Have you ever wanted to open the oil cap but hesitated because the engine was still hot? You may wonder whether you should wait for the engine to cool before opening the cap. 

Usually, you open the oil cap to check the oil level, fill the oil, or for any other reason. But the point is, is it safe to open the oil cap while the engine is hot? Let us find out.

Is it okay to open the engine oil cap when hot?

Yes, you can remove the oil cap when the engine is hot. However, waiting a few minutes for the engine to cool down is preferable. This is because the engine oil becomes hot after a long ride. This hot oil may splash under your oil cap, and the hot oil may come into contact with your hand as you remove the oil cap.

Check that your oil tank is not overfilled. If it is overfilled, there is a chance that some of the hot oil will come into contact with your skin. This can be DANGEROUS as it will burn your skin.

How long should you wait to open the oil cap?

This depends entirely on why you want to remove the oil cap and how quickly you want to do so. If you’re in a hurry and your engine needs an oil refilling, you can remove the cap with little safety. If the oil cap feels too hot to handle, drop it and wash your hands with cold water.

Another possibility is that you are not in a hurry. In that case, It is recommended that you wait at least 5-10 minutes before opening the oil cap. 

This will not only make it easier and safer for you to remove the cap, but it will also provide some additional benefits. As the engine cools, the oil in the engine returns to the sump. As a result, if you wait for the engine to cool down, you will get accurate dipstick readings of the engine oil level.

Oil Filler Cap is Hard to Remove When Hot?

Many drivers have expressed concern that removing the oil cap when the engine is hot is difficult. This problem can be found in the engines of many vehicles, including Jaguars and G -wagons. 

This could be due to a burnt oil layer around the sealing of the oil cap, making removal difficult. In that case, wait for the engine to cool before removing the cap. This can also happen if you overtighten the oil cap the last time you put it back on. If the oil cap is completely stuck, a torque wrench can be used to lose it. Overtightening the oil can also result in a leaking filler cap, for which you need to be more careful.

What happens if you remove the oil cap with the engine running?

The oil cap is usually located near the valve cover in most cars. When you remove the oil cap while idle, you will only see hot engine oil and a working valve cover. 

You should turn off the engine before removing the oil cap for the oil change, as this can result in incorrect oil readings. Misfires and smokes are also possible if oil is spilled on the engine while running. Ensure to properly reinstall the oil cap before driving the car again, as failure may result in engine oil spilling from the tank.

FAQs on Removing the Oil Cap of Hot Engine

If you open the oil cap immediately after a ride, you can see oil on it. When driving, engine oil splashes on the inner side of the oil cap, which is completely normal. Letting the engine cool for a few minutes will allow the oil to return to the sump due to gravity slowly.

When you remove the oil cap, some smoke coming out of the oil cap is completely normal. The smoke is more than engine fumes or water vapor escaping through the oil cap. If the smoke is excessive, it may be cause for concern. There is a possibility that valve steam or piston rings have been damaged, resulting in exhaust leakage.


To summarise, removing the oil cap while the engine is still hot has no negative impact on engine components. Just be careful that your skin does not come into contact with the hot oil while removing the oil cap. If your oil cap is difficult to open, the only option is to wait for the engine to cool down for 5-10 minutes.

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