How To Fix a Car That Ran Out of Oil? Starting the Engine

Learning how to fix a car that ran out of oil can be a lifesaver in this stressful and dangerous situation for any driver, which can lead to significant engine damage and possibly render the car unusable. However, it is definitely possible to start the vehicle and prevent further damage safely.

How To Fix a Car That Ran Out of Oil

In this extensive guide, we’ll cover how to identify if your car has run out of oil, how to add oil to your vehicle, and the necessary steps to start your engine safely. We will also provide tips on avoiding running out of oil in the future and the importance of getting your car checked by a mechanic after this situation occurs!

How Can You Fix a Car After Running Out of Oil?

You can fix a car after running out of oil by pouring oil into the engine and then giving it time to settle and stabilize. Then turn the car ignition on, and wait for some seconds before starting the engine. Once you’ve checked for oil pressure, you can begin driving.

Make sure to wear personal safety equipment such as thick gloves and goggles when working on your vehicle. Familiarize yourself with the necessary steps before starting the procedure.

1. Letting the Oil Settle

Once you have poured in the needed amount of oil to your car’s engine, giving it a few minutes to settle is essential. This will allow the oil to flow through the engine and lubricate its various components effectively.
Waiting a few minutes also ensures that the oil level is accurate and stable before you start your car. Take your time with this essential process, as it can lead to inaccurate readings of your car’s oil levels, which may cause further engine damage.

2. Turning the Ignition On

Before starting your car, it’s vital to ensure the fuel system is pressurized. To do this successfully, you will now need to toggle the ignition key to the “on” position, also known as the accessory position, but do not start the engine.

Turning Car Ignition On

Doing this allows the fuel pump to prime the system and build up pressure, ensuring that the vehicle engine receives the fuel it needs to start. It is now wise to wait a few seconds or so before starting the engine to ensure the fuel system has been adequately pressurized.

3. Starting the Engine

Turn the car’s ignition key to the “start” position to start the engine after pouring in oil. If the engine doesn’t start, it’s recommended to try turning the car key off and on a few times. This can help build up oil pressure in the system, allowing the engine to start smoothly.

4. Getting Your Car to a Professional

When a car runs out of oil, the engine can sustain severe damage, even if restarted. Therefore, have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic without delay. A professional mechanic can thoroughly examine and identify any damage that may have occurred, repairing it before it worsens.

By doing so, the car can operate safely and efficiently without causing any further heavy damage to the engine or other critical components.

Getting Car to a Professional

Ignoring this problem will lead to costly repairs or, in the worst-case scenario, the need to replace the motor, making timely maintenance essential.

How Do You Determine if Your Car Has Run Out of Oil?

You can determine if your car has run out of oil when you begin to see the warning lights for oil levels. You will also start to hear loud strange sounds from the engine, and there will also be a lot of smoke, which is usually the most severe stage.

  • Warning Lights

Modern cars have a bright warning light on the dashboard that indicates low oil pressure or levels. This light turns on to alert the driver when the car runs low on engine oil or has no oil pressure, indicating that the car might have run out of oil. It is crucial to stop the vehicle immediately and check the oil level if this warning light appears.

  • Engine Noise

If the engine is getting low on oil, it can produce loud noises like knocking or tapping, indicating that it is not getting the necessary lubrication to function correctly. The noise results from the engine parts rubbing against each other because it lacks oil. It is essential to add oil immediately to prevent damage to the engine.

  • Smoke

A car running out of engine oil can increase friction and heat, causing smoke to come out of the engine. The lack of oil lubrication causes the engine components to grind against each other, leading to smoke due to the heat generated. Smoke is a severe warning sign that your car has run out of oil and needs to be stopped immediately. Failure to stop the car and add oil can result in significant heavy engine damage or even loss.

Smoke from Car

Suppose you experience any of the indicators mentioned earlier. In that instance, it is crucial to take immediate action by stopping your vehicle and examining the oil levels. In case of oil depletion, refilling before attempting to restart the engine is essential.

Pay attention to address these issues promptly to avoid severe engine damage and costly repairs. Therefore, it’s always best to err on caution and regularly check your oil levels to avoid potential engine problems.

How Do You Add Oil to Your Vehicle?

You can add oil to your vehicle by opening the oil cap located on top of the engine, and then you need to pour in the oil, ensuring a slow and steady hand. You should use a funnel to avoid any accidents and increase precision.

1. Locating the Oil Cap

The oil cap is generally situated on the top of the engine, often marked with an oil can symbol. It is usually easy to identify and access, making it convenient to check the oil levels or add oil to the engine. After reviewing the oil levels, the oil cap must be securely tightened to prevent oil leaks, which can cause engine damage.

2. Opening the Cap

To access the engine’s oil reservoir, you must unscrew the oil cap, typically on top of the engine block. After identifying the oil cap’s position, you can easily unscrew it by rotating it counterclockwise.

Be careful when unscrewing the oil cap to prevent any dirt from getting into the oil reservoir. Once the oil cap is unscrewed, it is essential to set it aside in a clean and safe place to prevent it from getting lost or contaminated.

3. Adding Oil

When pouring oil into your car’s engine, do so slowly and carefully to prevent spills. You can use a funnel to guide the oil smoothly into the machine to achieve this. It is crucial to refer to your car’s manual for the specific kind and amount of oil required.

Adding Oil to Car

Using the wrong type or quantity of oil can cause engine damage or performance issues. Therefore, using the recommended oil type and amount is important to keep your precious vehicle running well and efficiently.

4. Checking the Dipstick

Once you have added the oil, check the oil level with the dipstick. Insert the dipstick into the oil reservoir, remove it and wipe it until clean with a rag. Insert the dipstick again and extract it to check the oil level. If the level is still low, add more oil until it reaches the recommended level.

Is It Possible to Start the Engine of a Car That Ran Out of Oil?

Starting the engine of a car that ran out of oil can be risky. The lack of lubrication could have caused severe damage to the internal components. Before attempting to start it, it’s important to address the root issue by adding oil to a hot engine. Ignoring this step may exacerbate the problem and lead to further complications.


In conclusion, running out of oil is not an ideal situation, but it can happen to anyone, including you, which means the most critical aspect here is to remain calm and follow the steps outlined in this article. By first identifying whether your car has genuinely run out of oil and then adding oil to your car with

the proper steps, you can minimize any further damage:

  • You can know if your car has run out of oil when you begin to see the warning lights for oil levels, hear loud strange sounds from the engine, and see a lot of smoke.
  • When a warning light for low oil pressure or levels appears, it is crucial to stop the vehicle immediately and then check the oil level.
  • To add oil to your car’s engine, locate the oil cap, open it carefully, add oil slowly, and use a dipstick to check the oil level.
  • Once you have added oil, it is essential to let it settle and stabilize for a few minutes before starting the engine.
  • Neglecting to address oil-related issues promptly can cause severe engine damage and costly repairs, so regularly checking your oil levels is crucial.

There is no reason to panic as everything has its solution, and you can do it yourself by following the instructions we have given. Check your oil levels regularly so you don’t have to face such circumstances!

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