Does Motor Oil Freeze? (All You Need To Know Explained!)

Anywhere you are residing, if the temperature you live in has a lot of freezing weather, this extreme temperature can create chaos in your vehicle. And a lot of people are asking if motor oil can freeze. Let us learn more.

So does motor oil freeze? Motor oil does not solidify. They also do not crystallize at any temperature, so with that, motor oil does not freeze even with extreme temperatures. 

Most of the time, when people think of the bad things that winter can bring to a vehicle, they would think about snow on the road and ice on the road and how it can create problems. that it is a fact that a lot of people do not know what the effect of a freezing temperature on the fluids on your vehicle, especially motor oil is. 

We know a lot of car drivers do not know the effect of winter on your motor oil and so, we have made this article to provide awareness to those who have no idea about this. 

In this article, we will discuss if your motor oil will freeze in the winter. So without further ado, let us get started in knowing if motor oil freezes. 

Does Motor Oil Freeze

Can Motor Oil Freeze?

Motor oil does not solidify. They also do not crystallize at any temperature. So with that, motor oil does not freeze. 

But the motor oil at freezing temperature can get thickened, and it will lose its viscosity. As a result, it will not allow the motor oil to lubricate the engine parts anymore because it has lost its viscosity. And if your engine will not be adequately lubricated, this will increase the risk of damage that your engine can acquire in cold weather. 

Your motor oil has a petroleum product. This means that it will not freeze in a solid-state during cold temperatures. But it will affect the liquid abilities together with the drop of the temperature. 

Diesel oil is cooled below zero degrees Fahrenheit, and it will not change in texture and color. It will also become solid and white, and it will not flow into the engine. This is because of the precipitation of dissolved waxes that is contained in the oil. 

Gasoline does not have these waxes, and that is why it is not sensitive to cold temperatures like petroleum-based motor oils. So if you want to talk about troubles with your engine because of thick motor oil, you can pick a lightweight and winter-grade oil in the cold months. Lighter motor oil will flow freely in cold conditions. 

And the thick oils will have trouble moving into the engine. It will also have trouble preventing the vehicle from starting in cold weather. 

If you want to know about the information on the oil viscosity, you can find it on the bottle’s label. The oils that are preferable to use in the winter will be marked with the letter W in the title of the oil. 

What Temperature Does Motor Oil Freeze?

Motor oil does not freeze if the temperature drops. But the texture and the consistency will become almost solid. This will then prevent the flowing of the motor oil. 

In zero degrees Fahrenheit or negative eighteen degrees celsius, the motor oil will not flow very smoothly as it should have. The friction in the motor oil will increase because of the molecules that are getting bound together. And so, these molecules will be a little bit more resistant to flow.

Motor oil also has a property that is referred to as a pour point. Any motor oil’s pour point is the lowest possible temperature if the oil will pour and if the container will get tilter at a certain angle in a normal condition. 

A lot of motor oil will become thick like maple syrup at twenty degrees Fahrenheit or negative degrees celsius.

How Long Does It Take Car Oil To Freeze?

The motor does not freeze in sub-zero temperatures. However, it will thicken, and this will make it more challenging to start your engine. An engine will become cold if you let it sit idle for an extended period and leave it idle overnight. 

The motor oil inside your engine will be calmer, and it will also be denser overnight. If you’ll start the engine in the morning, the thickened oil will not flow as it should on average temperatures. Conventional motor oil will also become thicker than synthetic oil. 

Is It Ok For Motor Oil To Freeze?

The motor oil will go wrong if you expose it to frigid temperatures. The chemical properties will deteriorate, making them ineffective in their primary function of providing lubrication in the parts of the engine. It can lead to damages to your vehicle. 

The motor oil does not freeze if you expose it to low temperatures. It is not the same with other liquids. However, the texture and the consistency will take a solid form, making them incapable of flowing out of the container and then inside the engine. 

This will happen mainly if the temperature reaches negative twenty degrees Fahrenheit. But even in zero degrees Fahrenheit, there are already changes in the viscosity level of the oil. 

You will observe that the motor oil will not flow as smoothly as it used to, and there is no friction. 

What Happens To Motor Oil In The Cold?

The motor oil will not freeze in a solid form because there will be no crystallization. It will also be denser, and it will not resist the flow in the motion. The motor oil will lose its energy to move effectively, and it will fail to move completely. 

There will also be no lubrication in between the components of the engine. The battery will exert more effort to pump the motor oil to the part of the engine. They will then weaken the battery of your vehicle during cold conditions. 

Cold motor oil will make abrasion and grinding if the engine will wear. A thickened motor oil will also block the pathway, and it will not give the engine the proper lubrication it needs. As a result, you can have a total engine failure. 

If you have this repair, it will cost you expensive repairs too. In addition, the cold engine will also not take long to heat up. You will have an increased fuel consumption, and you will have minimal fuel efficiency.


In summary, a lot of people ask if motor oil does freeze. Many areas have winters, and people are bothered about the effect of the weather on their vehicles. 

And so motor oil does not freeze. It is not the same with any other fluids. They will also not crystallize.

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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