How to Fix a Car That Ran Out of Oil? (Step-by-Step Guide)

A car without oil is equivalent to having a ton of problems. If you have experienced such a thing, then you’re already worrying about how to fix such. With tons of problems you can experience, you may ask:

How to fix a car that ran out of oil? As I said, if your car got damaged due to running out of oil, it may lead to a load of problems or issues. With this in mind, you can do these steps to check and fix your car that ran out of oil.

How to Fix a Car That Ran Out of Oil


The first thing to do is to disintegrate your engine. You’ll need to separate the cylinder and crank to do so.

If your car has many cylinders, you need to check each one for faults. If you didn’t find anything, you can open the lid and search for the problem.

You can do so by taking the cap off of the wrong tube while rotating the crank. Afterward, try to thump the piston out.

Another thing is to ensure the disk can slide the flooring of the tube without destroying the crankshaft. As always, proceed with caution to avoid doing any further damage.

Check the damage

Whatever the cause of the seizure, both the piston and cylinder got damaged. Such a stuck issue can be the cause of the broken ring.

For this reason, you need to check the piston’s ring. If it’s alright, you may then try to turn it in the groove of the piston.

Some of the wedge rings can get cured with proper lubricants. Otherwise, you may change the rings if necessary.

The dead engine can be because of a lack of oil can, distorting the pistons as a result. Thus, you need to clear it thoroughly. If it gets cracked or broken, you may need the help of an expert.

Check beneath

You should also inspect the fasteners and wrist pinning bearings, in addition to the above-mentioned parts.

It’s possible that dull wrist pins are causing the banging noises. If this happens, you’ll have to spread the brackets out on a flat area and roll them up.

If you’re going to put the latest rings, be sure you understand the dimensions. After that, you must arrange the spaces.

After the cylinder is inserted, clean lubricant should be applied to both the chamber and the piston. A compression can be used to compress a ring in the gap.

After you’ve completed, you can reassemble all of it and attempt to turn the motor.

It should be able to move in principle. If you’re still having problems, it’s better to seek advice from a professional.

Can you fix an engine that ran out of oil?

An engine which ran out of car oil is quite complicated to fix, especially for those unfamiliar with the engines.

The short answer to this question would be yes. In general, anyone can fix it as long as you know what to do.

However, to make sure everything in your engine works perfectly, it would need an expert to work on it.

What can happen if your car runs out of oil?

If your engine is low on oil, it fails to lubricate the engine components. When such parts don’t receive the necessary amount of oil, they can cause problems. Among these are loud clunking, knocking, and grinding.

For this reason, it’s a bad idea to start your car on low oil. In general, it can cause your rods to break. It can also give off the knocking sound underneath your vehicle’s hood.

As always, put your oil levels on your list of things to check before starting your engine.

This way, you can avoid any issues you can experience from running an engine with low oil.

Once you are on the side of the road, immediately shut the engine off. Afterward, call for assistance such as emergency towing services.

car with no oil

How do you unseize an engine that ran out of oil?

An engine that seized due to lack of oil is due to the engine parts malfunctioning and grinding each other. Thus, you’ll need to check it by following the three steps mentioned above.

In general, you need to disintegrate your engine by pulling the cylinder head and crankshaft apart.

Once you do, you need to check any damage that might have happened due to the absence of oil. Whatever is the cause of the seizure, both the cylinder and piston got damaged.

Lastly, you also need to check the parts beneath. It includes checking the connecting rods and wrist pin bearing.

Once you are finished, you can put all the parts back together and attempt to fire up the engine.

In general, it should be able to move. Now, if you’re still experiencing issues, it would be best to call an expert for assistance.

Can you fix a car that ran out of oil yourself?

As I said earlier, you can fix a car which ran out of car oil on your own. However, if you’re not an automotive work expert, it will be much more reassuring to have it done by an automotive service.

The engine oil is one of the critical components for engines to run smoothly. This lubricant prevents the engine parts from colliding, heat up, and get damaged.

If your car ran out of oil, it causes a handful of problems that can get worse if left unchecked.

For this reason, you’ll need to have everything checked. It includes every possible damage or problem related to the oil. In short, you’ll need a thorough check of your car.

Minor damages might be fixable in a few turns here and there. Still, you can’t get the assurance that your car is alright unless you have experts to check it out.

If you want to avoid getting worse, spending a few bucks on getting help is a no-brainer and is highly recommended.

What is the price of this fix in automotive service?

In general, the repair price for these kinds of problems varies, and it depends on many factors.

Among the common factors would be:

  • The brand and the kind of engine you have
  • The level of damage brought by the absence of oil
  • The parts that need replacement
  • The parts that need repairs

To give you an idea, take a look at the oil leak repairs. Such kinds of services are quick fixes, which means they can be as low as $20.

However, if your engine got damaged due to the absence of oil, the price can go up to $200. Further, if some parts need replacement, like a hose, pan, or piston ring, the price can get up to $400-$600.

If the critical engine parts got affected, you might need to prepare around a thousand bucks for repairs.

For this reason, it would be best to avoid doing further damage. Don’t force your engine to run when it has no oil. This way, you’ll avoid the parts from getting damaged.


The absence of oil can put your car’s engine in a lot of trouble. Moreover, it can lead you to worry about more problems than you can think of with minor negligence.

For this reason, you must not disregard the value of oil in your car. It should always be one of the things you check before going out for a ride.

In general, you can fix a car problem on your own, even if it’s due to the absence of oil. However, when it comes to this particular matter, an expert’s help will save you more money and time in the long run.



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