Can You Add Oil To A Hot Engine? (Explained!)

In the world of automobiles, there are many things that you have to know so that you can be safe. One of the most asked questions by car drivers regarding topping up oil is if it is safe to add oil if the engine is hot. So let us learn about that. 

So can you add oil to a hot engine? Yes, you can add oil to a hot engine. In fact, a lot of car drivers have already been doing it. 

On the other hand, there are a lot of car drivers who do not add oil if their engine is hot. Even though it is okay for you to add oil if your engine is hot. It might not be totally on the safe side. A hot engine can cause you harm because you can get burned while adding the oil. 

This is why a lot of people are not doing it because they can get burned by the process. It is not safe for the car drivers and for anyone. 

But with the division, a lot of car drivers wanted to clarify if it is safe and if you can add oil to a hot engine. So let us get started! 

Can You Add Oil To A Hot Engine

Can You Put Oil Into A Hot Engine?

In a vehicle, you have to maintain the oil level of your vehicle. You also have to change it regularly. This is very important for your vehicle’s optimum performance and the maintenance of your vehicle’s excellent condition. 

But can you add oil to your vehicle if your engine is hot? It is frequently asked by many car drivers if putting oil on a hot engine can damage their vehicle. So the answer is that you can put oil in your vehicle even if your engine is hot.

Of course, you have to check the oil level if the engine has been cooled down. But it is safe to put oil and add it up to your vehicle. The important part is not to overfill the oil if you are topping it. 

Can You Add Cold Oil To A Hot Engine?

Yes, you can. If you top up your engine with oil, it does not matter much if the engine is cold or hot. You must consider that the temperature is not on the outer parts that you can not stand it. 

A scorching engine can cause some smoking, or it can cause a fire if you need some oil during your oil top-up. Many car experts agree that it is much preferable if you will add oil to a warm engine. However, you can also add oil if your engine has already cooled down. 

But if you check your vehicle’s oil level, it is essential to wait until the engine has been cooled off for about five to ten minutes so as not to burn yourself with the process. Keep in mind that the oil type that you will use can also affect the reading if you check the vehicle’s oil level. Almost all the regular oils can expand and then contract at an average rate. 

This is regardless of the engine or the external temperature, and some synthetic oils will also contract if the temperature outside is cold. It will also expand if the temperature is hot. 

So, in addition, a lot of modern vehicles have electronic level controllers. It will automatically measure the level of your oil inside your vehicle. 

What Happens If You Put Oil In A Hot Engine?

You can put oil in a hot engine under the following conditions. If you have turned off your vehicle and you let it sit for a few minutes so that the oil on the top of the engine will have the time to drain to the bottom of your engine. About ninety-five percent (95%) to ninety-eight percent (98%) of the oil will drain in the first few minutes. 

Let it sit still for a few more minutes if you want it to be very accurate. That’ll give you an accurate reading for the oil level on your dipstick. Do not put so much oil in your engine. 

It can be a bad idea. So you have to know the level of your oil to know how much oil you have to top up. Make sure that your oil level must first reach the level of too low. 

How Long To Let The Engine Cool Before Adding Oil?

If you are just adding oil to your engine, you can fill it even if you will not wait for it to cool down. But, if you change your oil, you have to cool it down first for about a few minutes. The process of just adding oil and changing oil is different. 

The process is also different. If you change your oil, you must let the engine cool down for a bit. So if you will drain the oil, it will not be too hot for you. 

It will also make the other parts of your engine cool down as well. As a result, you will not be burned by the heat, and the process will be easier to do.

How Do You Know The Engine Is Cold Enough?

This will depend on the tolerance of the driver with heat. So cold enough might not be cold enough for the other person. So you have to check it personally if the temperature is in a range where you can already handle it. 

So if you can already bear the heat, that engine is cold enough for you to add oil to your engine or even do an oil change. So this is why the temperature of “cold enough” will depend on one person to another. 


In summary, you can add oil to your engine even if it is warm or hot. However, the best choice is still to check your oil level after you have allowed the engine to cool down for a bit. 

If your engine is too hot and you are not careful, your hand can get burned but adding oil with a hot engine is not dangerous. But it does not hurt to try.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more