Will Adding Oil Make Car Start?

Cars are essential assets in our daily life. However, it can be quite frustrating when your car refuses to start. Several factors, like a dead battery, faulty fuel pump, carbon-fouled spark plugs, clogged fuel filter, wrong engine timing, corroded battery terminals, lousy starter motor, etcetera, can prevent your car from starting. But will adding oil make a car start?

If the engine oil is low and it is preventing the car from starting, adding oil will make the car start. However, it is essential to note that adding oil will not make it start if the engine is not starting due to a different issue.

In this article, I’ll explain why motor oil is necessary to make a car start, the consequences of starting your car without adding motor oil, and no oil in car symptoms. Grab a seat and a cup of coffee while I uncover all you need to know.

Will Adding Oil Make Car Start?

Why motor oil is necessary to make a car start?

In some cases, a car with no oil will start fine and run as if nothing happens. However, running a vehicle with no or lack of engine oil will cause degradation to many internal engine parts, resulting in severe damage to the cylinder walls, pistons, crankshaft, and connecting rods.

However, some newer car models will not start once you run low on engine oil. I have severally had first-hand experience with this. Most newer model cars are built with futuristic technology that prevents the vehicle from starting, so there won’t be damage to the internal engine parts.

Starting a car with no oil is never advisable because it is detrimental to the internal engine parts and your pocket. Motor oil is likened to human blood; without it, the engine can not survive. Below are the purposes of engine oil and why motor oil is necessary to make a car start and keep the engine running smoothly.


The primary function of motor oil is to lubricate internal engine parts and reduce friction, wear, and tear to the barest minimum. A typical internal combustion engine consists of several reciprocating parts that work in harmony to generate the power to run the engine. 

Without the engine oil, these internal parts will rub against each other, causing friction, which may eventually lead to a catastrophic engine breakdown.


Another essential purpose of motor oil is to cool the engine. It does this by reducing friction and by dissipating heat away from the engine. When the engine heats up, the motor oil starts breaking up, making it easier to absorb the engine heat.


The internal combustion engine accumulates dirt over time through air and fuel. This dirt makes the engine run less effectively. The engine oil helps clean the accumulated dirt and enhance the engine performance. The engine oil flushes out contaminants in the engine, while the oil filter prevents these contaminants from recirculating back into the engine.

Overall, some new model cars feature a futuristic technology that prevents the vehicle from starting since starting the engine without motor oil is detrimental. So, if you are wondering, my car ran out of oil and stopped running, do not panic. It is normal. All you have to do is top the oil or change it if it is due for an oil change. You should check if there’s a leak somewhere in the engine and fix it to prevent the new oil from leaking out.

Can I drive my car straight after putting oil in? You don’t have to wait for anything after changing engine oil. 30 to 45 seconds of idling the engine for proper circulation is enough. How long should you wait to start your car after putting oil in it? After idling the engine for 30 to 45 seconds, you can drive off to wherever you are going, provided the engine oil is gauged.

What will happen if you start your car without adding Oil?

A car engine has several reciprocating parts that move in close tolerance. These reciprocating parts move at a very high speed. The engine features an oil pump, which pushes oil toward these reciprocating parts to develop a tiny layer between them and prevent accelerated wear.

Driving a car with no oil will cause catastrophic engine damage. When there’s no engine oil to form a tiny layer between the moving engine parts, these parts will rub against each other at a very high speed. It’s just a matter of seconds or a few minutes to kill the engine.

Simply put, starting car with no oil in the engine will cause irreversible damage. No oil in an engine will cause accelerated friction between reciprocating engine parts, which means they will grind against each other, wear out, and fail. If this continues for long, the only solution will be to replace the engine.

Will adding oil make car start?

As explained earlier, several factors can cause an engine not to start. If low or no engine oil is not the cause why the car refuses to start, then adding engine oil will not fix the problem. It is like taking paracetamol for stomach aches because people take it when sick. However, adding engine oil will make it start if the engine refuses to start due to low or no oil.

Lastly, check the engine oil level if you think your car refused to start due to low or no engine oil. If there’s no oil on the dipstick, add motor oil and start the car. But if the oil is gauged, you have to diagnose the problem with the vehicle and fix the root cause of the problem.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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