What Happens if You Use the Wrong Motor Oil in Your Engine? 2024

Last Updated on February 2, 2024 by John Robinson

Your engine will work harder to make up for the ‘bad’ oil, and as a result, will not run at optimum efficiency. The viscosity of the oil weight will most likely be incorrect, and so it will struggle to coat the engine and get it going. This will develop into symptoms you can easily spot.

  • Your engine won’t start in cold weatherYour engine won’t start in cold weather

If your engine is having a hard time starting in cold weather, it could be that your oil is too thick. Certain oils, like synthetic oils, have a much thinner viscosity in cold weather, making it easier to coat the engine and get it going.

An older engine might start to leak if you’re using synthetic oil instead of conventional oil.

Although synthetic oil certainly has many perks (apart from the price), it is specifically designed to get into small crevices. As such, it’s not as thick as conventional oil, and so it can easily leak if it starts to push through your old engine’s cracks. If you have an older car and notice it’s leaking, then switching to conventional oil might stop the leak.

  • The smell of burning oil

Low viscosity in your oil might mean that the oil will begin to break down in hotter climates and burn up. This can lead to permanent engine damage from wear and tear, so if you smell burning oil, instead switch it out with something more appropriate for your engine.

  • Ticking engine

A ticking engine is always a bad sign. You’ll most likely hear the ticking the loudest right after starting the machine and will slowly die down as you drive. This is a sign of heavy oil that can’t reach all the engine components, and as a result, the parts begin ‘knocking’ against each other, creating some severe wear and tear.

It is best to switch out to an oil that is more appropriate for your engine. Synthetics, in particular, are pretty effective in keeping machines safe in colder climates.

Will thicker oil damage my engine?

What Happens if You Use the Wrong Motor Oil in Your Engine

It can in the long term. An engine needs to run with specific viscosity. Too thick, and it won’t coat the machine correctly, and your engine will be working overtime to pump oil. If it’s too thin, it can lead to less protection and low oil pressure, resulting in wear and tear.

Instead, buy the oil that your manufacturer recommended.

Will thicker oil stop oil burning?

Will thicker oil stop oil burning

This depends on why your engine is burning oil.

If your engine is burning oil because the piston rings have worn out, then a thicker oil might help coat the rings and give you a bit more mileage before you have to either repair or scrap. However, this trick might be no work on newer models, as their engines require lighter viscosity to function. A thicker oil might create more problems.

If the engine is burning oil because your oil rings are sludge-up, it is better to clean out the engine instead of switching to a lighter viscosity oil to prevent more build-up. Synthetics, in particular, work well in that regard.

But it depends on the car, weather, and oil. Instead, check with an auto-shop before switching out your old oil for something different.

Will heavier oil stop smoke?

Will heavier oil stop smoke

If your engine is spewing smoke like a chain-smoker, your best bet is to get it some thicker oil to help coat the valve stem seals and rings. Diesel engine fuel is quite heavy and will help keep your car running for a bit longer.

But an engine that is smoking this badly is often quite near the end of its life; the best you’ll be able to achieve is a few more days of driving before it breaks down completely.

John Robinson
John Robinson

Howdy! I’m John Robinson from Levittown, New York. I am a mechanical engineer for 15 years and already had an established car repair company. I developed a personal relationship with cars since I was a kid. I always love the sounds and smell emitted by a car or truck and even at construction machinery. Since then I have been married but my love for cars only grew.