Coolant in engine oil damage

I had my car looked at becasue it wouldnt start the mechanic told me that there was antifreeze in my oil. I noticed a week befroe that my car was using a lot of anitfreeze. I know my engine is gone. I would just like to know what would cause antifreeze to get into my oil. I would like to add that the car is attempting to start but it wont turn over…I dont know if this makes a difference or not.

You probably have a breached head gasket.

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This will lead to antifreeze in the oil and can lead to a no start due to lack of compression. The repair is to replace the head gasket. Any one of several gaskets can fail and result in coolant escaping into the crankcase.

And certainly a cracked head or block could be the cause. In recent years engine design has made such failures more common. Agree; the only other way antifreeze gets into your oil if someone took a quart of antifreezee by accident and used it to top up your oil.

A breach in an intake manifold gasket can cause this to happen as well.

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This is less common on Fords, but very common on GM, particularly the 2. The gasket between the water jacket of a head and the intake manifold can leak into the lifter valley, where it will flow into the sump, mix with your oil, and trash your engine.

I was not referring to you, as the owner, but that pimple-faced high school kid at the gas station, working part time without any training. It sometimes works out the other way too. He had pumped 28 gallons of regular unleaded into the main fuel tank of his Power Stroke F Both our vehicles smoked a little bit for that tankful, but the guy in the big Ford was grateful for us taking this problem off his hands.

Fortunately I noticed the coolant level drop and my mechanic confirmed the leak before any engine damage occurred. The coolant displaces the oil from the engine crank bearings causing an engine failure.

Yeah, the 4. Anything with Dexcool was bad about that. The passenger car V6s stick out in my mind because I have done so many of them.Above all, Cleaning coolant mixed with oil in the lubrication system will only work, if there is no engine damage.

So, Engine gaskets do a great job of keeping vital components separated. But, As time goes by they do degrade and can sometimes fail. The two most important things to keep separated are oil and antifreeze.

They do not mix and can cause extreme damage if they do. Consequently, The most common causes for this to happen are:. So, The engine cannot run with coolant in the oil for an extended period of time. Because, It will not take long for the antifreeze to start eating away at the engine bearings. Do not run an engine once coolant is discovered in the engine oil.

Note: Todays engine oils already contain additives to clean your engine. But, All additive packages deplete with use. So, As the additives act to perform their function they will be consumed.

Hence, The importance of oil changes. Park vehicle on level surface, engage parking brake and turn off engine. If necessary, raise front of vehicle by driving it onto a ramp or by jacking it up. Open the hood. Remove the oil dipstick. Remove the oil filler cap.

Once the vehicle is safely and securely supported, put on safety glasses, crawl under the vehicle. Locate the oil drain plug, which is on the bottom of the oil pan. Position a container, such as an approved oil catch pan, under the drain plug.

Make sure the catch pan is large enough to hold the volume of oil expected to drain out. There may be more depending on amount of coolant in oil.

coolant in engine oil damage

Loosen the drain plug using a box-end wrench or 6-pt. Carefully remove the plug by hand, making sure the catch pan is underneath the plug hole.

Oil will flow rapidly from the hole, but allow several minutes for all old oil to drain out. Wipe the oil pan threads and oil drain plug with a rag. Visually inspect the condition of the oil pan and oil drain plug threads and gasket. Buy a replacement drain plug if you have any concerns about the condition of the plug. Replace the drain plug gasket if needed some OEMs recommend this. Once the oil is finished draining, reinstall the oil drain plug.It may seem like a rather remote possibility, but engine coolant, or anti-freeze can get into automatic transmission fluid.

The temperature of transmission fluid is regulated inside the engine cooling system. The fluid passes through a small tank inside the engine's radiator. Engine coolant surrounds the tank to help keep the fluid inside at a constant temperature.

Added coolant instead engine oil by mistake.?

Any rupture of the internal radiator tank can allow coolant to mix with, and contaminate transmission fluid. The engine coolant can also become polluted by the transmission fluid, as the pressures of either liquid vacillate. The extent of damage to either circuit depends on the severity and longevity of the internal leak.

It is a fact that water and oil do not mix, and anti-freeze is mostly water despite the additives involved. However, the transmission pump comes close to completely combining the two liquids. Automatic transmission pumps are comprised of gears that mesh to compress and impel the fluid, which is basically hydraulic oil. Because of the tight tolerances between the cogs, the gears are capable of mashing the diverse particles of coolant and oil into a frothy mess.

Minor contamination may be noted by foam seen at the top of the fluid level displayed on the transmission dipstick. More severe cases are exhibited by a dipstick covered with a substance that resembles a strawberry milkshake. The pump that pressurizes and circulates coolant uses vanes rather than gears to drive the anti-freeze. The vanes lack the tight tolerances of gear-style pumps, and the fluids are not mixed so well.

Small droplets of transmission oil separate and rise to the surface of the coolant in the radiator. This inspection often involves the removal of the radiator cap, and this action should never be attempted until the radiator cools completely. The time required for the cool-down is more than sufficient for the droplets to form.

