The temperature of motor oil in your car is a critical parameter that has direct effects on the health of your engine. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the normal engine oil temperatures that are suitable for your car.
In this guide, we investigate what the normal engine oil temperature is, how to check the oil temperature in your car and which problems can result from overheated engine oil. Without further ado, let’s get started!
What Is The Normal Engine Oil Temperature?
The normal temperature range for the engine oil may depend on the type of car engine and the oil used. For instance, gasoline and diesel engines differ in their normal oil temperature range. Similarly, with more robust engines where oil provides extra stress, like in sports cars, the temperature range is wider. Let’s take a look at normal engine oil temperatures for different car engines.
When it comes to conventional oil, in most gasoline-powered engines, the normal oil temperature lies between 230 to 260°F, which is approximately 110 – 127°C. However, for diesel engines, it may differ slightly due to their decreased temperature requirements. Usually, the normal oil temperature range for diesel-powered engines is 200 – 230°F, approximately 93 – 110°C.
That said, is there any difference between the normal temperature ranges between synthetic and conventional oils? Yes, most fully synthetic oils can function properly up to a temperature of 300°F (149°C). Similarly, in racing car engines, special synthetic oils are used that can withstand temperatures up to 350°F (176°C)
|Engine / Oil Type||Temperature Range (°F)||Temperature Range (°C)|
|Gasoline Engine||230 – 260||110 – 127|
|Diesel Engine||200 – 230||93 – 110|
|Synthetic Oil||Up to 300||Up to 149|
|Racing Car Engine||Up to 350||Up to 176|
How To Check The Engine Oil Temperature?
Knowing the normal engine oil temperature for your particular car engine is meaningless if you’re not aware of the correct methods to check the current temperature of the oil in your car. Since oil is such a vital component of the engine, inappropriate oil temperature can lead to the breakdown of your car and harm the engine itself.
In that regard, let’s explore a few methods you can employ to tell the motor oil temperature in your car accurately.
- Ensure your car has a built-in Thermometric Oil Temperature Sensor (OTS), which records the temperature of your engine oil with high precision. If the temperature exceeds the normal range, warning lights are used for indication.
- Use an infrared thermometer to measure the engine oil temperature. Such thermometers consist of a temperature sensor on the tip. When the sensor is touched against the oil pan, the oil temperature is indicated on a dial or a digital thermometer display.
- Use a dipstick with a thermometer to insert in the oil pan and measure its temperature. However, a dipstick tends to be less accurate than an infrared thermometer.
- If none of the options are available, you can get a feel for the oil temperature through intuition. When measuring the oil with a dipstick, if the oil feels less viscous and runny, it represents a hotter temperature. On the other hand, if the oil tends to have a milky texture, that means a colder temperature due to thicker viscosity.
What Happens To The Car Engine If The Oil Overheats?
Your car engine manufacturer would always provide the optimal engine oil temperature ranges in their manual. Any deviation from that range could lead to consequences. Let’s take a look at some severe issues a high-temperature oil can cause:
- When the engine oil temperature exceeds the normal range, it results in overheating, which can cause the breakdown of various engine components like the radiator, piston, spark plugs, and even the catalytic converter.
- Thermal breakdown is a well-known issue caused by overheating oil beyond a threshold, changing its viscosity. To prevent metal-to-metal contact, engine oil needs to be a certain viscosity to ensure proper oil flow and appropriate metal coating on the engine components. Hence, a thermal breakdown could result in decreased oil flow, increased oil consumption, and wear and tear of engine components.
- Engine oil is not flammable; however, with the increased temperature and decreased viscosity, the metal-to-metal friction inside the engine increases, which can cause sparking and potentially a fire.
If your car has AT Oil Temp light switch, always be aware of its indication while driving. If you get the warning through this light that engine oil is overheating, quickly kill the power and let the car engine sit idle for a while so the oil can cool down.
How To Keep The Engine Oil Under Normal Temperature?
Now that we have understood the various problems associated with motor oil overheating and thermal breakdown, we can comprehend the importance of maintaining the oil at an optimal temperature. Fortunately, it is pretty easy and intuitive to achieve if you know what you’re doing. Therefore, let’s take a look at a few methods for the prevention of engine overheating problems.
- First of all, ensure the health of your engine’s cooling system. The cooling system, consisting of the radiator, water pump, coolant hoses, head gasket, and thermostat, is responsible for the main engine oil temperature. Any defect in this system could cause overheating problems. Make sure there isn’t any coolant leakage and that its level is maintained.
- Make sure the temperature sensor in your car functions properly. Its calibration and functioning should be part of your maintenance regime. Ensure that it indicates accurate temperature and that the display/dial of the temperature gauge isn’t broken or cloudy.
- Ensure an inspection and replacement regime for crucial components like the timing belt that operates the water pump, radiator caps, and replacement of the coolant. Moreover, any component in the coolant circuit that doesn’t work properly should be replaced immediately to prevent any dire consequences.
This was it for our guide on the normal range of temperature on engine oil. Although this range gives you a general idea of an average motor oil temperature, ensure you refer to your car’s manufacturer manual to know the exact optimal condition and temperature of oil for yourself. We hope you like this in-depth guide and look forward to more automotive articles from us!
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