Engine Ran without Oil Now Knocking – Solutions

Engine maintenance is the most important aspect of caring for your car. Changing the oil and topping it off at the recommended intervals are critical habits you must cultivate, especially if it is your first car. A situation whereby a car’s engine ran without oil now knocking can completely damage the component and result in costly repairs.

That’s why it is important never to allow the occurrence in the first instance. Meanwhile, understanding the meaning of this occurrence will help you know the implication.

engine ran without oil now knocking

What Does It Mean If Your Engine Is Knocking?

A knocking engine means the presence of one or more malfunctions within the engine compartment. Typically, it reveals that the engine’s metal components suffer from a lack of proper lubrication due to no oil.

Lack of lubrication around a car’s engine upper cylinder head axis can trigger a knocking sound within the engine. This ticking sound is usually produced by lifters and valves not receiving sufficient oil supply.

The knocking sound sometimes may occur when a car’s air-fuel mixture ratio is not happening correctly, causing the fuel to burn randomly in uneven pockets instead of uniform bursts. This can cause severe damage to the vehicle’s cylinder wall and piston. It will also reduce engine horsepower.

However, an engine knocking sound is mainly a sign that the component is not running efficiently, especially due to a lack of lubrication caused by no oil in the system. This is a serious issue that must not be taken lightly; otherwise, you may be looking at costly engine damage.

Meanwhile, knowing the reasons for such an occurrence will help you prevent the problem from surfacing. Some of the causes of the problem are unveiled in the next section.

Reasons of Engine Ran without Oil Now Knocking

An engine knocking sound in a car is mostly traceable to running a car without oil. Some reasons for this occurrence include the following.

Low oil pressure

Low oil pressure is one of the common reasons for knocking sound in an engine. In addition,the low oil pressure starves vital engine components of proper lubrication due to the inability of the oil to reach narrow passages in the engine.

When this occurs, poor lubrication due to insufficient pressure will result in friction between metal parts in the engine. This can cause the crankshaft bearings to fail, thereby producing a tapping or knocking sound.

Low oil levels

A car running out of oil is another major cause of engine knocking. Usually, this occurrence is linked to oil leaks around the oil pan gasket, valve cover, front/rear crankshaft seals, etc. Due to leakage, you may notice smoke coming out of oil cap. In other words, topping off your engine oil will become abortive because of the leakage.

Running an engine without oil will hinder the engine parts from receiving sufficient lubrication. This will further lead to friction and trigger a loud engine tapping noise.

Oil pressure sensor failure

While low oil pressure could be a concern, an oil pressure sensor failure can also be an indirect cause of engine knocking problems. The sensor is susceptible to being clogged with sludge and contaminants over time.

When the oil pressure sensor suffers from too many clogs, the component may start giving false readings, which further triggers an inconsistent response in the oil pressure level. This can also result in poor engine components lubrication and a random knocking sound.

Faulty oil pump

Again, the oil pressure level can be at the mercy of a faulty oil pump failing to push sufficient oil for circulation across various engine parts.

The oil pump is built to push engine oil from the pan underneath the engine to circulate the same. Therefore, a defective oil pump will eventually be unable to perform its duty.

How to Tell If Engine Is Damaged from No Oil (Signs)

Engine damage from no oil comes with several symptoms. Most of the signs are easily noticeable. If you’re wondering what happens to an engine without oil, there are some signs to observe.

  • Illumination of oil pressure warning light
  • Oil puddles from engine oil leaks
  • Grinding or knocking noise from the engine
  • Poor engine performance
  • Engine overheating

How Do You Fix a Knocking Engine?

If you’re experiencing a knocking sound from your car’s engine due to poor lubrication of engine components, ensure to follow the recommendations below to fix the problem as soon as possible.

Change the oil and filter

Firstly, if you’re battling a knocking engine problem, verify if the oil in your car is still okay or due for a change. If the oil requires a replacement, immediately change it alongside the oil filter. Meanwhile, don’t forget to use the recommended oil for your car and cool your car before adding oil.

Repair oil leakage

If you spotted a leakage around your car’s oil pan gasket, valve seals, etc., contact an expert auto mechanic to rectify the leaks immediately. After that, top off the engine oil to the recommended level immediately.

Replace faulty oil pump

After a thorough diagnosis, kindly replace the component ASAP if you discover that a faulty oil pump is responsible for the low oil pressure causing your engine components to suffer from poor lubrication.

Replace faulty oil pressure sensor

Finally, if a faulty oil pressure sensor happens to cause the engine knocking sound, don’t hesitate to replace the component. Meanwhile, kindly consult a professional auto technician to fix these problems to avoid severe engine knock damage.


Will adding oil stop engine knocking?

Sure! If lack of lubrication is responsible for your car’s engine knocking, adding oil will eventually resolve the knocking. However, this will most likely proffer a temporal solution to the issue until you fix the actual cause of the problem.

engine oil change

Usually, oil leaks happen to be the main reason for low oil levels, which further leads to poor lubrication. So, if this is the case, the knocking sound may return after a while due to the oil leaks until you fix the problem.

How long will a knocking engine last?

A knocking engine is like a “time bomb” waiting to explode. However, it may last within a very short time to around 6 months, as the case may be. Irrespective of trying to manage the problem, a knocking engine can suddenly break down the next time you turn it on.

Therefore, ensure to fix the problem if you’re currently experiencing this challenge in your car. Engine knocking problem can result in costly engine damage if you fail to fix it as soon as possible.

What does a low oil knock sound like?

A low oil knock sounds like a tapping or ticking noise. This can be detrimental to the engine if not checked. The engine is designed to run efficiently with proper lubrication from the engine oil.

Therefore, if the component lacks sufficient lubrication due to a low oil level, probably caused by oil leaks, it will trigger a ticking sound. So, ensure to take note of oil leaks and fix them immediately you spot any symptoms.

How much is it to fix engine knocking?

The estimated cost of fixing a knocking engine ranges between $2,000 and $3,000, depending on the parts required to repair the fault. However, fixing the problem can be relatively more expensive if the number of faulty components are more.

Nevertheless, ensure to contact an expert auto technician to inspect and diagnose the actual cause of the engine knocking noise before drafting a budget.

How long can an engine run without oil before damage?

An engine can only survive without oil for around 30 minutes or less, depending on the car’s age. Thus, a vehicle’s engine was built to work with the engine oil, which provides lubrication for the moving metal components.

In other words, running your car without engine oil will starve the engine’s components of proper lubrication, which can trigger costly damage within 30 minutes or less. Therefore, you should do everything possible to avoid this occurrence.


For a car owner, regular engine maintenance is assurance of reliability on the road, but imagine the nerve-racking noises of an engine knocking after running without oil. It is a sound that cuts through the wind and buzz of the bay like a ticking time bomb. Despite nothing being amiss on the surface, like a single hair out of place, the role of engine oil is pivotal. In the case of a Sorento, for instance, the absence of this crucial oil treatment can lead to disastrous noise and wear. The assistant at the maintenance shop now has the sense of urgency to rectify the oversight and save what’s left of the engine.

Do not overlook the situation if your car’s engine ran without oil now knocking. It can degenerate into severe, costly engine damage.

Therefore, ensure to check your car regularly for any sign of engine oil shortage. If you spot any leaks or malfunctioning components, kindly fix them as soon as possible to avoid further damage.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

Recent Posts