How Long Can a Car Go Without Oil?

How long can a car go without oil? 

Well, not too far. That’s because motor oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. Without it, the many moving parts inside won’t be able to run properly as they’ll be subject to wear and tear. As a result, your engine may become damaged beyond repair.

Cars that run without oil exhibit symptoms that tell you they need an oil change. Nevertheless, in emergency cases, you may continue running your automobile for 20 minutes without oil before serious problems arise. Needless to say, even the shortage of oil already causes problems.

Roles Of Oil In A Car Engine

Oil does many things within your car’s engine. Here’s everything you need to know:


For starters, motor oil lubricates the insides of your vehicle’s engine. 

This action is essential as your engine is a very intricate machine with many moving parts that need ample lubrication. Otherwise, its different components are guaranteed to break down much faster.

Corrosion Protection

Via lubrication, motor oil prolongs the lifespan of your engine. How? By reducing the enormous amount of corrosion produced by your engine’s moving parts. 

Engine Corrosion Protection

Needless to say, even the best engine oil won’t guarantee that your car’s engine will run and remain at peak performance.

Enhance Engine Sealing

Unbeknownst to many, having the right kind of motor oil in your automobile can improve engine sealing. 

Now to be more specific, the right kind of oil will enhance the sealing of your cylinders and pistons. This is done once your oil deposits a protective layer throughout your car’s parts.


Your vehicle’s motor oil cools down its engine’s many moving parts. Hence without oil, your car will overheat in only a matter of time. If that happens, it’ll be rendered not roadworthy.

Remember that only the right motor oil will be able to provide ample cooling to your vehicle’s engine. As such, you must fill your car with the right kind of oil.

What Happens To An Engine Without Oil?

What Happens To An Engine Without Oil

The damage that an engine running without oil can get cannot be overstated. You see, without any engine oil, there’ll be nothing to lubricate, cool, and prevent your engine’s insides from corroding. In fact, with enough time, an oilless engine can get damaged beyond repair.

Of course, simply running your car with too little motor oil can also cause problems. On top of that, the type of oil that you use must be the right one for your car’s engine. Otherwise, you might be faced with a myriad of issues that might require an automobile mechanic to repair.

What Causes Oil Deficiency In A Car Engine?

What Causes Oil Deficiency In A Car Engine?

Your car’s engine suffers from oil deficiency because of these 3 reasons:

Natural Engine Consumption

If your car’s engine is running low on oil and is free of any sort of leaks, it must have used up all of its oil. When that happens, all that you need to do is check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the right kind of oil to use. After that, fill up your engine then you’ll be good to go.

Now if you want to know more about putting oil in your vehicle’s engine, you can check out this article. It’ll tell you everything that you need to know regarding the subject. In fact, it’ll even teach newbies how to do a DIY oil change for their vehicle in a safe and proper manner.

Motor Oil Leakage

Your car’s engine may be leaking oil without you knowing. Now there are many reasons why an engine oil leak can occur. However, the most common one is because of the use of the wrong kind of motor oil on the wrong type of engine. To put it simply, some engines are designed to make use of newer synthetic oil whereas others are designed to utilize traditional motor oil.

When used in engines that were made to run on ordinary motor oil, synthetic oil is highly prone to causing engine leaks due to its viscosity. For that reason, you must make sure your automobile’s engine is loaded with the correct kind of oil with the correct viscosity.

Lack Of Oil Pressure

During your motor oil’s aging process, it breaks down. 

As a result, it loses its ability to properly keep your automobile’s engine going. Eventually, you will feel that something is wrong as your engine’s performance diminishes greatly because of the lack of oil pressure.

To make sure your engine has the oil pressure it needs, simply maintain a healthy level of fresh oil inside it. Doing so will go a long way, even prolonging your vehicle’s lifespan by many years.

5 Low Engine Oil Symptoms You Must Not Ignore

5 Low Engine Oil Symptoms You Must Not Ignore

Here are 5 low engine oil symptoms that you must not ignore:

Low Oil Indicator Warning

Almost all modern vehicles and even some older ones have indicators on the dashboard that tell you if your engine is low on motor oil. Once that indicator flashes, don’t ignore it. Instead, go to the nearest automobile service center and fill your car engine with the appropriate engine oil.

Engine Making Knocking Noises

Knocking noises from an engine is a telltale sign that your vehicle’s engine has insufficient oil levels. For those unaware, the reason why these knocking noises are made is that with little engine oil, your vehicle’s many internal parts harshly bump against each other.

A Burning Smell

With low oil levels come decreased lubrication and increased friction. Besides that, the engine rods shall become loose significantly. In turn, this will cause your engine to emit an unpleasant burning smell. This smell is a telltale sign that your vehicle’s engine needs an oil replacement.

Low Oil Levels Shown On Your Dipstick

A lot of older cars don’t have indicators on their dashboards that tell you that your automobile’s engine is low on oil. Instead, they’ve got dipsticks that you should check from time to time.

Now as a general rule, it’s best to follow your car’s instruction manual to determine how often you should check your oil level. Also, you should look to know what’s the best engine oil that’s available for your vehicle.

Complete Engine Failure

All good things must pass and there will come a time when your vehicle’s engine will be beyond repair due to corrosion and many other things. 

When that happens, you’ll not be able to ignore the problem because you won’t be able to drive your automobile. The only route to take in this situation is to have your car’s engine replaced with a brand new one.

How Long Can A Car Go Without Oil?

How Long Can A Car Go Without Oil?

As mentioned earlier most vehicles can run for 20 minutes without motor oil before their engines suffer from irrevocable damage. That being said, the shorter amount of time you continue running your engine with zero oil, the better as there’ll be a lesser chance of damage.

If you know that your vehicle doesn’t have any oil in its engine, don’t attempt to drive it to your local auto service center. 

Rather, check your car’s owner’s manual then purchase and put the correct type of motor oil inside your engine. Doing this should be extremely easy. And this remains true for those who aren’t savvy with anything related to mechanics.

How Severe Can a Damage Be in A Car Without Oil?

How Severe Can a Damage Be in A Car Without Oil?

The severity of the damage caused by a vehicle running without oil depends on many factors. If you run your engine long enough without it filled, it may suffer from irrevocable damage. When that happens, you will need to have your car’s engine replaced or get a new vehicle altogether.

With all that being said, you shouldn’t get too scared if you’ve run your vehicle without oil for a short time only. Chances are, it hasn’t been damaged to the point of no return. It may not even need a repair. Still, it would be wise if you have your car checked by a mechanic if it ever runs without oil.

Why Is Steaming A Car Important?

Why Is Steaming A Car Important?

Steaming your car is important because it keeps your engine’s many components fresh. On top of that, it also prolongs your vehicle’s lifespan and makes it look good.

Another thing to know is that steaming is an environmentally-friendly process that involves zero abrasive chemicals. Because of that, it’s a good idea to steam clean your car regularly.

Putting It All Together

Only special types of engines can run for prolonged periods without oil. Now with that said, you mustn’t drive your vehicle if it’s not filled with motor oil. Doing this for long periods can cause irrevocable damage to your engine.

Engine oil, whether synthetic or normal, is the lifeblood of your vehicle. Without it, the hundreds of components within its engine won’t work in sync with each other. Moreover, they’ll cause damage to each other due to too much friction, heat, along with many other things.

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