What Happens If You Use Wrong Engine Oil?

This is one of the most damaging things you can do to your engine. Using the wrong engine oil reduces not just the vehicle’s performance but also its longevity. Engine oils come in a variety of brands and are designed for certain engines and conditions. Ignoring your manufacturer’s recommendation could cost you your engine as well as a lot of money.

Wrong Engine Oil

The engine oil is an important component of your car that must be properly maintained. In this post, I’ll explain not just what happens when you use the wrong oil, but also how to fix it.

What Is Engine Oil

Engine oil is a viscous liquid that lubricates the engine’s components. Lubrication reduces friction between moving parts and allows your engine to run more effectively. Other important functions of the engine oil include cooling, cleaning, corrosion prevention, and enhancing engine performance and durability.

One important aspect of engine oil is that they are available in different weights or viscosity. Oil viscosity is a measure of flow resistance. Popular examples are 5W-30, 0W-20, 15W-40, 5W-40, etc. Some of these viscosities are suitable for cold temperatures, while others are suitable for hot temperatures.

The letter “W” stands for winter. The number in front of the W denotes the viscosity of the oil in cold conditions. The lesser the number, the less viscous and runnier the engine oil at low temperatures. The second figure after the W represents the oil’s viscosity at operating temperature.

The oil you use must be compatible with the engine’s type and condition. When it comes to selecting the right oil for your vehicle, the owner’s manual is the best place to start.

You also can visit oilsadvisor.com to know more about oil specifications used for your vehicle.

What Happens If You Use Wrong Engine Oil?

Your car will perform optimally if you use the proper oil. Furthermore, using the wrong oil can cause your vehicle to underperform or perform badly. View the explanations below.

Wrong Engine Oil

Oil Leak

Older vehicles generally perform better with mineral-based oil. This is because of the condition of the engine. The majority of high mileage or older engines already have wear to parts and seals. Conventional oil has a higher viscosity and will protect old seals and gaskets better.

Synthetic oil is thinner than conventional oil and therefore flows more easily. While it is good in terms of lubrication, it is bad in terms of leaks. Oil leaks on the floor are unpleasant and hazardous to the environment. Thinner oils can leak around gaskets and seals, if leaks are visible, you will want to address this as soon as possible.

Engine Overheating

When you use the wrong engine oil, it results in poor lubrication, which causes the engine to overheat. The greater the thickness, the greater the resistance and heat generated. The role of oil is not simply to lubricate but also to act as a cooling agent.

If you used a thicker oil that was higher in viscosity than the manufacturer’s recommendation, for instance, your owner’s manual specified 0W-20 oil and you used 10W-40 oil. The engine would struggle to circulate the thicker oil throughout the engine. This will increase friction between metal surfaces and lead to high engine temperatures. For best engine performance, always use the correct oil grade as advised by the car manufacturer.

Reduced Fuel Economy

When you choose a higher viscosity oil instead of the suggested lower viscosity oil, it will affect your fuel economy.  A more viscous oil will cause the engine to work harder, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency. 

If you notice that you’re refueling your car more frequently, your engine may be working harder to keep it running and will consume fuel more quickly. Using the appropriate viscosity oils will improve your engine’s efficiency and enhance its fuel economy.

Cause Damage to Engine Life

Every engine is designed and engineered to use a precise weight of oil. Using the wrong oil can cause severe harm to your engine. An unsuitable oil type will result in a shorter lifespan of the engine.

An oil that is too light can result in a lack of sufficient oil pressure, which can lead to bearing failure. If it is too heavy, the oil may not reach key parts and wear will occur. It would be reckless not to use the specified viscosity of motor oil for your vehicle. The end result could be less protection which can damage to the engine.

How to fix

You can see how detrimental using the wrong oil type can be to your engine. Simply following your manufacturer’s recommendations will help you avoid these issues. However, if you used the wrong oil by accident or started experiencing any of the symptoms we’ve discussed, you should have your car evaluated and the oil replaced immediately.

RodsShop exists to provide current automotive services that make vehicle repairs easier and affordable. RodsShop is the perfect solution if you prefer doing things yourself. We are enjoy answering all your “How do I fix my car?” questions.


It is impossible to overstate the importance of engine oil. The right engine oil is essential for optimal lubrication and the general health of the engine. Oil viscosity varies, and the properties of various types of oils differ. The proper oil will ensure that your vehicle performs at its best. The recommended oil for your vehicle can be found in your owner’s manual. Or you could speak with a dealership.

If you are already having the symptoms listed above, need assistance picking the best oil for your engine, or perhaps want to fix it yourself, visit RodsShop for an innovative solution to all of your needs.

Ryan McCain


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