 7 – Add New Oil Gently Through The Fill Hole & Replace Plug Once Finished

Once you’re sure that all of the oil has drained out, it’s time to replace your plug and add new oil. Add about 3-4 quarts before replacing the clamp on your new oil pan. Gently turn it clockwise until you can’t twist it anymore and then give it around one more quarter turn if possible without breaking anything or applying too much force.

Step 8 – Warm Your Engine Up Again For A Few Minutes To Let The Oil Settle

Driving your car for a few minutes should let any extra air bubbles rise up and help ensure that no fluid is left behind in the engine. If you’re not finished with other maintenance such as changing your windshield wipers, this would be a good time to take care of that as well.

Step 9 – Take Your Vehicle For A Test Drive & Check The Oil Again Once Back In Your Garage

The oil should be about halfway between your “FULL” and “LOW” marks on your dipstick (most vehicles) but always double check the owner’s manual to make sure you’re checking it in the correct spot. If it’s still not at this level after driving for a few minutes, add more oil until it reaches the appropriate levels. You can also let your engine idle for another 10-15 minutes before shutting it off again to get accurate readings without adding too much oil.

Step 10 – Clean Up And Wrap Up

Wipe down any areas where there may have been spills using paper towels or rags and then cover the end of your funnel with a new coffee filter or something that will strain out any debris. Place this over top of your container to prevent clogs and then dispose of it with your oil change. If you’re finished, congratulations on doing your first oil change properly.


Following these steps will ensure that you do not put oil in your car while the engine is hot. Even if it does not seem difficult, putting oil in a hot engine can result in serious burns or damage to other parts of your engine. The next time you are having an oil change done, make sure that they follow the correct procedures and ask them questions if anything doesn’t sound right.

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