What Does Your Car Sound Like When It Needs Oil?

You know very well that you need to take care of the engine because it is the most expensive part of your car.

If you’re hearing new noises and haven’t checked the oil level recently, you have every right to be concerned. And, you also want to know, what does your car sound like when it needs oil? A clicking, ticking, or rattling noise is a common sign that your engine doesn’t have enough oil.

The noises occur because there is not enough oil to effectively lubricate the engine parts. If you top up the oil on your engine, you can remove this problem. Engine knocking sounds are rarer when the oil level is low, and this is more indicative of carbon build-up in the engine. To know other information please, read on.

No Oil In Car Symptoms

It is important to spot the signs that your car is low on oil. Some signs to look for are engine noise, activated warning lights, visible smoke, and vehicle performance issues. For a more detailed list, here are some obvious signs that your car is low or no oil:

Dirty Engine Oil

Most modern cars have an oil dipstick, which makes it easy to determine the original oil level. But in cars that have no dipstick, the consistency and appearance indicate the oil level.

When a power mill is inadequately lubricated, its engine oil collects more particles and dirt. These engine oils lose their lubricating features and appear thick and sloppy.

The tricky part is that you won’t find it unless you regularly inspect your fluids — so, you must check your oil level regularly.

Read More About Dirty Engine Oil

Strong Engine Noises

When a car runs low on oil, it’s no surprise to hear a clicking, clunking, and knocking noises. This is another low-engine oil symptom. The metal pieces aren’t grinding against each other, but are doing so due to the absence of lubrication.

Sufficient lubrication is crucial because the elements of the engine’s smooth operation are critical to car performance. As such, when you hear these sounds you must not neglect or delay in determining the source of their problem.

Burning Oil Smell

A pungent or thick burning oil smell can mean one of two things: you’re driving with too low an oil level or without engine oil. Both are equally dangerous and can indicate an oil leak.

Notably, if you are on the road, and after recognizing this smell, get to safety as soon as possible. And make sure you always have extra engine oil in your trunk for such situations. It’s best to be cautious when dealing with these issues.


Engine overheating is one of the more common no-oil-in-car symptoms. This sign is expected because inadequately lubricated engine equipment is more likely to cause friction.

Heat production is an integral part of combustion. And it doesn’t help that low oil levels negatively enhance this process.

Smoke From Under Your Engine Hood

You show visible smoke because of engine overheating. Besides this, you’ll notice it coming from under the hood of your car. It is more alarming to have no oil among the car symptoms. Even so, it means that a car fire could occur anytime soon.

Engine Failure

Entire engine failure is a scenario that all vehicle owners do their best to avoid. Even if it’s more of a consequence than a symptom.

 It is not only difficult but also expensive, and rightly so. Engine failure won’t happen unless you’ve been running your power mill on the ground.

How Long Does It Take To Damage An Engine Without Oil

As you know an engine without oil can take up to 30 minutes to catch fire. But that doesn’t mean significant damage won’t occur during that time.

Oil in engines acts in various capacities as a coating to prevent friction and wear between metal elements. Without this coating, metal elements heat up quickly, shedding tiny particles and other critical fragments as they become damaged.

These pieces cause further engine damage and degradation as they scratch and scrape between the engine’s moving parts. Additionally, it will eventually lead to the deterioration of a component within the engine to the point of failure.

How soon this failure happens depends on how regularly you care for the engine. Most importantly, you should remember that running without oil will eventually damage all engines.

The Danger Of Driving a Car With Low Oil:

One of the most essential parts of car maintenance is taking care of your engine. This is why it’s essential to change your car oil frequently. We want to make you aware of the dangers of driving a car with low oil. Have a look at why low oil levels can be potentially dangerous for your car.

Excessive Wear May Occur

When you drive with a low oil level, you run the risk of damaging the engine moving parts. Because engine oil comes to provide lubrication for the moving parts of your engine. The lower the engine, these parts may experience friction. This may cause additional part wear. Over time, it can damage your engine prematurely.

How Long Does It Take To Damage An Engine Without Oil

Higher Temperature

In addition, with enhanced friction in your engine, your vehicle’s operating temperature will be higher. This may cause the vehicle to overheat. Moreover, if your car operates in warm weather conditions, you can blow the engine which will lead to a big repair bill.

Enhanced Fuel Consumption

Another consequence of running your car low on oil is enhanced fuel consumption. When your engine works with more friction, it will need more fuel to function properly. This means that you need to consume more fuel to get from point A to point B. Ultimately, at the fuel pump, it will cost you more.

Rust and corrosion

Finally, if you drive your car with low engine oil level rust and corrosion may occur you should remember.

Final Word:

Ultimately, it’s not normal to hear a tapping or ticking sound from your car’s engine. So, when you hear knocking, ticking, or rattling noises, it means your engine does not have enough oil.

Noise is caused by the engine’s inability to efficiently lubricate its components. That’s why you should always check your oil level frequently.

Overall, make sure you put up the oil in time. Ergo, if you do it there will not be any problem with your engine. However, we hope from here you get a proper answer about what does your car sound like when it needs oil?

Read Also: Overdue Oil Change Symptoms


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.