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So you spent money on changing your oil only to find your car is stalling. Not only could you feel that you have wasted your money, but you also now have a problem you didn’t have before.

In truth, there are a few reasons why your car may stall after having an oil change which we will explore below.

Briefly, though, your car is stalling after you changed its oil because:

You have used the wrong oil viscosity or left the filler cap off, resulting in a drop of compression. If you also had the air filter changed, this may not have been fitted correctly and is stopping the right amount of air from entering the engine, causing an unequal balance between fuel and air the engine needs to run correctly.

Check Oil Filling Cap

Ensuring the oil filling cap is tightly secured is the cheapest and easiest to check. It’s not unusual for this to be forgotten about, and if you pop the hood, you may find the cap on top of the engine block rather than secured in place.  

I have done this myself, and I believe it’s because I tightened the cap on the oil bottle and subconsciously thought I’d completed everything that needed to be done. Of course, there were two caps to be tightened, but my brain didn’t register this. A stupid mistake until you do it to yourself!!

Incorrect Amount of New Oil

Too much oil can damage the engine. All cars have oil pressure sensors that should detect an increase or decrease in pressure.  

This sensor sends a signal to the EC, resulting in the illuminated oil warning light. 

Most engines perform best when the pressure is below 80 PSI, And anything above this should trigger the warning light to be illuminated on the dash. 

On rare occasions, if not enough or too much oil has been put into the engine, it can cause a rough idle and the car to stop.

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If your car has too much oil, look for these two symptoms below.

It’s worth checking around the back of the car to see what’s coming out of the tailpipe. If you see thick black smoke, the engine is burning off excess oil. You could think that if the car is burning off the oil, you can leave it and not worry about taking further action, but this is wrong.

Too much oil can cause oil leaks and put the pistons and valves under undue pressure. The reason there is a level on the dipstick is that anything over will result in the oil being unable to circulate correctly at the right pressure. 

Think of it as high blood pressure in a human. The engine is forced to work harder through the extra oil, and the pressure results in oil being forced through gaskets or seals in the engine and the oil filter.

This can affect the valve timing and make the car sound like it is misfiring and stalling. 

Spark Plugs and Oil Changes

Oil can find its way into the spark plugs at the top of the engine. This is being forced there by the extra pressure the oil is under and has leaked through the piston rings. 

This, in turn, will affect the valve timing and cause your car to run rough and stall out in extreme cases.

Oil Filter Issues.

When changing car oil, the oil filter is changed too. It makes little sense to get new golden-colored oil only to put it through a clogged and dirty filter. In no time, the oil will become discolored and pick up impurities in the filter as it travels through.

It’s rare to have an oil filter that can’t be used with all oil types. Are you sure the filter you’ve got fitted is the right type for the oil in the engine? With the increase in the expiry dates of synthetic oils and changes in viscosity, the filter may prevent an adequate flow of oil to the engine.

Idle Speed Control Unit

The idle speed control unit adjusts the idle speed based on the ECU reading. If the car’s new oil is too hot or the pressure isn’t within the correct parameters, it will affect it. 

The idle speed will either race or become very low, which can cause the car to stall.

Use An ODB Scan Tool

If you’re sure that your oil filler cap is fitted correctly, the oil filter is in good condition, and you haven’t overfilled the oil, it may be worth using an OBD scan tool to check for any error codes.

Bear in mind that it could just be a coincidence that your car has started to stall after an oil change, and there could be other reasons it’s doing it.

An OBD2 tool, when connected to your car, reads any error codes that your car’s ECU is storing. This real-time saver prevents a DIY car mechanic from having to rule out possible causes in a systematic way. It is far easier to plug this tool in and be told exactly what the problem is. 

Can Old Oil Cause A Car To Stall?

Your car needs good filters and good fluids to ensure it runs well. When filters and fuel filters are not changed, this can disrupt the flow of oil or air into the engine, affecting performance. 

Oil loses viscosity over time. All manufacturers recommend oil should be changed frequently. 

Most car manufacturers recommend a 6-month change, whereas others – because of the longer-lasting properties of synthetic oil, allow considerably longer between changes.

Generally, old oil won’t cause a car to stall but can contribute.

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Is It Normal For A Car To Leak After An Oil Change?

Your car shouldn’t leak after an oil change. The oil left on the engine block, which could be viewed as a leak, is simply residue from when the engine was filled by the filling cap.  

How To Diagnose Engine Oil or Transmission Fluid Leaks – DIY Checks

It’s always good practice to thoroughly wipe down oil spills to prevent this misconception. Leaving oil on the engine block will cause it to burn and smoke, which can be alarming if you are unaware of this. 

This isn’t dangerous if the amount of oil spent is small, but any large spillage could result In a lot of smoke which could, when driving, cause issues with vision.

A misconception is that car oil might catch fire on the engine block. 

This is extremely unlikely as the flashpoints of oil are around 400 degrees, and it is unlikely that your engine block will heat to this level.

If what you are witnessing isn’t a spillage but a natural oil leak, then this isn’t normal. 

This points to a buildup of excess pressure in the engine. You mustn’t run the engine any longer if you witness this. Allow the car to cool, and check the oil level. Any excess oil should be removed before restarting the engine. 

Unfortunately, you might have to do some remedial work around the gasket seals. The worst-case scenario is that the piston rings have broken, and the engine will have to be opened up for these to be replaced.

Car Making Noise After an Oil Change?

A car shouldn’t make any unusual noises after changing the oil. However, one caveat is that if you have done the oil change yourself and started the engine, it will take a short time for the oil to reach the top of the engine. This should only last a couple of seconds and maybe tapping noises you hear.   

What Noise Does An Engine Make When Oil Level Is Low?

All car shops should run the engine and check for oil leaks before returning a car to a customer.

Car Running Rough After Oil Change? Two Vital Checks

 Any other non-tapping noises that go on for longer than a couple of seconds should be investigated further, and you should turn the car off to prevent any potential damage.

In Conclusion

It’s not normal for a car to stall after having an oil change. Check

  • The oil filler cap is tight
  • The oil level
  • That the oil used is correct for your car.
  • The oil filter – if changed – is secure.

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