How do I start a car after running out of oil?

I bought my daughter a car without teaching her the basics of car maintenance. After 15,000 miles, she never changed the oil. Her oil light came on and she called me for assistance. In hindsight, this is my fault. But how do I fire up the engine if the car is out of oil?

Answer
Engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle, so running the car without oil can damage vital engine parts! In the future, teach your daughter basic maintenance. But for now, stop running the car, drain the remaining oil, and take out the spark plugs.
More specifically, follow these instructions to start your car after running out of oil:
  • If you hear a thumping sound, or like you mentioned, the oil warning light is on, refrain from starting the car.
  • Check the oil dipstick to ensure that a lack of oil is the problem.
  • Drain the oil and check for metallic specks, which can signify engine damage.
  • If you find specks, have your car towed to a mechanic. If not, replace the oil plug and top off the oil.
  • Take out the spark plugs and the fuel pump fuse. Let the car sit for a few days.
  • Use a breaker bar to turn the crankshaft a few rotations.
  • Reinstall the spark plugs and fuel pump fuse.
  • Put the key in the ignition and turn it to the accessories position. This should help the oil circulate.
  • Fire up the engine and listen for any thumping or knocking.
  • If everything sounds good, start the car.
  • Do a test drive for 10-20 minutes.
Hopefully, this solves the issue. Remind your daughter to get an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles to avoid any problems in the future.
If your daughter doesn’t know about engine maintenance, she also may not know how much money she can save on car insurance through the Jerry app.
As a licensed broker, Jerry can help you find and compare quotes from over 50 top providers in minutes. When you find a better rate, Jerry can help you buy your new coverage and even cancel your old policy!
Eric Schad
Answered on Nov 25, 2021
Eric Schad has been a freelance writer for nearly a decade, as well as an SEO specialist and editor for the past five years. Before getting behind the keyboard, he worked in the finance and music industries (the perfect combo). With a wide array of professional and personal experiences, he’s developed a knack for tone and branding across many different verticals. Away from the computer, Schad is a blues guitar shredder, crazed sports fan, and always down for a spontaneous trip anywhere around the globe.
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