An oily sheen, or oil droplets seen in the radiator or coolant recovery reservoir can indicate a ruptured transmission cooler tank. The underside of the radiator cap may exhibit a gummy residue as well. Automatic transmissions often succumb to seemingly slight deficiencies in fluid quality or quantity. Therefore, it is not surprising that grossly contaminated fluid can cripple the complex component. The fluid pressures required to operate and lubricate the transmission can not be achieved when the oil is diluted.

The polluted fluid resists uniform compression necessary for hydraulic functions, and the transmission either slips in certain circumstances, or fails to engage at all.So, Antifreeze in oil creates a light brown liquid that looks an awful lot like chocolate milk.

Consequently, antifreeze actually thickens the oil; making it harder to flow through oil galleries and lubricate the engine. Also, antifreeze has virtually no lubricating properties when mixed with engine oil. Antifreeze in oil causes a thickening of the lubricant; thereby increasing the oil viscosity and reducing the flow. Consequently, this will promote rust; and tarnish cupric metals of bronze and brass. Even a small coolant leak over time is enough to severely corrode engine steel and copper surfaces.

Internal coolant leaks are most often due to a bad head gasket. So, a bad head gasket may leak coolant into a cylinder or into the crankcase.

coolant in engine oil damage

As a result, coolant leaking into the crankcase dilutes the oil and can damage the bearings in your engine. Head gasket failures are often the result of engine overheating; which may have occurred because of a coolant leak, a bad thermostat, or an electric cooling fan not working. When the engine overheats; thermal expansion can crush and damage portions of the head gasket.

coolant in engine oil damage

This damaged area may then start to leak combustion pressure and coolant. In addition the gasket that seals the intake manifold to the cylinder heads may leak. Furthermore, this could allow coolant to enter the intake port; crankcase or dribble down the outside of the engine. Some engines such as General Motors 3. The intake manifold gaskets on these engines are plastic and often fail at 50, to 80, miles.

Other troublesome applications include the intake manifold gaskets on Buick V6 and Ford 4. Years ago when your cooling system was low; you popped the radiator cap off and added your favourite brand of antifreeze; usually green or yellow and off you went.

Many of these are long life and they come in a whole rainbow of colours.

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When adding antifreeze to your system; make sure you match what is in there already. But, you should follow manufacturer specs to be sure. Checking your cooling system for engine coolant leaks is easier than you think.

So, Engine coolant leaks can happen anywhere in the cooling system. Fortunately, Nine out of 10 times; engine coolant leaks are easy […]. The only thing protecting your cylinder walls and bearings from fuel wash is the thin layer of oil […]. Exhaust and Intake Pushrods on G. Quite often I am seeing bent pushrods and valves when they are mixed up. Consequently, Exhaust pushrods on G. Most of the images displayed are of unknown origin. We do not intend to infringe any legitimate intellectual right, artistic rights or copyright.I added coolant instead engine oil by mistake.

Is it ok to drive to a dealer and get an oil change about 5 miles or it is too severe and I should try to try to flush the oil myself without driving the car at all? Need some advice. Thanks for the responses. I don't have a ramp to raise my Odyssey to do it myself; so I guess I am just going to get it towed to the closed service station and get the oil flushed.

Of course your best option is to drain the oil and coolant and refill with oil. However, the honest truth is that you would be perfectly fine driving 5 miles as long as the oil level isn't to far past the full line. Your better off driving 5 miles completely empty then overfilled. People unknowingly drive all the time with bad headgaskets causing coolant in there oil for thousands of miles and end up just fine.

About 5k miles before my k warranty was up, I had a bad head gasket that was causing my oil and coolant to mix. But, I wanted the warranty company to pay for more than just a head gasket so I intentionally put coolant in my oil so I could damage my whole engine and get it replaced under warranty. My plan worked but literally took miles. So, once again, regardless of what everyone else is saying, your vehicle will easily make it 5 miles. If you haven't started the car yet all the coolant is laying in the bottom of the oil pan.

The coolant is heavier than oil and is laying in the bottom of the pan. Take the plug in the oil pan loose and back it out till the antifreeze starts running out and when it quits running and you start getting oil then you can drive it to the dealer to get it changed.

The little bit that might still be in there won't hurt it. I had a blown head gasket on my car and it leaked antifreeze past the rings into the oil and made the oil milky and it didn't hurt the engine but I put a new head gasket on and changed the oil and it still ran for a long time.

I had a diesel generator set out side for about 1. I backed the plug out like I described above and water started coming out. I drained about 2 gallons of water out of it then started it up and got the oil hot and changed the oil and it was OK also. Good luck. Remember, oil floatsThe drive home started just the same as all the other ones had. I was a freshman in college at Oklahoma State University and was driving home for Christmas break.

Like any other teenager, the last thing on my mind was checking the fluid levels in my car my dad always told me to, but I seldom remembered before I started the six-hour drive to rural southwest Kansas. I had driven about two hours when I noticed the temperature gauge on the dash was beginning to rise.

