Can You Add Oil to a Hot or Cold Engine?

By Max Anthony •  Updated: 02/12/22 •  6 min read

Your car needs many equipment and materials to function correctly, such as oil and other requirements. When it comes to adding or changing oil, you might have several questions that you might be too ashamed to ask, like adding oil to a hot engine? Or should you change the oil when it’s hot or cold? Your car might need an oil change, and you are wondering how. Whatever your question is, this article will answer them all.

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Adding Oil to a Hot Engine

If you add oil to your engine when it is hot, you are fine to go. Putting engine oil in the car while it is hot, this can do nothing to your vehicle. The cold oil will not harm your engine. That is not the case when you are changing the oil, though. You will run into the risk of burning yourself if you try to change it when the engine is hot.

If you are going to measure the oil, you should not do it when the engine is running hot. Oil expands in the heat to get a pretty inaccurate reading.

Adding Oil to a Cold Engine

Adding oil to the car engine when it is cold will not cause any problems. It is an excellent way to avoid any burns.

If you want to change the oil, though, you will face trouble draining it because it will be too thick.

It is best to change the oil when the vehicle engine is not at extreme temperatures. Too hot, and you will get severe burns and injuries. Too cold, your oil will be too thick to drain.

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Ensure your engine is warm so that the oil does not stick to the oil pan and other engine parts.

How Long to Let Engine Cool Before Adding Oil?

You should park your car on flat, steady ground and wait at least 5-10 minutes or better – 20 minutes to let the hot engine cool down and drain in the sump. Some will suggest even waiting for 30 minutes so just make sure that your car is warm and not too hot or cold.

Steps to Check Engine Oil Level

The correct way to check the engine level is written in your manual. After your car has cooled down for some vehicles, and for others, you should let your engine warm up a bit.

Using a Dipstick

Checking the Color of the Oil

Check for Metal Particles

Steps to Add Engine Oil

         Oil Level

Draining the Old Oil

         Use the Correct Oil

Oil According to the Seasons


Can You Check Oil When Car Is Hot?

You can check the oil while your car is hot. Make sure that you open the hood of your vehicle and then use a thermometer to see if the engine temperature goes below average, alerting you to add more oil.

Can You Add Oil to a Running Engine?

Obviously not! Oil changes should not be performed with the engine running. Opening the oil fill cap when that the engine is running and pouring oil in, will cause an extreme amount of pressure due to overheating.

How Long to Wait for Checking Car Engine Oil After Adding Oil?

It is recommended to wait at least 5-10 minutes after adding oil before checking the level. You can attempt to check the level before this time.

Can I Add Old Oil to New Motor Oil?

Since oil is a consumable item, can you add new to old? The answer is yes. Adding the correct amount of new oil into the old oil does not change the condition of the engine in any way. It’s a good practice & accepted by many.

How Long Can You Really Go Without Changing Your Oil?

No matter how good your oil is, you should change your oil in between every 5 000-8000 miles or beyond those intervals if it runs properly. If you take more care of your car with oil change intervals in mind, you can do it after 3000 miles.


We have described everything about adding oil to a hot or cold engine. It is essential to know the correct way of changing oil in your car. Many people have experienced issues with the wrong type of oil or too much oil. But it is not difficult to add or change oil if you follow the proper procedures.

The correct way of changing oil is not always done to your car. It’s crucial to learn it correctly before using the wrong method. Best of luck & happy driving!


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Max Anthony

Max is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.

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