Added too much oil

I added too much oil to my 1996 Ford Probe. White smoke pours from my tailpipe when I tried to drive it home from the gas station. My car is here at work, how can I fix the problem myself?

How much is too much?


i added 3 quarts

Man! Ya gotta get it out of there! Or you’ll destroy the engine!

You have two choices, either get the vehicle up SAFELY so the excess oil can be drained, or aquire from a local parts store a suction gun (about $12.00) that will fit down the dip stick tube so the oil can be sucked out of the oil pan.


How much was in the crankcase to start with?

If you mean 3 qts over and above the normal oil capacity of the engine, then you need to drain the oil (at least the excess oil) before starting the engine again. In other words, either do an oil change or drain the excess oil.

Since trying to drain the excess oil will be a trial and error process of drain some oil, put the plug back in, let it sit for awhile, check dipstick, get under car and drain more oil, let it sit, check dipstick again, I suggest that you just bite the bullet and do a total oil change.

While a low oil level can damage an engine, an oil level that is too high can also damage an engine. If this engine contains 3 qts more than it is supposed to, the oil level is too high.

I’m not sure, but there was some oil in it. Before this my car has been running poorly. When I would accellerate the engine sounded like a 18 wheeler does does while downshifting. A couple of times my car would not start. it would turnover but not “catch” and start. I was told to check my oil and it appeared to be low. I added 1-2 quarts and it would immediately start up.

It is a shame (I can’t think of a better word but there must be) that the first thing many people do when having a issue with their cars engine is add oil.

I agree with you, oldschool.

There seems to be (unfortunately) a tendency among those who are not car-oriented to add oil whenever they observe something unusual with their cars. This might be the correct course of action in some cases, but to blindly add oil without knowing what the cause of the problem is, and/or without knowing whether the engine actually needed oil, is just plain wrong-headed and ultimately can cause more damage.

On a human level, this would sort of be like giving someone Aspirin for whatever ails them. It might be appropriate to give aspirin for aches and pains, and it is beneficial if you suspect a heart attack, but if you gave aspirin to someone with a gastric ulcer, that would not be a good thing. And, as most of us now know, giving aspirin to a child is potentially dangerous (Reyes Syndrome).

If your engine has been 1-2 qts “low” in the past, this indicates two things:

You need to check the oil MUCH more often, so that it does not drop this low.
You need to take the car to a competent mechanic so that he can diagnose your starting problems. Trust me–adding more oil does not allow for easier starting unless the engine was essentially dry before adding more oil.

You really need to have this car looked at by a professional mechanic before you do more damage with your invalid solutions to mechanical problems. You are not doing your car or yourself any good by simply dumping oil into the engine when you encounter a problem.

Thank you Old School and VDCdriver (along with Tester and FoDaddy) I will definitely get this looked at. I appreciate your prompt responses.

And the #2 most wrong thing people do is.

Car won’t start…then the battery is the problem and I need someone with jumper cables to jump my battery. Doesn’t matter if the car is turning over fine…If it won’t start then it MUST be the battery.