The engine oil and water in the car have different yet important functions they perform which the car cannot do without.
However, when both are mixed together, it becomes a problem for the car. So, the question is, can I drive my car with water in the oil?
You should not drive a car with water in the oil because oil is a lubricant and its basic function is to lubricate all moving parts of the engine, therefore, having water inside the oil will deprive it of its ability to effectively lubricate the engine which would cause friction and eventually damage the engine.
Table of Contents
Can Water Enter Oil?
YES, water can enter engine oil due to the failure of internal channels and seals between the lube system. Therefore, to avoid water from entering the oil, ensure that these channels are sealed properly.
What Can Make Water Enter the Oil?
One of the ways water can enter the engine oil is through an engine crack, a coolant leak due to a bad gasket, or a non-watertight head gasket.
Another possible way for water to enter your engine oil is through bad storage, loose cover e.t.c exposing your engine oil to a water environment with a loosely closed lead can increase the chances of water entering your engine oil.
Your engine breathing when it is not being used is another way water can enter your oil but you don’t have to worry about this if you drive your car enough to bum off the water during normal driving.
Can I Drive My Car With Water in the Oil?
Mineral oils and some synthetics become acidic, varnish sludge and there is viscosity change due to hydrolysis and oxidation, these changes are caused by changes in their physical and chemical properties.
Consequential to these, water encourages aeration issues like foaming. The forming worsens when there is an increase in the velocity of the fluid which can lead to either oxidative oil degradation, thermal degradation, impaired heat transfer, retarded oil supply, cavitation, or sometimes some or all of these problems at the same time.
To really understand this, we need to first understand the functions of your engine oil, and water in a car.
The main role of engine oil in a vehicle is to lubricate the engine parts, which are in constant friction. Doing so reduces the friction as well as the wear and tear of engine parts.
However, the oil performs other functions in the car such as keeping engine parts clean by suspending contaminants within the fluid and preventing them from adhering to components, dampening shock, and preventing corrosion transfer energy.
It also works as a coolant by reducing friction which in turn reduces the temperature in the engine.
Water by nature is a great cooling mechanism, it makes your car maintain a constant temperature irrespective of the weather.
You are probably wondering how this same water cools your car when driving for hours, doesn’t it get hot? It does but there is a system in place for this.
Water is stored in the radiator, from the radiator water makes its way through the motor thereby performing its function as a coolant.
During this process, it gets heated up and is returned to the radiator by the water pump where it is then cooled down and the cycle is repeated.
Now if you are wondering about driving your car with water in the engine oil, the answer is NO, having water in your engine oil poses a great risk to the vehicle.
Oil is a lubricant and its basic function is to lubricate all moving parts of the engine, water on the other hand is a coolant meant to cool the engine which generates heat when it runs at a high temperature.
So having water inside the oil, deprive it of its ability to effectively lubricate the engine which would cause friction and eventually, engine damage.
Is it Safe to Drive a Car with Water in the Oil?
It is not safe to drive a car with water in the oil because having water in your engine oil defies the integrity of the oil and this can lead to serious damage to your car, the engine won’t be able to function to its optimal capacity.
Engines with water in their oil last about 90% less than those with no water in the oil. Driving your car with water in the oil puts you at great risk of a partial engine or total engine damage.
Please, this one is not about having transmission problems, ensure to change the oil once you notice water in it and ensure you find out what caused water to enter into the engine and rectify it as well to avoid having issues with your engine.
Is it Possible for Water in Oil to Damage the Engine?
It is very possible and has been confirmed that water in engine oil could damage the engine so you should always make sure that there is no water in your oil by always checking your engine dipstick for bubbles.
You may find a brownish residue just above the oil level or you could see milky oil with a thick consistency. That shows that there is water in your engine oil.
How Much Oil in Water is Bad?
The slightest water in your oil is likely to cause irreversible damage to your car, it doesn’t really matter if it is much or not, its presence alone is enough to cause a problem, you might be lucky to get away with just minor damage or damage to just a part of the engine. But the potential damage of having water in your engine oil is massive.
What to do After Finding Water in Oil
When you find water in your engine oil and you have no technical know-how of the car’s engine, it is best to call a repair shop to come look into it check for the water in the oil and maybe change the entire or part of the engine oil as they see fit.
But if you at least know your way around the oil pump, then allow the engine to settle for a while then open the oil pan plug to collect a bit of the engine oil putting into consideration that oil is lighter than water and water is going to settle below hence the need for the engine to settle.
Carefully inspect the oil to confirm the integrity of your oil, if the oil is milky or somewhat brown in color, then you probably have water in your engine’s oil.
You can take more oil in a separate container to further check if you got it all. But if you are not sure how much water you have in your engine, it’s best not to take any risk just let out the entire oil.
Give it time to drip thoroughly then add some clean oil then drain again, just to make sure that you get all the water from the engine.
Then fill with new oil and your car should be back in good shape. If after this you are still not convinced, call your auto mechanic.
Water and oil in engines can be likened to food and air in the human body, they are both very important to human survival but can they miss their way, it can be a life-threatening situation like when food mistakenly finds its way into the trachea meant for air.
So also water and oil in car engines, the oil allows your car engine to function at the optimal level by lubricating the moving parts of the engine allowing smooth movement and less friction but still producing temperature than the engine requires for optimal function and that is where the water comes in.
The water ensures your vehicle maintains a constant and acceptable temperature for maximum functionality.
The two works hand in hand to keep the engine going but having a mixture of both can cause huge damage to your vehicle, so when you notice that there is a probability of having water in your oil, it is best to look into it as soon as possible to make sure you are not under any risk of engine damage.