What Happens If Your Car Runs Out of Engine Oil? The Truth!

One thing for sure is that oil is the blood of your vehicle so without oil, your engine will not be able to function. Not only that, but not having any oil in your vehicle or even dirty oil will eventually lead to extreme engine wear, and driving a car that’s low on oil can damage the engine costing your pocket.

What Happens If Your Car Runs Out of Engine Oil?

If you run out of engine oil while you are driving then you can expect your engine to fail. You may not know, but inside your engine, there are a lot of fast-moving parts with various potential friction.

It’s safe to say that engine oil plays a very important role since it is the lubricant that helps to keep the parts moving against each other smoothly without actually grinding down on each other.

So, if the engine runs out of oil, you can expect these moving parts to start grinding, then seize up resulting in the vehicle stalling. At this point, your engine will be damaged and possible ruin. The sad truth is that many drivers don’t get a heads-up about the low oil until it is too late.

You will surely find that newer vehicles come equipped with more diagnostic tools like an engine oil pressure sensor unit and dashboard tools that will certainly indicate when the oil is low. However, in older vehicles, the driver has the manually check the oil themselves as the check oil light is not good enough to inform them when it comes to low oil.

It’s best to keep in mind that having an engine running out of oil rarely happens. Whenever this occurs it is probably because of a hole in the oil pan or the person who changes the oil forgets to properly tighten the drain plug which results in oil leaks.

How Long Can An Engine Run Without Oil?

What Happens If Your Car Runs Out of Engine Oil

Engine oil is very important and plays a vital role in the functioning of your engine, so it is definitely needed in order for your engine to run properly. As mentioned above, engine oil allows the moving parts within the engine to slide against each other without any issue, so without oil in the engine, the parts will begin to grind on each other causing extreme wear.

It usually takes up to 30 minutes before any form of damage starts to occur. You can expect the engine to stall within 30 minutes and the result is pretty much the same for all engine types out there.

What Does a Car Sound Like When It’s Out of Engine Oil?

There is no doubt that you will start to hear a weird sound coming from the engine room as the parts begin to touch each other because of no oil. These noises can be different base on the moving parts.

You will likely hear a rattling noise coming from the piston because no engine oil passes between the piston and cylinder bore. However, as the clearance between the crankshaft and bearings become wider, it will then produce a loud noise.

How to Fix a Car That Ran Out of Oil?

As soon as you notice that your car has run out of oil, the first thing you should do is find somewhere to pull over and try to reach an auto repair shop with a tow truck.

The mechanic will then inspect the engine and fix the parts that have been damaged. We don’t think it is a good idea to allow your car to run out of oil because the fix can be expensive depending on the parts that have been damaged.

The mechanic will eventually provide you with a schedule so that you will know when your next oil change is due so that you can prevent this from ever happening to you again.


We all know how costly it can be for your car whenever it runs out of oil, so it is always best to avoid this from ever happening. Most new cars actually have an indicator that shows when there is a low oil level. The sad news is that some older vehicles may not have this feature.

If that’s the case you can check the oil level yourself with a dipstick and rubbing the oil between your fingers will inform you about the oil condition and the dirt particles within it.

We always recommend taking the time out to change your oil when necessary as oil is the blood of your engine.