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There are several things that might happen if a significant amount of excess oil is added to your engine.

Changes in the oil pressure and overall lubrication of the engine can lead to:

  • Engine damage such as bent rods in the engine or collapsed valve pipes
  • Catastrophic engine failure where the engine sustains enough damage that it cannot be repaired, but must instead be replaced
  • Excess engine wear from inconsistent oil pressure over time
  • Spark plug fouling, resulting in the need to replace spark plugs more frequently
  • Excess oil deposits in the catalytic converter

Automotive oil reservoirs are designed to hold a bit of extra oil to compensate for fluid expansion in warm conditions, and to help prevent damage to the engine in case excessive oil is added to the engine. As a result, half a quart may not cause any damage to your engine, but much more than that could lead to engine damage.

When too much oil is poured into the reservoir, the excess oil can be pulled into the crankshaft as it spins. The oil is mixed with air and aerates – also known as ‘foaming’ – like what you might find on your morning latte. The combination of oil and air results in decreased oil pressure as the oil pump is unable to continue pumping the oil effectively.

Overfilling the oil can cause the car to have misfires and run rough. It will also blow a lot of smoke out of the tail pipe. This usually will not cause any long lasting damage.

If you are worried that you have overfilled your vehicles oil just bring it into any of our Sierra Car Care and Tire Center locations and our mechanics can let you know what they recommend.

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