Coolant Mixed With Oil In The Lubrication System – Cleaning Tips

Not knowing why this was happening, I pulled into a gas station to check the radiator. After letting the car cool down, I opened the radiator cap and filled the radiator with water and antifreeze, never once wondering why it was low. Starting down the road again, my car sputtered and died.

After a very slow trip to a local mechanic, we discovered the intake manifold had cracked, allowing the coolant to flow into the engine block. This fluid being on top of the pistons could have easily resulted in bent rods or blown valves. It can also have very detrimental effects in oil. Glycol contamination is common in engine oils and can greatly alter the properties of the lubricant.

Antifreeze causes a thickening of the oil, increasing the viscosity and not allowing it to flow as readily as before. This can lead to boundary conditions in parts of the engine that require a less viscous fluid to properly lubricate and protect them. It also creates an acidic environment within the oil, resulting in corrosion within the system, especially on copper surfaces.

The additives within the oil can be compromised as well. These images illustrate the formation of oil balls. Once contaminated, the oil continues the same route of flow, from the sump, into the crankcase, through various parts of the engine and through the filter. With the added glycol, these filters become plugged sooner, which can cause reduced flow and eventually, once the bypass pressure is reached, a condition in which you are no longer filtering your oil.

This allows particles that normally would have been filtered out to remain in the system, disrupting the lubricating film and resulting in surface damage to components. Antifreeze also mixes with oil to form small globules called oil balls.

Although very small, typically 5 to 40 microns in size, they can cause big problems.

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These balls are abrasive and create surface erosion. A common place to see this would be on the inside walls of the cylinder, where the oil balls could cut and gouge into the wall. They can produce all types of surface fatigue and lead to lubrication failures in areas of very tight tolerances. The effects of coolant and antifreeze contamination are many.

Acids are formed like glycolic acid, formic acid and other organic acid types. Flow is restricted as this black mayonnaise moves throughout the engine. It can occlude to the walls and narrow passageways, and interfere with oil flow, causing partial or total starvation where the oil is intended to go.

It is very common for glycol and these emulsions and gels to completely block flow-through filters. It is reported to be the No. In my case, the culprit for this contamination was a cracked manifold, but there are several ways glycol can find its way into oil.

How to Fix a Head Gasket Leak in Your Car

If the piston heads are warped or cracked, contamination would be allowed into the system. In more severe cases, cavitation wear provides a straight path for ingression. Cavitation occurs when an air bubble implodes against a hard surface, resulting in a pitting action. As it becomes more aggressive, this can cause a hole or crack in the cylinder wall.

Though very small, oil balls can cause big problems. The first step to combating this problem is to discern that you have a coolant leak. Periodic checks of fluid levels are the easiest way to do this.

If you notice levels beginning to change, try to find the coolant leak.S ome contaminants are important to monitor and analyze because they are root causes of premature oil degradation and engine failure. Other contaminants are symptomatic of an active failure condition that requires a response other than just an oil change. For instance, seal damage leading to fuel dilution or glycol contamination cannot be remedied by performing an oil change or switching to a better quality lubricant.

Such symptom-based contaminants are also root causes that enable new failures to occur. The value of oil analysis in detecting problems early goes without saying. Any one of the contaminants described below is capable of causing premature or even sudden engine failure. I've left dirt contamination off the list because I covered particle-induced engine failures in a previous column.

It is worth noting that problems are more pronounced when contamination combos exist, such as high soot load with glycol or high soot load with fuel dilution. There are numerous failure pathways and consequential sequence of events. Thousands of diesel engines fail prematurely each year aided by the presences of glycol, fuel, soot and water in the engine oil. Glycol enters diesel engine motor oils as a result of defective seals, blown head gaskets, cracked cylinder heads, corrosion damage and cavitation.

One study found glycol in 8. A separate study of 11, long-haul trucks found severe levels of glycol in 1. The following are some of the risks associated with glycol contamination:. Just 0. According to one study, glycol contamination results in wear rates 10 times greater than water contamination alone.

Glycol reacts with oil additives causing precipitation. For instance, an important antiwear additive in motor oils, zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate ZDDPwill form reaction products and plug filters when oil is contaminated with glycol. This leads to loss of antiwear and antioxidant performance as well.

Ethylene glycol oxidizes into corrosive acids, including the following: glycolic acid, oxalic acid, formic acid and carbonic acid.

These acids cause a rapid drop in the oil's alkalinity base numberresulting in an unprotected corrosive environment and base oil oxidation. Oil balls abrasive spherical contaminants form from the reaction of calcium sulfonate detergent additives found in nearly all motor oils and glycol contamination.

These balls are a known cause of damage to crankcase bearings and other frictional surfaces within an engine. Glycol contamination substantially increases oil viscosity which impairs lubrication and oil cooling. Frequent starts of an engine, excessive idling and cold running conditions can lead to moderate fuel dilution problems. Severe dilution excess of two percent is associated with leakage, fuel injector problems and impaired combustion efficiency.

These are symptomatic of serious conditions that cannot be corrected by an oil change. According to one reference, 0.


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