So your car was running fine but it started overheating after you took it for an oil change? If yes, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve researched why your car behaves this way and put together this guide to help you out.
Car overheating after oil change is most likely unrelated to the oil change. The overheating is probably because your mechanic messed up somewhere during the oil change. He may have left the radiator cap off or accidentally broke the coolant line. He may also have unintentionally moved the temperature sensor, disconnected the fans, and so on.
Below, we discuss in more detail all the possible reasons why your car is overheating after an oil change plus the possible solutions for this condition.
Why is your car overheating after oil change?
Your car overheating after oil change is not quite common. But nonetheless, a handful of motorists have experienced it at some point.
The most important thing to note is that in ideal conditions, an oil change shouldn’t make your car overheat as the latter has no relationship with the former.
Oil change is only meant to lubricate and cool the engine and has no relationship whosoever to your engine overheating.
Through our research, we found some possible explanations that could explain why this rare condition has caught up with your car.
Here are some of the possible reasons your car is overheating after an oil change:
Mistakes when changing oil
One possible explanation for the car-overheating-after-oil-change issue is that the service guy who did your oil change may have messed up somewhere during the oil change.
For instance, he may have forgotten to close the radiator cap or put it back on wrong, encouraging coolant leaks. If all the coolant is drained out, then your engine will overheat.
Another likely mistake the service guys make is accidentally breaking the coolant line/hose that goes to the heater core.
One of the motorists in this forum thread admits that this has happened to him at some point, so you know it’s highly possible.
Damaged oil filter
As its name implies, an oil filter simply filters engine oil as it enters the oil pan to keep away all contaminants and impurities. Besides, it also filters the oil that’s already in the pan.
If the filter gets damaged and can’t do its job, then you can rest assured that your engine oil will become dirty.
Contaminated oil is unable to do a great job of reducing friction between engine components as well as the temperature produced by your engine’s internal combustion system.
During oil change, your dealership or mechanic ought to drain the oil pan. The oil pan simply holds the oil circulating through your car engine back and forth.
This oil is contaminated as it gets mixed with engine particles and other external debris. Dirty oil can’t efficiently lubricate and cool off your engine.
And when you add new oil to the old oil, the mixture will also not be fully effective at doing its job. Dirty oil is a well-known culprit for engine overheating.
Damaged oil pan gasket
The work of this gasket is to completely seal the oil pan and prevent oil from escaping as it flows back and forth to the engine. This gasket is also quite delicate and highly vulnerable to damage during an oil change.
If it becomes damaged during oil change, it’s unable to contain oil in the gasket, leading to inconsistently low oil levels, which is another major culprit behind overheating.
Oil leakage occurs if the oil drain valve kit gets damaged. This kit simply lets you drain the dirty oil from your pan and is usually sealed with a gasket to prevent the tiniest drop of oil from leaking.
Unfortunately, this kit is also quite delicate and can get easily damaged during an oil change. In this case, it’s unable to do its job of preventing oil leaks effectively. Oil leak is one of the culprits of engine overheating.
What to do if your car overheats after oil change
The issue of your engine overheating following an oil change is something you can easily fix if you know exactly where to look into.
Since you know the most possible culprits behind this problem, then you already know where to start when you want to fix this issue.
You’d want to begin by checking for common errors your mechanic is likely to make during the oil change process.
Inspect the radiator cap to see if it’s in its correct position. Next, check if the coolant lines are intact and firmly attached to the coolant reservoir.
If everything looks okay, go ahead and inspect the oil pan. If it carries dirty oil, simply drain all of it and add clean oil to it. Inspect the oil gasket pan, oil filter, and oil drain valve kit for damages and replace them accordingly.
You can also have a reputable mechanic do the inspection for you and find the culprit behind this overheating problem.
If possible, consider taking your car to a different mechanic this time to see if they help solve the situation.
Can an oil change affect overheating?
Yes! Engine oil not only helps reduce friction but also helps cool off your engine. In other words, it acts as a supplementary cooling system for your car engine system.
Your car already has a primary cooling system in place to regulate temperature and remove excess heat from your engine that may cause the gauge to spike.
Having a secondary system that complements its performance is a great thing and your engine oil does just that.
When you change oil, you’re simply feeding your engine with clean oil which is far much better at minimizing frictional and cooling off your engine than old oil that’s contaminated.
