What Happens When Water Mixes with Oil in Engine

What Happens When Water Mixes with Oil in Engine? [Answered]

Don’t ever be that person that allows water to enter either your engine or gearbox because it’s a terrible idea. This will damage your engine and give you inconveniences that will haunt you forever; more on this later.

Okay, for once, let’s assume something like this has happened and there is no going back; what to do then? Let’s learn what happens when water mixes with oil in the engine.

Let’s uncover the tips and tricks that will effectively help you to diagnose this problem and a complete repair solution that will help you get rid of water in your engine.

How can you identify if there is water in your engine?

How can you identify if there is water in your engine

Identifying and diagnosing the real issue in your engine is crucial if you ever wish to solve the water in the engine problem. Here is where you should check to see if you have water in your engine.

The first area you should definitely search for is the dipstick; what you want to do here is pull the dipstick, and what you should notice are air bubbles; those air bubbles will lead you to find a brownish residue.

The consistency of the oil will be milky, and the overall consistency of it will be thick. All of these will pinpoint you to the notion that, indeed, water has made its place in your engine.

Water and oil theory

Water and oil theory

You can also identify these things on a scientific level. Remember what you were taught in school. Remember how oil is actually much lighter when compared to water.

Water being heavier than oil, will always settle at the bottom and the oil at the top; this only happens if you allow both liquids to settle for a while after they have been mixed.

Many people try to vigorously mix the two together to form an emulsion, but that only works for a few seconds as the emulsion is very unstable and breaks.

Different ways water can get in your engine

Believe it or not but there are three ways in which water can enter your engine, either indirectly or directly:

  1. Water condensation can be a huge culprit to your problems and what happens is this condensation can happen in cold air and combustion gases; this isn’t that common and only happens at precise temperatures.
  2. Coolant leaks can be a more common consequence, and this can happen due to a non-watertight seal. This means there is a leak, and water is getting into the oil.
  3. Someone accidentally and unconsciously can spill water in motor oil, and when you don’t notice it and pour that into your vehicle, it can cause serious problems.

What damage can water cause to your engine?

What damage can water cause to your engine

Now that we have established a baseline of scenarios and reasons that can lead to water entering your engine.

Too much water in your engine can be a bad thing and especially if you use your car more often; for one, if there is too much water, it can lead to the build-up of greater friction.

This friction can cause premature wear and tear on your engine, and if this problem persists for too long, it can lead to damaging your engine altogether.

When there is a significant amount of oil in the engine, it can lead the oil to lose its adequate level of lubrication necessary to keep your car functioning smoothly.

So it’s quite obvious that your car will not function properly with water in your engine, but sometimes, because of condensation and other reasons, there might always be water in your engine.


Even when we have covered everything so extensively and detailed, some questions might still remain unanswered. So, let’s take a look at those in all the frequently asked questions list.

Is it safe to drive a car that has water in the engine?

To answer this question, you have to determine how much oil you have present in your engine. If your engine doesn’t look milky and has a small amount of water in it, it should be okay to drive. Check to make sure that the water in your engine car is completely burned off so that you can be sure whether or not it’s necessary to take your car for mechanic evaluation. But the best-case scenario is to remove any amount of water present in your engine and take your car to the mechanic to get it checked.

Is there a way to fix your damaged engine?

Here is what you can do to remove water from your engine. Turn the engine over by using your hand, and by removing the spark plugs, you can effectively remove any additional water from the cylinders. Another good practice is to blow compressed air into the spark plugs, and that will allow you to cover all the areas of the engine. Lastly, replace your oil filter and drain the oil.

What does it mean if your exhaust and engine have a weird smell?

To diagnose the problem of water in your engine, you should definitely smell your exhaust. If it has a sweet and pungent smell, that means there is some coolant in your engine or oil, and that means this coolant is being burned off in the engine.

The final words

What Happens When Water Mixes with Oil in Engine

Let’s wrap this up for all of your avid car owners out there. It’s extremely important to know what happens when water enters the engine and the effects it can have on your most beloved car.

Our cars belong to us, and they are our most prized asset; we cannot afford to destroy their functionality by ignoring these types of issues. If you see any amount of water in your engine, get your car evaluated and checked by a mechanic, and don’t freak out if midway between your journey you have found out there is water in your engine. Share this useful piece of information with others around you so they can benefit tremendously from this.

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