How Hot Does Engine Oil Get?

I’m a little worried. A warning light came on in my Suburu today saying “At Oil Temp”. I’ve never seen that before, and I don’t know why my oil would be hotter than normal. How hot does engine oil normally get?

Patrick Price · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
The “At Oil Temp” light is never good! I’m sorry to hear your car is having that issue.
Normally, you want your engine oil to be between 220-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Past 275 degrees it will start to break down. But the “At Oil Temp” light actually refers to your transmission oil—which should generally stay at or below 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your engine temperature is way too high, or if you smell burning, then your engine oil might be overheated. Have a mechanic look at your coolant system.
However, unless something is wrong, your engine won’t typically get much hotter than 220 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if your engine oil is too hot, it likely means your engine is overheating (possibly due to a problem with the coolant system).
It’s far more common for your transmission oil to overheat than your engine oil. Which, again, is what that At Oil Temp light indicates. Transmission oil shouldn’t get above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
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