If your engine is experiencing performance issues such as cranking noises or overheating, this could signal water in the engine’s oil pan. 

Water is combined with antifreeze Inside the engine coolant system. This coolant prevents the engine from overheating. Coolant can seep into your engine’s oil pan because of damage in the engine parts, resulting in water mixing with engine oil. 

Water in the oil pan can damage your engine in various ways. Let’s look at what happens if water enters your engine’s oil pan. 

What Happens When there is Water in the Oil Pan? 

Oil is required to keep the engine running smoothly and manage heat. 

Water in the oil pan can create a variety of issues with your engine:

  1. The water in the oil pan combines with the oil to form an emulsion. This emulsion mixture might clog the oil flow in the engine. 
  2. Water in the oil can also cause oil to freeze in extremely cold conditions. 
  3. When water comes into touch with engine parts, it can cause corrosion and rust. 
  4. Water in the oil pan can cause sludge accumulation in the engine. 

Why Is There Water in the Oil Pan? 

Water could be present in your oil pan for a variety of reasons. Some of the possible reasons include the following: 

Faulty Cooling System

Coolant comprising water and other heat-controlling chemicals is carried through the engine block and cylinder head to transport heat. When the coolant system fails, the coolant might leak and mix with the engine oil. 

If you see a stain of light-colored coolant residue around the radiator or hose, get your engine’s cooling system inspected by the mechanic. 

Damaged Cylinder Head 

For proper heat transfer, coolant must travel through the cylinder heads. Cylinder heads are frequently damaged as a result of a failed head gasket. As a result, water might leak in and mix with the engine oil if your cylinder head has cracks. 

Make certain that your cylinder head is inspected and replaced as soon as feasible. 

Engine Oil Moisture 

This is common when you use low-quality motor oil from a local brand or mix both oil brands. Buying a cheap engine may include moisture, which might cause your engine to run poorly. This moisture is dissolved in the engine oil and has no direct impact, but the detrimental effects can be seen in the long run. 

Every oil has a saturation threshold beyond which it can no longer accommodate water molecules. Use high-grade engine oil from a reputable brand since they contain correct additives that give the maximum lubrication to your engine. 

Damaged Head Gasket Seal 

The head gasket is responsible for sealing the engine head and cylinder so that no oil or coolant leaks into the engine. Overheating usually causes the head gasket to blow, causing the seal to fail and coolant to mix with the oil. 

Make sure your mechanic replaces the head gasket to prevent any leakage. 

Broken Sealing Rings 

If your coolant is of poor quality, it might create corrosion in the sealing ring, leading it to break over time. Another reason for sealing ring breakage or squeezing is improper installation. As a result, water from the coolant will enter the oil pan. Water can also leak from an oil cooler. 

Fill your water coolant tank with water and examine for any watermarks on the cylinder wall to see whether the cylinder seal ring is damaged. If the sealing ring is damaged, replace it. 

How Can I Tell If Water Is in My Motor Oil? 

Let’s have a look at some of the signs of water leaking into the oil pan: 

  1. If you notice white-milky smoke coming from the exhaust. 
  2. If you notice hot steam when you open the engine hood, it implies that the water in the oil pan is evaporating. 
  3. If any water is seen while draining the oil from the drain plug. 
  4. If your oil is thinner than usual, this indicates that the oil’s viscosity has been affected by water combined with engine oil. 
  5. If there is any water or thin liquid present on the dipstick. Also, if your engine is overheating, this can be due to water in the engine. 
  6. Water may have settled in the oil tank if the oil pan is moist from the bottom. 

How to Remove the Water From Your Oil Pan 

Draining the water from the drain plug is the best technique to eliminate the water from the oil pan. You may wonder if oil will be drained together with water because the two are mixed in the oil tank. 

This will not happen because, as we know that water is denser than oil, which implies that when we combine them, the oil will rise to the top, and the water will settle owing to their differing densities. 

So, you may remove the drain cap, and any water in the oil tank will be the first to pour out. 


  1. Take off the drain plug. 
  2. Allow the water to drain until you see a mixture of oil and water drain from the tank. 
  3. Stop the flow of the oil-water mixture using the drain plug and allow the water and oil to separate for a few minutes. 
  4. Repeat this procedure until clear oil drains from the tank. 


To summarize, if you notice any water inside the oil tank, treat the problem as quickly as possible. Water in the oil pan can cause sludge accumulation, overheating, and various other issues with your engine. 

Inspect the cylinder head, head gasket, and coolant system to see if any water in the coolant is leaking into the engine. If you believe there is too much water in your oil, get it drained or change the engine oil. 

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