What To Do If Oil Spilled On Engine: Tips And Solution

Actually, oil spills in your car’s engine are a common occurrence. You may suddenly add oil to your engine then something distracts you and spills into the vehicle.

In such a situation, you may panic and not know what to do. Don’t worry; clean up spilled oil on the engine using a degreaser and rags to break up the pores. After a short cleaning process, you’ll be out of danger. Let’s find out what to do when your engine spills oil.

spilled oil on engine when filling

What Do You Do If You Spill Oil On Engine?

Suddenly, you’ve spilled oil on the engine where it shouldn’t be, and it’s out of your machine. What do you do about it? What if you give up? And how do you clean it properly? Here are some tips if your engine has an oil spill.

Finish Filling The Engine

Before you deal with your oil spill, finish what you started, no matter how big or small. If spilled oil on the engine when filling, stop the filling.

Top up your engine oil to the proper level above the hash mark on the dipstick. You can spill again, so why clean it twice? Add it to your tool collection if you’re not using a funnel. It’s because you can prevent this kind of mess in the future.

Accessible Oil Wipes

Some of that spilled engine oil is getting out of reach. Anything accessible should be covered with a clean paper towel. Clean up as much oil as possible – if you don’t deal with it, it will be a problem.

If oil spills on electrical parts or moving belts and pulleys, pay specific attention to wiping it off thoroughly. Applying oil to a serpentine belt will cause the belt to stop.

Plus, oil can cause the rubber to swell and corrode over time. Generally, if your car has an oil slick under it, wipe it off. There is no need to introduce it into the environment.

Wash The Engine

Using a spray can on a degreaser, carefully pour the oil onto the spilled area. Like washing soap in cooking oil, it cuts grease so it can be washed away. Once you give the oil, sometimes to dissolve, wash it off with a garden hose or pressure washer.

Run Your Engine

After you wash the engine, start it. Don’t panic if the belt squeaks or smells funny at first. Oil residue, water, and degreaser on the belt can make quite a ding. But this should go away in a minute or two.

Both engine oil residue and degreaser can cause an odor as they heat up and burn. That’s why running your engine in a well-ventilated area is a good idea.

What Happens If The Oil Spill Is Not Clean?

If you want to ignore your oil spill, it’s not only messy and dirty; it can be dangerous. While driving, the serpentine belt will come off; even you can lose power steering and other functions.

Most importantly, spilled oil can increase the hazard of fire. Hot oil and hot steel are a terrible combination in the presence of an electric spark.

spilled oil on engine when filling

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. What happens if you spill oil on your engine?

Spilling oil on your vehicle’s engine has no direct consequences. In addition, it doesn’t directly damage your car’s equipment, leaving an ugly mess that’s hard to clean. Even so, spilling oil on your engine can have dangerous consequences.

Oil spillage can affect essential vehicle equipment, such as the serpentine belt, which runs various peripheral devices. Besides this, it allows you to drive your vehicle.

Consequently, you will lose control of your car and possibly cause a fatal accident. Therefore, it is a security concern that needs quick attention.

Q. Can spilling engine oil cause a fire?

The short answer is yes. Well, spilling oil in the engine can cause a fire. Although engine oil is not explosive, its volatile nature means it can catch fire when exposed to particular conditions. When oil spills on the engine outside, it’s exposed to a lot of heat and friction.

The heat from your car’s metal equipment can ignite the oil spilled and cause a fire. Additionally, this considerable risk can damage your vehicle’s tools and compromise your safety.

Q. How long does it take for oil to burn off your engine?

If your car is new, you may be able to go longer before changing your oil. Basically, your average car burns about a quart of oil every 3000 miles. However, if you notice that your car burns 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles or less, you should be concerned.

Q. Is it wrong to spill oil on an engine?

You may think it’s not a big deal but spilling oil on your engine has terrible effects. Hence, if you spill oil, it can block your engine. The spillage could ruin your car components and lead to catastrophic outcomes.

That means it could endanger your safety and your loved ones. So, it’s a good idea to remove the spillage oil on your engine as soon as possible.

Q. Will Oil Cause Smoke?

If you overfill your car, the following may occur: Spilled oil on the engine white smoke. Mainly, thick oil and white exhaust smoke burn the oil in the engine block. Besides this, other fluids coolants or antifreeze may be the culprit.

Read Also: Car Leaking Oil After Oil Change

Final Word

In conclusion, if you’ve spilled oil on the engine, you know that’s very frustrating and difficult to clean. Not only is it a mess, but it’s also dangerous if you don’t clean it properly. Though oil is flammable, it can catch fire and burn. Basically, engine oil is produced not to catch fire.

If you spill oil on it and it burns, it will probably go out quickly. On the other hand, though spilled oil isn’t very worrying, it can damage your engine. After spilling oil on your machines, you should clean it up quickly and adequately.


I am Engr. Z Eusuf Lubricant Specialist, Mechanical Engineer & has been working with engine lubricants for a long time and knows what makes them work best. I can help you find the right oil for your needs, and I have tips on how to keep your engine running at its best.