Fixing an engine that has been overfilled with oil is very straightforward with the right tools! Without the right tools, it almost means draining the oil and starting again.
But don’t panic. This article explains which tools you’ll need and how best to use them to remove the excess oil. And, for even more good news, it’s a pretty clean, easy method that anyone can do without getting too dirty!
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You can use two variations of a simple siphon tool to easily remove overfilled engine oil. I guess you could say the VICRING fluid extractor is a budget version. The other Four Uncles oil changer is more of a professional garage tool. Deciding which to use would depend on how much oil you need to remove and if you will ever be doing this type of thing again. I.e., the Four Uncles oil changer can be used to remove fuel from a fuel tank, overfilled coolant, and oil from an engine.
FOUR UNCLES Oil Changer Vacuum Fluid ExtractorCHECK PRICE
VICRING Fluid Extractor 200CC Oil Extractor PumpCHECK PRICE
Using a siphon pump to remove overfilled engine oil
No matter which type of siphon pump you use to remove the oil, the method is the same. Almost anyone can do this method with very little mechanical knowledge; as long as you know how to check and top the oil up, you should be able to do this by following the below steps.
- Completely remove the oil dipstick from the engine.
- Measure the bottom of the siphon tube against the dipstick to the measurement markers. Take note; this is how far down you need to push the siphon tube into the engine.
- Insert the siphon tube into the dipstick tube hole and push down until it’s the same depth as the dipstick would have been.
- Pump the siphon to remove the oil from the engine until satisfied you have removed enough. Both siphon pumps I’ve recommended have a measurement reading on the side so you can take an educated guess.
- Remove the siphon and recheck the oil level.
- If necessary, repeat the process until the oil level is correct.
- If you’ve accidentally removed too much oil, carefully top the oil back up with fresh oil, ensuring you don’t overfill the engine again.
- Do not forget to replace the oil engine cap and dipstick before closing the hood.
Unfortunately, the other methods of removing excess engine oil involve draining the oil by removing the sump plug at the bottom of the engine, basically performing an oil change. If you’re quick enough, you can pull the sump plug out and reinsert it once you have drained some oil. It’s rather tricky to do this on the driveway with the car raised on trolley jacks while trying to catch the oil. It also makes a huge mess and is quite risky as you will nearly always drain most, if not all, of the oil out of the engine. So it might be worth just starting over again if you choose not to invest in a fluid extractor.
Now, it may be a good idea to carry out a complete oil and filter change depending on why the engine is overfilled. The oil and filter should be changed at least annually or depending on the driving around every 10,000 miles.
So, if the engine oil has been overfilled by mistake, topping the oil level up after, say, only 8,000 miles, this is where it may be a good idea to carry out a complete oil and filter change rather than trying to remove a small amount. For one, changing the oil is an excellent, essential maintenance task and if you need another reason, buying the tools to remove a small amount of overfilled oil could go towards performing the oil change.
How to not overfill engine oil
If you find yourself regularly topping up the oil but accidentally keep overfilling it, please remember that the oil level is good if it is between the minimum and maximum marker; it doesn’t need to be right on the maximum marker to be correct. About halfway between the two is perfect.
The other thing to remember is between the top and bottom marker on most car dipsticks usually equals about 1 liter of oil. So if the dipstick is on the bottom marker, it is fine; however, to top it up, you should only add half a liter to keep it well within the maximum line.
Another thing to remember is to ensure you use the correct oil even when just topping up the oil. Mixing oil weights is never a good idea.
How often should you check and top up engine oil?
You’ve put the oil level right now; how often should you check the oil level? Well, it should be part of a monthly quick car maintenance check. That consists of checking the tires, oil, and all other fluid levels.
It is also very good practice to check up and top up the oil level before any long drives. For example when going off on holiday for the weekend, and you’re about to carry out a three or 4-hour drive.
Disposing of oil
Oil is a hazardous product that can’t just be poured down the drain, even if the oil is new or, regardless of the amount, that is illegal! If you have removed a small amount of overfilled oil, creating a storage container for oil out of an old oil container is best. Collect it until you’re ready to dispose of it, then find your nearest recycling center that will accept oil. You may also find that some well-known garages will accept and recycle this for you free of charge.
As you can see, removing excess engine oil is relatively straightforward with the right tools. It doesn’t need to be a messy job that requires completely removing and replacing the oil and filter. However in some instances, that is best. Remember, once you remove the overfilled oil, that oil should disposed of correctly. Disposing of it in the wrong way is not only illegal but also harmful to the environment.