How Long Can I Run My Car With Too Much Oil?

Engine oil is a vital fluid that lubricates a car’s engine moving parts. However, just as having the fluid in your engine is important, keeping the quantity of oil at the ideal level is crucial.

Running the engine on a low oil level can trigger overheating and eventually damage your car. In the same vein, having excessive oil in the engine also comes with its consequences.

Nevertheless, if you’re experiencing the latter and you’re contemplating, “How long can I run my car with too much oil?” The time frame has been revealed in this article, as well as how to fix the issue.

too much oil in car

How Long Can I Run My Car With Too Much Oil?

You can run your car with too much oil for 6 – 7 days or 1,000 miles before experiencing any major negative symptoms. However, the time frame may differ from one car to another and it also depends on the quantity of the overfilled oil.

While some vehicle models can attain 1,000 miles before showing any sign of engine problem, others may fail to that extent. Driving with overfilled oil in your car’s engine is not ideal, as you may be exposing the engine to costly damage.

Typically, the cost of removing the excess oil is far lesser than the expenses you would incur to restore an engine failure problem. In other words, prevention is way cheaper than cure.

Therefore, if you notice that you’ve mistakenly filled too much oil into your car’s engine, drain the oil as soon as possible before attempting to go on a trip. However, if it is a case of emergency, you should quickly make the trip and fix the issue once you return.

Sometimes, specific occurrences may not appear like a problem instantly; but they can be costly to restore in the long run.

While running your engine for a few days with too much oil is possible, the after-effect can be problematic in the long run. That’s why you should have a clue of how much is too much oil in a car.

Before we consider how to fix the problem, it is vital to know the causes of excess oil in the engine, and the problems associated with driving with overfilled oil.

Problems of Driving With Overfilled Oil

Driving with too much oil in a car comes with a series of problems that can manifest simultaneously until the engine is ultimately damaged.

To avoid the worst from happening, it is essential to acquaint yourself with the following problems of having excessive oil in your engine.

Pressure on the crankshaft

Typically, normal pressure on a vehicle’s crankshaft would prevent oil leakage. So, when the oil level is too high, it puts high pressure on the crankshaft, resulting in oil leaks.

Also, if the pressure causes the oil leaks on the crankshaft flywheel end, it will be expensive to fix as it requires dropping the engine or the transmission before replacing the seal.

Friction on the crankshaft

Typically, oil is supposed to lubricate your vehicle’s engine moving parts. Unfortunately, too much engine oil will reverse this operation, causing friction on the crankshaft due to poor lubrication. This can quickly damage your vehicle’s crankshaft before you know it.

Spark plug fouling

Too much oil in the engine can as well flood your car’s spark plug well. When this happens, you will start experiencing engine misfires, acceleration defects, rough idling, and other related abnormalities.

Therefore, you may have no choice but to replace the spark plugs besides fixing the overfilled oil issue.

Quick engine wear and damage

Again, if the oil pressure level is abnormal due to excessive oil in the engine, it will be tough for the engine components to be adequately lubricated. This will make the components wear out faster than expected.

Causes of Too Much Oil in Car

Too much oil in a car can be traceable to different causes, including personal mistakes. Nevertheless, let’s see some of the common causes below.

Exceeding the max mark when topping off oil

Engine oil requires regular refilling to keep the vehicle running without overheating. 

However, if you need to be more careful when topping off the fluid, there’s a tendency to fill up the crankcase beyond the recommended maximum level, thereby having excess oil.

Mistake during an oil change

Usually, there’s a deception to overfill your engine with lubricant during an oil change because of the mentality that you’ve just emptied the old fluid.

So, putting too much oil in a car could result from the owner’s mistake or the mistake of an auto mechanic during an oil change.

Incomplete oil drain

Remember that an oil change requires a complete draining of the old fluid to refill with fresh engine oil.

Unfortunately, sometimes, it is easy to assume that you’ve completely drained the old fluid while there’s still some leftover. If you refill the engine with oil in this condition with the required quarts, you’ll most likely overfill the engine oil. This explains why it is necessary to always gauge the engine oil after every oil change, whether you know and use the recommended quarts or not.

How to Remove Too Much Motor Oil

Draining the excess oil is the remedy for too much motor oil in your vehicle’s engine. If you’re facing a similar challenge, the following step-by-step guide will help you remove the fluid.

Step 1: Turn off the car, open the hood, and jack it up

Firstly, ensure to turn off your car. Once you turn off the engine, give it a few minutes to cool down to avoid burning your hands as you work.

After that, open the hood. Then, carefully jack the front of the car up and hold it in place with solid jack stands.

Step 2: Unscrew the drain plug and remove the oil

Get under the car and place a pan or bucket under the drain plug hole before opening the plug.

Once you have the bucket underneath, carefully unscrew the drain plug and allow the excess oil to flow out into the bucket.

Draining too much engine oil

Step 3: Screw the drain plug back on

Once you’re sure that you’ve removed the quantity of oil you overfilled the engine with, gently screw the drain plug back on. Ensure that the drain plug sits properly to avoid any leaks.

Step 4: Start the car

Now you can start the car, allow it to run for about 3 minutes, and turn off the engine after that. You may have to wait another 2 to 5 minutes once the car is off to allow the engine to cool down.

Then, you can check the oil level to ascertain whether it is currently at an ideal level. Also, you can turn the excess oil into a container and keep it safe in case you have to use it some other time.


Too much oil in a vehicle’s engine is not better than no oil in the engine. You must do everything possible to avoid both sides of the pendulum.

However, if you are already a victim of overfilling your car’s engine with excess oil and you are asking, “How long can I run my car with too much oil?” This article has unveiled the possible time frame.

Nevertheless, do not hesitate to fix the issue as soon as you notice, no matter the available time of grace. All you need to drain overfilled oil in a car has been drafted in this post.


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.

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