How to Unseize an Engine That Ran Out of Oil? (Explained!)

People would worry about experiencing a seizure, and the reason would mostly be because the vehicle is running out of oil, or it can also be that there is not enough supply of oil. People worry too much when this happens, but the good thing is that it can be solved. 

It is possible to free up the small engines and the significant engines. So in this article, we will focus on how to unseize an engine that has run out of oil.

How to Unseize an Engine That Ran Out of Oil

How Do You Free Up A Seized Engine?

If you want to free up a seized engine, this is the step-by-step process on how to do it.

1. The First Step Is To Disintegrate.

The first step of freeing up a seized engine is to disintegrate. You need to pull the cylinder head and the crankshaft apart if the oil penetration is not working. You can efficiently perform this if you have small engines. 

If you have a lot of cylinders, you have to investigate each of the tubes and look for any faults in them. If you cannot figure anything out, you need to open the cap and then find the cause. Rotate the crankshaft after taking off the cap of the erroneous cylinder. 

After, try to thump out the piston. Make sure that the disk can slide the bottom of the cylinder without damaging the crankshaft. In this process, you have to be careful. 

2. Take A Look At The Damage.

No matter the reason for your seized engine, it is sure that the piston and the cylinder are already damaged. You may have a broken ring because of them being stuck. First, you have to look at the ring of the pistons and check it. 

If you are done checking and see that everything is reasonable, you must rotate it in the piston groove. Next, you can fix the wedged wings with oil lubrication. If you need to change the rings, then do it. 

The pistons will be distorted if the seized engines lack oil. Finally, you have to clean it properly. If you see any cracks or damage, it is advised to consult technicians.  

3. Have A Look At The Bottom.

You have to check the connecting rods and the wrist pin bearing. If there is a knocking sound, then this is an indicator of a worn wrist pin. You have to lay the connecting rods on a flat surface and then wrap it. 

Ensure that you are familiar with the direction of the slopes if you will properly position the gaps. If you have installed the pistons successfully and adequately, you must coat the cylinder and the piston using a clean engine lubricate. 

Use a compressor so that you can compact the rings into the groove. Put everything back together and then move the engine. 

Can You Fix An Engine That Ran Out Of Oil?

Yes, but your vehicle’s engine needs oil so that it can run. With that, if your vehicle runs out of oil, your engine will not function properly. So you need to replace your oil. 

If you do not do it, you will risk the condition of your engine, and it will be damaged severely. If your engine is going low on oil, the oil change light will warn you if your oil level is getting too low. But do not wait too long to change your vehicle’s oil. 

This is because your engine can fail. If that happens, you will have to spend more money and be given a lot of time to repair your vehicle. 

Seized Engine That Ran Out of Oil

How Do You Unlock A Seized Engine Without Oil?

If you have a seized engine and not because of oil, you might have a flooded engine. If you have a flooded engine, it has less air. As a result, it will be difficult for the pistons to work. 

This can happen to you if you drive into a flood or a puddle. If a large amount of water goes into the cylinders, the motor will be locked up immediately. If this happens, you need to have an entire engine replacement. 

Can A Seized Engine Start?

If you have a seized engine and you have a mechanic confirm your diagnosis, there are some options that you can do. First, you have to consider the severity of the damage. Many mechanics would say that you need to have an entire replacement instead of having a repair. 

The reason for this is because repairs can be more costly than replacing your engine. However, every car has a different diagnosis, so there are times when a replacement is less expensive. 

Also Read: Does Synthetic Oil Degrade Over Time?

Can You Use WD40 On A Seized Engine?

WD40 is more flammable than oil. So with gasoline and WD40 will have a lot of fuel to make a fire. 

The WD40 has chemical properties, and it can make it sound like engine oil but with a lot of risks. So if you want to use it, prepare for a lot of risks. 

How Do You Diagnose A Seized Engine?

It is vital to test and confirm if the problem is a seized engine. You can do this by checking. First, you need to make sure that you have parked the vehicle in a steady and safe area. 

You then have to pull out the spark plugs and try to rotate the engine. You can do this just by using your hands. You can also use a breaker bar. A breaker bar is ideal for car engines. 


In summary, many car owners have experienced seized engines. However, the good thing is that the seized engine can be fixed. 

There are some methods and steps that you can do to unseized your vehicle. There is a step-by-step process above. Follow it to fix your seized engine.


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