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Old 02-18-2005, 12:43 AM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 38767
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: tri-state area
Default Poured coolant into engine oil by accident

So I decided to top off my oil since it was a bit low, long story short I ended up pouring in about 1 tablespoon worth of coolant into the engine before I realized. Its not what you think tho, I was using an old oil bottles to hold some used coolant without labeling it and was just careless when I picked up what i thought was a bottle of oil and didn't check the contents.

Neways I'm thinking its was only a little bit of coolant so i should be fine and the coolant should burn off just fine. Am I right in this thinking?? Or should I change my oil before driving my car again?? Need some tips, cuz its my daily driver and don't really have time to do an oil change before the next time I drive it. Also will this cause my engine any harm?? I drive an wrx STi if that makes a difference.

Thanks ahead of time.
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:10 AM   #2
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Location: Los Angeles
2006 STI


I would drain the oil first, and leave the drain plug out and sacrifice a new bottle of oil to flush out your motor before driving it, then re-do the oil change. One tablespoon probably won't hurt anything, but you don't want coolant in your oil.
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:51 AM   #3
Uncle Scotty
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As long as it was just that ammount and NO more(was it REALLY just a tablespoon???)....no worries....but more than that and you should, really, change your oil.

One tablespoon(1 tablespoon=1/2 US ounce) won't do anything to your oil 4.8 quarts (4.8 quarts=153.6 US ounces)
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:06 AM   #4
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Location: tri-state area

pretty sure it was 1 tablespoon or less, cuz as soon as I saw how it was flowing i knew it wasn't oil. But I will be changing the oil this weekend neways, I just need to drive it tommorrow. Thanks for everyones help btw, really appreciate it.
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Old 02-18-2005, 04:28 AM   #5
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I'd definately drain the oil, let it sit overnight with the plug off and the cap open if you're in a relatively warm climate, and the refill. This is not worth taking any chances.

Sure, 1 tablespoon isn't much when compared to 5 quarts of oil, but you just don't realize how much harm coolant in your oil can cause. The bearings won't last long under that kind of abuse.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:08 AM   #6
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If it really is just a tablespoon or so, then you will probably be fine - it will burn off - however, for piece of mind, you could get the car up to operating temp, then do an oil change - cheap and easy thing to do just to be sure everything is ok.
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:09 PM   #7
Tim Sanderson
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Location: S.E. wisconsin
00 Impreza 2.5 RS
Blue Ridge Pearl


I think people tend to over and under estimate quite a bit.

The water portion of the coolant would probably be worked out via steam. However, the glycol portion gets very gummy and dark when it heats up enough.

I'd change the oil.
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:47 PM   #8
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2004 Outback Sport


First of all, its not going to mix. It should go to the bottom of the pan and stay there. If the pump does pick it up, it should get trapped by the filter. Heat will cook the water out, but the glycol will stay (as noted above). I don't think flushing is necessary, but I'd probably change it.
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:36 PM   #9
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Location: Massachusetts
2002 Impreza TS
low profile green


Oxygen sensors can get fouled by antifreeze/coolant, too... you could be in for CEL purgatory... and it may not happen now, but you'll wonder why, perhaps after just 45,000 miles, your oxygen sensor is on the fritz... I'll vouch for full drain/pour a quart of $0.89 oil in there to chase out any residue, then re-fill with quality oil of your choice... don't forget to change the oil filter.
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:59 PM   #10
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ok I'm kinda convinced, its good I decided not to drive it today. Oh well gotta change the oil out tonight. Thanks everyone
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:45 PM   #11
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2005 Forester XT!!!
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Heck you really wanted to change the oil anyway. Don't feel too bad. We all make mistakes. I once filed up the washer bottle on my 4runner with....are you ready for this? Drained engine oil!!! That sure cured me of ever using washer bottles or any other kind for storage of other fluids. Repeat after me : >LABLE THEM!!!
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:54 PM   #12
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2003 WRX


I topped up my radiator overflow tank with old coolant contaminated with a small amount of engine oil - another lack of label issue. I assumed it was OK and left it. I hope I was right
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