Engine Oil Advice: How To Tell if the Engine Is Damaged From No Oil?

How to tell if engine is damaged from no oil

If you’re like most car owners, you may not think much about the engine oil until it’s time to change it. But you only wait for that time if everything goes alright — which is not the case if an engine oil leakage happens. 

Driving a car without engine oil can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. In fact, a friend got stuck in Tohajiilee. We’ll share that story sometime else. 

Back to the topic:

So how can you tell if the engine is damaged from no oil? And what can you do about it?

Read on to find out and learn how to avoid this trouble:

How Long Can You Drive Without Engine Oil?

The short answer is “not long.” But there are multiple variables at play.  If you have a big, powerful engine and drive at high speeds on the highway, you might be able to squeeze out a few extra miles. But if you drive a smaller car at lower speeds around town, your engine will start to suffer sooner.

Without engine oil, your engine would eventually overheat and seize up — the engine parts get jammed. And even if it doesn’t stop, the lack of lubrication will cause wear and tear, which can do serious damage. 

Put simply, unless you plan on getting your engine rebuilt, it’s best to play it safe and not drive without oil.

No or Low Engine Oil: Symptoms

Here’s how you can detect the lack of engine oil in your car:

1. Clunking Noise

You may hear a sharp clunking noise from the engine. With no oil to keep the engine parts disciplined, they’d start striking each other and produce noise. This noise may be light if you have low engine oil and loud if you have no engine oil. 

A loose wheel cover can also provide you with similar sound effects. So it’s best to check for all the possible signs whenever you hear such a sound instead of blaming your car’s tires. 

2. Overheated Engine

Primarily, engine oil lubricates the various moving parts within an engine, which helps keep the engine cool. 

If your car has low or no engine oil, the parts rub against each other and produce heat. This can overheat the engine. If you continue to drive with an overheated engine, your engine can seize up and suffer severe damage — you may have to replace the piston and other damaged parts. 

3. Low Oil Pressure Warning

Your car may have an oil pressure warning light — which turns on if the oil pressure in the engine falls below a certain level. While this can happen due to various reasons, a common cause is low engine oil. 

How to tell if engine is damaged from no oil — An image with the oil pressure warning signal and a guideline saying that your oil pressure should stay between 25-65 psi. If it falls below 20 psi, you need to check your engine oil.

Similarly, it can also happen due to a broken oil pump or an oil leak in the car. Whatever the reason, you should pull up your car and tackle the problem, as low oil pressure can result in significant engine damage. 

Low Engine Oil Level: Reasons

Here are the possible reasons behind the low level of oil in the engine:

1. Engine Oil Leakage

An oil leak is a common reason for a car to have no engine oil. Your car can leak engine oil from:

Check these areas for oil if you encounter any of the above symptoms. And if you do find a leak, get it fixed without delay. 

2. Burning Engine Oil

Your car may be burning the engine oil with the fuel. This can happen due to an improper air-to-fuel mixture, worn piston rings, or a faulty valve. If your car is burning oil, take it to the repair shop you prefer to get it fixed and avoid further damage to your engine. 

How To Avoid Engine Damage Due to Lack of Lubrication?

Here are some tips to avoid engine damage due to lack of lubrication:

  • Check the oil level regularly and add engine oil if necessary.
  • Make sure the oil is changed at the recommended interval.
  • Use a good quality oil appropriate for your engine.
  • Avoid running the engine too hard or for too long without a break.
  • Don’t let the engine idle for extended periods.

Following these tips will help keep your engine properly lubricated and avoid damage due to lack of lubrication. 

Final Thoughts: How To Tell if Engine Is Damaged From No Oil?

Check your engine oil immediately if your engine makes a clunking noise or if your car warns you about low pressure. 

Engine oil ensures your engine parts move without any problem and you reach your destination safely. So keeping it in check saves you from preventable misadventures. 

Has your engine been damaged from no oil? 

Share your experiences below.