Dangers of Overfilling

Not open for further replies.


Sep 20, 2003
Lansing, MI
Had my oil changed yesterday at Wal-Mart. Can these guys do anything right? Despite clear instructions that it should hold 5.5 quarts this jerkoff put in a little over 6 quarts. I'm guessing he put in about .75/quart too much. It is clearly well over the fill line on my dipstick. It pretty much covers the directions to not overfill that are stamped into the dipstick. Could this cause any serious problems? Damnit!!!!
yeah, it could cause some serious problems. you're gonna need to get some of that oil out of there or your crank could start impacting the oil, then you have air in your oil. Not exactly the kind of stuff you want
Bring it back and get the dipsticks to change the filter or something to get the oil level right. Or get them to dump it and fill it to the right level. Normally having the oil level a little to high won't hurt anything. But if it's full enough to where the counter weights are slapping the oil and frothing it up you could have problems. The extra windage can cause oil leaks and foamed up oil does not lubricate very well.
I had my own oil and filter. I guess I could get them to dump it in something clean and have them refill it.
A couple things; sure over filling to the extent that the crank contacts the oil is a bad thing...but I highly doubt that .75 QT will cause this. Think of even an a extra full qt, spread in the pan and oil system....it's not gonna bring the oil pan level up THAT much. I think having the same guys try to bring the level down will cause more harm than good, so if you want to drop the volume by draining the filter, you should DIY. If it were I, I would just look at the dip stick for air bubbles after vigorous driving.
Alas, I've given up on getting the knuckle draggers who do oil change work to get it right (even my otherwise outstanding Toyota dealer's lube guys have overfilled my car twice). Now, I just give them my oil in bottles, with about 1/2 qt poured off into another container, just to be sure. After I get my cars home and on a flat surface, I give them some time to settle down, and then top them off precisely. I'm certain the engine designers are as aware of these brain surgeons as we are, and accordingly, allow some dipstick saftey margin. Of course the question is how much. . .
Here is a recent BITOG thread you may wish to read: Oil Overfill Pablo, Patman & others have consistently voiced the opinion that a portion of a quart overfill will do no harm. Based on this, I run my Silverado 5.3 Vortec about 1/3 to 1/2 quart over as it helps with the piston slap noise at startup.
Thanks for your insight guys. I might just roll with it, unless I notice bubbles on the dipstick. Over the course of my last oil change my Jeep didn't burn a drop, so I'm sure it will remain overfilled until I correct it or have my oil changed again.
yeah at the track many guys over-fill their sumps by up to 1 quart to deal with g-forces in cornering. Generally speaking you dont need to worry until you are over the 1-quart over-filled, under that amount is still safe. I guess each vehicle is different, but for the most part its safe.
One thing to remember guys is that when the engine is shut off, the level may be high; but when the engine is running the level goes down since you now have oil circulating the engine.
You did not say what the exact vehicle was?? Generally, it should not be a problem. I don't think it will present any problem at all. Not to worry. Many good shops know to fill some Fords a bit more and GM's a bit less per the manual. No worries. [SPAZ!] 1/2 quart either way won't make a difference. [Big Grin]
I had some guys change the oil in an old Mercedes 220 diesel I owned once; they overfilled it by 3 quarts. I should have checked the level after they were done but you know how it is; in a hurry to get off on my vacation trip. About an hour later on the road my Mercedes started running wierd and then stopped running. I pulled the dipstick and it was really foamy oil. And really really full. Bottom line; the cam bearings went out and destroyed the cam carriers. The oil change outfit would assume no responsibility as they had looked in their manual and alas; a misprint for my model indicted it needed 8.5 quarts to fill it up. (It really only needed 5.5 quarts.) They went "by the book". I got a new cam and carriers at a salvage yard for $115. and it only took about 45 minutes for me to repair. so it could have been worse. This was the last time I ever took my car in for amn oil change. No matter when or what; they would get it wrong.
Originally posted by Speed racer: The oil change outfit would assume no responsibility as they had looked in their manual and alas; a misprint for my model indicted it needed 8.5 quarts to fill it up. (It really only needed 5.5 quarts.) They went "by the book".
You gave up too easy! I would have fought like a pit bull to make them take full responsibility for their actions, or we would have been going to small-claims!
My car is a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 4.7L V8. I thought I might have noticed a couple of bubbles on my dipstick, but I'm not really sure. Would it be very obvious if they were air bubbles? My mileage has been going up though.
I over-filled last oil change b/c I filled the oil filter before installing it and then poured the exact amount specified in the owner's manual. I think the written amount was assuming an empty filter. Although the over-fill was by a little, I drained the oil by loosening the drain bolt. I collected the oil into a oil quart bottle to reuse. The oil had about 2 miles on it, after all! In the future, things should be much easier b/c next oil change, I am installing my Fumoto valve!
Well, the oil on my dipstick certainly wasn't foamy. It might have had a couple of air bubbles in it, but I'm not sure that's out of the ordinary, or if they were even air bubbles, as I've never checked it right after driving it before.
Props for the Fumoto drain valve! I have installed them on both my vehicles. Taking samples for oil analysis is a breeze.
Originally posted by JohnnyG: I feel your pain. Jerks overfilled my 5.3 today, sure made it sluggish. Said "Their book" called for 6 quarts.
Haven't these guys ever heard of a dipstick before??? Even my usually superb Toyota dealer (Bob Tyler, Pensacola FL) has done this to me twice. I now bring my containers with about a half qt poured off into another bottle so that they CAN'T screw it up. Telling the service rep to have the lube guy to hold off on the last half qt is futile. I just go home, let it settle for a half-hour, and then top off precisely myself.
BTC, If the oil was "foaming", it would become lighter in color, tending toward a light caramel/cream/milk color (depending on the amount of air "entrained" into the oil). It would also become opaque rather than the transluscent color oil normally is. Imagine how coffee changes color as it is exposed to air with a cappuccino machine. IMO, a couple "bubbles" shouldn't affect the oil's ability to lubricate the engine. Scott
Not open for further replies.