How to Tell if an Engine is Damaged From no Oil

A lot of factors can cause damage to a car Engine but how do you tell if an engine is damaged as a result of no oil?

It’s not new that a lack of oil flow to the engine component will increase friction among moving parts of the system and cause a knock.

Likewise, coolants mixing with oil could also reduce the viscosity of the motor oil thereby reducing its power.

Engine damages caused due to no oil are often costly to repair because several components are either broken, burnt, or damaged.

This is why I’ll advise any car user to perform a regular oil check to refill the oil level when it gets low.

Nevertheless, if as a mechanic, a damaged engine is brought to you and you want to decipher if the damage is a result of insufficient oil then this article is for you.

In this article, I’ll show common signs that tell you when you’re running low on oil and how to also tell if an engine is damaged from no oil.

How to tell if an Engine is Damaged from no Oil

Since oil helps in reducing friction on moving parts in the engine, the most common way to tell if an engine is damaged from zero oil is a seized or knocked engine.

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You’ll also notice the moving metals in the engine have been grounded, overheat, and become unresponsive; this is often accompanied by excess smoke from the engine.

Here are a few notable signs to let you know damage if as a result of no oil.

1. Grinding Metal Sound

Due to no oil to keep the moving parts of the engine lubricated, they’ll start to rub on each other producing a high strange metallic sound from the engine.

This collision may further produce rattling or clunky noises which if not addressed on time could lead to breaking, wear and tear, and permanent knocking of the engine.

2. Excess Smoke from the Engine

Due to the reaction between metals, you will notice excess smoke in the engine compartments and this could also escalate to a fire outbreak if it’s not addressed.

Worst of all, your Engine could become stiff and unresponsive if you continue driving in this condition.

3. Burning Oil Smell

As discussed in our article on why coolants get mixed with motor oil, excess heat from the engine can damage the head gasket and results in oil leaks.

The small is a result of oil dropping on the moving parts undergoing friction thereby causing it to burn.

4. Overheating

Once your Engine starts Overheating, there’s a 90% chance that it’s a result of low oil.

You can keep an eye on your temperature gauge to help you notice the situation before it goes beyond control.

5. Fire on the Hood

In relation to the famous saying, “there’s no smoke without a fire”, if the pressure on the metallic component increase, it could result in a fire outbreak in your Engine.

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So, the best option is to turn off the engine once you start seeing smoke emerge from the hood.

6. Engine Seizure

When your Engine is no longer responsive despite cranking it then it has been seized.

This is also a green light for permanent engine damage especially when the components crack through the cylinder.

But don’t fret yet, it could also be a random Piston or crankshaft crack.

What to Do if Engine Damages from No Oil?

Firstly, ill advise that you refill the engine with fresh oil and sew if it responds.

If it responds then you have nothing then you can manage it for the meantime before replacing parts that were fairly damaged.

However, if the engine doesn’t respond then you’ll need to seek the help of a mechanic or tow your car to an auto repair shop.

Symptoms of Low Engine Oil?

While most of the above symptoms depict an engine that’s deficient in oil supply, let’s look at the proper symptoms of a low engine oil level.

  • The check Engine light turns On
  • Overheating Engine
  • Clanking metal sounds
  • Engine becomes slow
  • Oil and coolant leaks
  • Smoke from the Hood

How Often should you check your Engine Oil Level?

Advise from car experts recommend that you check your Engine oil level once a month.

To be more careful, you can perform an oil check once you want to embark on a long trip and refill if necessary.

Should I Check my Engine Oil When the Engine is Hot or Cold?

It’s important to check your Engine oil within 10 – 30 minutes of turning off the engine so that the oil can settle and give you an accurate reading.

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How Long Can I Drive Without Engine Oil?

How long you can drive a car without engine oil depends on the make of the engine.

You can check out our article that breaks down all you need to know about driving without engine oil.