Car overheating after an oil change? Here are the reasons

Have you experienced this issue? If so, don’t panic because that’s a common mechanical problem that will be experienced by many motorists from time to time.

First and foremost, you should note that the new oil that you or your mechanic has put into your engine has nothing to do with the overheating problem. After all, engine oil should help not only lubricate the engine components but also cool off the engine.

However, how the job was done can be linked to the problem. For example, if the oil pan was not drained before putting in new oil, your engine may experience an overheating problem sooner or later.

The same can be said if a crucial oil system component such as the oil filter, oil pan gasket, or oil drain valve kit was damaged in the process.

Possible Causes of the Car Overheating After Oil Change

The Oil Pan Was Not Drained

The oil pan serves as a reservoir to hold oil that circulates through the engine back and forth. When changing oil, the first thing you should do is empty it of old oil.

Why? Because this oil is contaminated, dirty, and filled with engine particles and external debris. These impurities significantly affect the fluid’s fundamental characteristics that enable it to lubricate and cool off the engine.

By combining new oil with the old dirty oil, the mixture may not be fully effective at lubricating and cooling off your engine because of contamination with impurities from the previous oil. By the way, overheating is a common sign of dirty oil.

The Oil Filter Was Damaged

The oil filter serves to keep your engine oil free from all manner of impurities and contaminants. Just as the name sounds, it filters the new oil that is being poured into the oil pan.

Additionally, it consistently purifies the oil that has gotten inside the pan, making sure it remains clean. Otherwise, dirty, contaminated oil will not do a great job when it comes to reducing the friction between your engine components and the temperature that your internal combustion system is producing.

Unfortunately, the oil filter isn’t a damage-resistant component of the engine oil system. Without adequate precaution, you could easily damage it, causing the filter to lose its capabilities.

The Oil Drain Valve Kit Was Damaged

As the name implies, the oil drain valve kit is what allows you to drain dirty oil off of your oil pan. Located beneath the engine bay, this component is normally sealed with a gasket(a flat rubber ring) to prevent even the tiniest bits of oil from leaking.

Unfortunately, it’s one of the most critical and delicate components of the engine lubrication system. If damaged, it may not be able to effectively do its job(preventing oil from leaking), depending on the extent of the damage.

In case you didn’t know, an overheating engine is one of the surefire signs of oil leakage.

The Oil Pan Gasket Was Damaged

The role of the oil pan gasket is to seal the oil pan so that oil doesn’t escape as it flows from the pan to the engine and vice versa.

A damaged gasket will not effectively prevent oil from escaping from the pan and this can lead to consistently low oil levels in the engine, a major culprit of overheating.

Unfortunately, the oil pan gasket just like the oil filter or drain valve kit isn’t immune to damage. Matter of fact, it’s one of the most delicate components of the engine lubrication system.

Without taking enough precautions during the engine oil change process, you can easily break it.

Can An Oil Change Really Affect Overheating?

The answer is yes. Clean engine oil helps cool off an overheating engine to some extent. Matter of fact, it serves as a supplementary cooling system that contributes to the role of your primary cooling system.

How to Fix a Car that Overheats After An Oil Change?

The answer depends on what’s causing the overheating problem. For example, if it’s dirty oil because the oil pan was not drained during the oil change process, drain the pan and put clean oil into it.

Meanwhile, if it’s a damaged oil filter, replace the filter with a new one. Likewise, invest in a new oil drain valve kit if your existing kit is broken and causing overheating.

Similarly, replace your oil pan gasket if your existing pan, which is faulty, is what’s causing the engine to overheat.

Is It OK To Drive If the Engine Overheats?

The short answer is no. Otherwise doing so means running the risk of distorting(warping) your cylinder heads and melting the more delicate components such as wiring, belts, and sensors.

Taking all these dangers into account, it’s better to cool down an overheated car first before driving it.

What Is the Fastest Way To Cool Down An Overheated Car?

You can cool down an overheated engine faster by making the water pump and fan work faster, pulling more water and more air through the radiator.

This action leads to increased water and air circulation within the engine, cooling down the car faster. To perform this trick, switch the gear to Park or Neutral and then rev the engine.


Your engine should not overheat after changing the oil unless you made a mistake during the oil change process. These include not draining the oil pan or breaking the oil filter, oil drain valve kit, and/or the oil pan gasket.

If the problem is due to not draining the oil pan, you can resolve it by draining the pan and putting in new oil. But if it’s because of damaging one or two of the component(s) above, you can fix your engine simply by replacing the damaged component(s).

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