So, yes, an oil change will definitely affect engine overheating!
Can a clogged oil filter cause overheating?
One of the key symptoms of a clogged oil filter is engine overheating. When the filter is clogged, it is unable to remove contaminants from the engine oil as it enters the oil pan.
Impurities in the oil will then reduce its effectiveness in lubricating the moving engine parts.
This will then cause heat to be produced due to increased friction, making your engine temperatures go up! If not addressed on time, engine overheating can lead to serious damages that are quite expensive to fix.
If during an oil change, the service didn’t indicate he changed the oil filter (and you haven’t changed it in a long time), it’s likely the culprit for the overheating problem.
Make sure it is one of the things your mechanic checks when you take your car in for diagnosis following an overheating condition after an oil change.
Will oil change stop your car from overheating?
Absolutely! An oil change can help stop your car from overheating. As you may already know, part of the job of your engine oil is to prevent overheating in your car.
The oil lubricates all the moving parts of your engine, thus reducing metal-to-metal friction, and reducing the amount of heat produced as a result of friction.
In addition to that, the oil moving across your engine moving parts also helps in cooling off the engine.
That said, if you make an oil change at the recommended intervals, it will ensure your engine always has new oil that does a great job of dissipating heat and shielding your engine from potential damages caused by friction.
Be sure to follow the correct oil change schedule for your car model. Most car models should be changed after covering every 3,000 miles. However, some car manufacturers recommend changing your engine oil every 7,000 miles.
Consult your manual for more details on the correct intervals for doing oil changes in your car.
Should you change oil after overheating?
You shouldn’t necessarily change oil after an overheating incident. After the inspection of your car by a professional mechanic, you’ll get to know whether you need to change the oil or not.
For instance, if the diagnosis shows a completely different issue is behind the overheating, e.g. coolant leak, blown out head gasket, etc., then an oil change won’t do much to help with the situation.
Is it safe to drive your car if the engine overheats after oil change?
No! Driving your overheating car risks damaging your engine further, and this will cost you dearly to fix and leave a dent in your pocket.
Continuing to run your car with the engine overheating will likely distort/warp the cylinder heads and even melt delicate parts such as wiring, sensors, and belts.
The cost of fixing a warped head cylinder alone can range from $ 2,176 to $3,811. The cost of parts runs between $2,176 and $2,204 while labor will cost you between $1,190 and $1,501. Quite expensive, right?!
With this in mind, it’s better to stop driving your car as soon as your gauge spikes toward the red line.Car overheating after an oil change can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous problem. At MotorAdvices, we have articles that address a range of issues related to car overheating, including why your car might be overheating and smoking and what to do after an accident to prevent overheating. Our article on car overheating and smoking explains the possible causes of this issue and offers tips on how to avoid it. Additionally, our article on car overheating after an accident discusses the potential reasons for overheating and provides solutions to help you prevent damage to your engine. Visit MotorAdvices to learn more about how to keep your car running smoothly and avoid overheating, no matter what the cause.
Overheating and oil changes are usually two different issues and have nothing in common. The only possible explanation for why this is happening is if the technician who did the oil change for you made mistakes such as leaving the radiator cap off or interfering with coolant hoses, which will easily cause overheating. Have a reputable mechanic diagnose your overheating issue and resolve it for you.
Old oil is contaminated and therefore unable to lubricate your engine’s moving parts. Increased friction will produce excessive heat and your cooling system may be unable to keep up. This will eventually cause your engine to overheat.
Using low-quality oil is just as bad as using old oil. Bad-quality oil can’t efficiently minimize friction between the moving parts of your engine and this will result in engine overheating issues.
An oil change shouldn’t cause engine overheating unless you made a mistake during the oil change process. Common mistakes that service men do during oil changes include accidentally breaking coolant hoses, leaving the radiator cap off, not draining the oil pan, not replacing clogged or damaged air filter, and accidentally breaking the oil drain valve kit, oil filter, or the oil pan gasket.
Knowing the exact cause of the overheating issue will help you fix the problem and keep your car from overheating. A good mechanic will diagnose your car and find out the culprit and then fix it for you. Remember not to drive your car if it overheats after an oil change to avoid causing extensive damage to your engine that will cost you handsomely in repairs.