How Long to Let Engine Cool Before Adding Oil? [Answered]

Published: 09/14/22 •  6 min read

Ensuring your vehicle’s engine is oiled correctly is an easy job that shouldn’t be ignored.

Cars with low oil levels must be lubricated more frequently to perform better.

For this, lots of drivers store additional oil in their trunks. The engine’s heat can burn when you fill it up between trips.

Before adding oil to the vehicle, you might need to wait 20-30 minutes to allow the engine to cool down. 

Wait For the Engine to Cool Before Adding Oil

If you are worried about the engine, wait. It’s okay to add oil to your car before waiting to let it cool. The car’s motor is not the only thing to consider.

However, it’s best to wait for your engine’s temperature to drop before adding oil.

Cooling down the engine allows the oil inside it to settle. When the oil temperature gets too high, it becomes more volatile, which means it moves faster.

This texture could indicate that the oil could be splashed onto your dipstick, resulting in an inaccurate reading.

Hence, allowing your car to sit for a couple of minutes before adding oil is essential.

Another thing to remember is that if the engine and oil engine are extremely hot, you could get burned during the process.

Apart from being hot with the engine, components of the engine underneath the hood will likely be piping hot too. If any area of your skin comes in contact with an engine part, you could be burned.

So, WHEELSCRIBE recommends waiting until the engine cools before adding the oil.

This isn’t because it could harm the engine, because that’s not the case. It’s typically to protect you from harm and provide the dipstick to be more precise.

How Long to Let Engine Cool Before Adding Oil?

If you’re just filling the tank with oil, you can already have it filled without waiting to cool down. If you are changing the oil, you should allow it to cool down to a minimum of 30 minutes.

The addition of oil and the change of oil are two distinct processes. Therefore, you will have two ways to change it.

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Because you will be changing the oil in the process, it will be beneficial to cool the engine for approximately 30 minutes. So, the engine won’t get hot enough before you begin draining it.

Additionally, it will let your engine components be cooled down. In turn, it will be much more manageable, and you will be less likely to get burnt from the temperatures.

If your car is not returning from a long drive and you want to start it up, you should fire it up for 3 to 5 minutes. This will heat the oil in your car to about 100 degrees.

The engine’s temperature will cause the oil to flow more quickly and result in a faster draining process. This will allow more oil to be drained instead of doing it with cold engines.

How to Check If the Engine Is Cool Enough before Adding Oil?

Although you cannot be 100% certain, use it as an indication to keep the oil for 30 minutes until you change or add oil.

Many manufacturers suggest testing the oil when the motor is not running. This will give you the most precise reading, especially when using the dipstick.

When you do this, the oil and engine will become sufficiently cool to handle, and the oil will remain sufficiently hot to allow it to flow freely.

Another thing to consider is to park your vehicle on a level surface while adding oil. So, you will know what amount to add, and you will be able to get an exact amount afterward.

Things to Remember While Adding Motor Oil to Your Vehicle

There are some things to remember when applying motor oil to your car. 

  1. Ensure that the amount of oil is safe. It is recommended to apply a small amount of oil at each period. After adding a small amount, drive the car for about one minute to allow the oil to get to the top of your dipstick. Finally, be sure to wash the dipstick each time you add it.
  2. WHEELSCRIBE recommends not to apply oil to the engine when it is warm. Be aware that overfilling the engine can lead to low oil flow. So, take your time and follow the user instructions of the manufacturer. When you are adding engine oil, allow the engine to cool. Take out the dipstick (bright-colored plastic rings) and wash it thoroughly.
  3. Ensure that the engine isn’t overheated. It could cause damage to your vehicle if you fail to follow the guidelines.

Can Oil Be Added to a Hot Engine?

Although it could seem contradictory, adding oil to a hot engine is not detrimental. It takes a while before the oil temperature cools because it absorbs heat much more slowly than water.

If you’re not sure it will be cool, it is best to wait a few moments before adding the oil.

When the car engine is cool, you can check whether the oil level is adequate by using the dipstick. If it is low, you must wait until the engine cools before adding the oil.

The temperature of the engine affects the viscosity of the oil. The viscosity of oil decreases as the engine heats up. This makes it difficult to gauge the oil level.

However, when it is cold, it will get thicker. The temperature of your engine can impact how oil expands and contract.

Synthetic oils are more likely to expand during hot weather and shrink when cold.

The issue of adding oil to a hot engine is that it can cause the oil to leak and cause you to burn.

Although it is okay to add oil to a hot engine, it’s advised that you wait until the engine cools before adding any oil. This can prevent a hazardous situation where the oil splashes all over.

If you don’t, and you do, you could end up having the possibility of a fire.

What Happens If You Put Oil in a Hot Engine?

In general, nothing bad can happen to your engine when you apply hot oil. But, it is better to allow it to cool before determining the oil level.

This is because hot oil expands, giving it a flowing texture. If you try to read heated oil, it could be splattered across the dipstick, resulting in an incorrect reading.

WHEELSCRIBE recommends allowing it to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes. This allows the oil in your car to settle, resulting in better reading results.

Final Words

Adding oil to the hot engine won’t cause harm, but it is more secure and efficient to wait for at least 30 minutes or until the engine has had time to cool down.