Does Motor Oil Freeze? The Shocking Truth!

When it comes to winter driving, one question you may start asking yourself is, does motor oil freeze? Cold temperatures can do a lot of damage to your vehicle, including the oil in its engine.

In this article, we are going to explain everything you need to know about motor oil freezing, so continue reading to learn more.

Does Motor Oil Freeze?

The good news is that engine oil should never freeze. Although it may thicken in cold temperatures, it does not solidify to a solid state. However, because of the loss of viscosity, the oil will not be able to function and lubricate the engine as it should.

With that said, if your engine is not properly oiled, there is a higher chance that your car will sustain damage during the cold weather.

What is the Freezing Point of Motor Oil?

Does Motor Oil Freeze

It is safe to say that motor oil typically thickens up between -20°C and -60°C, although this varies depending on the type of oil you use. Furthermore, viscosity also plays a vital role in determining its freezing point.

Cold weather can affect motor oil viscosity, causing the liquid to become thickened which leads to it losing its flow rate and making it harder for it to lubricate the engine components.

Due to this risk, it is always recommended to use motor oil with low viscosity during winter seasons.

Synthetic oils tend to perform better at low temperatures when compared to conventional oils due to fewer wax components and a lower pour point.

Read Also: Is Synthetic Oil Flammable 

Does Motor Oil Freeze at Cold Temperatures?

The short answer is no. Motor oil doesn’t freeze because it doesn’t solidify or crystallize at any temperature. Instead, when cold, it thickens and loses its fluidity, making it harder for the oil to circulate in your engine and provide lubrication efficiently.

Apart from that, it is best to keep in mind that driving in cold temperatures weakens your battery, making it more difficult to start your vehicle. If you want to avoid such issues, it is best to take precautions before embarking on any journey during winter or other times when temperatures drop.

You can use high-quality oils designed for cold weather conditions and add antifreeze to your car’s coolant and gas tank. These will lower the freezing point of your oil, preventing it from thickening up. Another thing you can do is heat it before going on your journey as this is another option to reduce its thickening potential.

What Happens If Motor Oil Freezes?

You dont have to ever worry about your motor oil freezing because it won’t. However, the thing is that cold weather can thicken your oil, restricting circulation and decreasing its flow rate. This is not ideal as it could make your engine run poorly and lead to pre-ignition, knocking, overheating, or even engine seizure.

You can lower the freezing point of your motor oil by adding anti-freeze to the bottle. However, only small amounts should be added for maximum effectiveness.

When temperatures drop, it’s best to switch your motor oil to ones that are specifically formulated for cold climates. This could either be a 5w30 or 0W depending on where you live and the climate.

Can Motor Oil Be Stored Outdoors in the Winter?

Most manufacturers stated that the shelf life of an unopened bottle of motor oil is between 2-5 years. However, it is not a good idea to keep your motor oil outside during the cold seasons. Even though the freezing temperature will not cause the engine oil to freeze, it does ruin the fluid.

There’s no doubt that motor oil and gasoline, should be stored indoors. Also, make sure it is not placed at extreme temperatures as this could cause the chemical composition to get scrambled which could lead to the oil losing performance.

If you live somewhere where the temperature is freezing, make sure to keep your motor oil inside even the garage may be a safe haven.

Learn More: What Does Engine Oil Smell Like

How to Safely Warm Up a Car Fast in the Winter

At this point, you may want to avoid the risk of cold motor oil. However, there are steps you can take to make things simpler for yourself and your car. One such practice is warming your engine faster when it’s cold in the morning.

  • Make sure everything is properly turned off and the reason for this is because the battery and engine may be a bit sluggish. So, make sure all electronics are properly turned off.
  • You can now go ahead and turn on the vehicle. Let the engine crank for a few seconds, if you’re having trouble turning it on. Make sure to let it rest between attempts.
  • If it’s a case where your car is not starting, then it is best to remove the battery and have it warm up inside. You can even jump the battery.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does motor oil freeze in winter?

You can prevent your motor oil from freezing in the wintertime by adding antifreeze to the coolant or using special motor oil designed for cold climates. Alternatively, opt for thinner oils that can withstand lower temperatures, such as full synthetic engine oil.

Q. Can motor oil freeze solid?

No, there is no way for motor oil to freeze to the point where it is solid. The reason for this is that there is no place as cold as sub-zero, so there is no chance for your motor oil to freeze.


Many people are actually curious about whether or not motor oil can freeze. Well, the thing is that Motor oil does not freeze but it can become cold and thick preventing it from doing its job properly. If you want to protect your vehicle from damage, it is best to ensure that oil has enough time to warm up and become more fluid, since this is the best way to prevent anything bad from happening to your engine.