I have way too much oil in my Acura TSX. Do I need to take care of it without turning it on or can I drive it to a service station?

If I need to do it in place, I don't have the ramps or a pan or the daylight left and my wife needs the car in the morning. Can I siphon the oil out of the top? If so, what type of tubing won't be dissolved by the oil?


If you want to laugh, yes I'm an idiot. The car's been great for years and years and I've never been good about checking the oil. Just regular oil changes and there's been no problem.

The second to last oil change, they sold me on synthetic and said I'd be good for a year. Well, after a year and many miles, turned out the engine was almost dry! Apparently "one year" was a bad recommendation. No damage done, but close.

Anyway, now I've been anxious about running out of oil, so I checked it an saw very little oil on the dipstick. Since it's been so long, I'd forgotten what to expect - "that's a long piece of metal with nothing on it", I think. So I get a big jug, enough for a full oil change, and empty into my engine. Only once the oil level doesn't rise nearly as far as I expected do I realize I made a mistake. My only excuse is that the dipstick level indicators are very subtle on the TSX, just two holes. I was looking at the big bends (what are they for anyway?).

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    the bends are to prevent the stick from vibrating around in the crank case. otherwise, the vibration could eventually cause the dipstick to snap off.
    – longneck
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 18:51
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    With a WHOLE GALLON too much oil, it's likely that your car won't start. If it does it will put a LOT of pressure on the rings as the pistons try to move out of the cylinders (the cylinders are going to displace something as they move out, and it's a lot easier to displace air than oil).
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 2:10
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    I ended up jacking up the car and cutting up one of those 5 gal water jugs creatively and dumping all the oil in there from below. I was then able to safely transfer the oil to the storm drain. KIDDING! Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 13:12
  • Small ps... are you mixing synthetic and petroleum oil in there? That's... not the best of ideas. Not lethal, but not recommended.
    – PcMan
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 15:49

4 Answers 4


You haven't wrecked the car but you should get the oil down to the appropriate level.

If the oil isn't hot, almost any sort of plastic tubing can be used for siphoning. It's easiest to go in via the dip stick.

Remember not to use the "suck start" siphoning method as you don't want a mouthful of oil. If you have a long enough piece of tubing, you can stick the excess down the dipstick tube, put your thumb over the end, pull out the slack (that is now full of oil) and you'll have an immediate siphon.

Also remember to siphon the oil back into the original container - you might as well keep it until you do need it.

My vote is that you take care of it yourself - I hate letting other people know that I made a goof, especially if I can fix it myself.

  • Excellent answer. Thanks! I'd have it done already but my brother bought the wrong size tubing. "Outer diameter! Outer!" Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 3:22
  • @uosɐſ, you're welcome. I'm consciously trying not to think about all the similarly embarassing goofs that I've made myself.... ;-)
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 13:50
  • This is working, but very slowly. Probably over 24 hours to get it all back out due to the small hose and high viscocity. Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 3:21
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    why does he have to siphon it, why can't he just drain some approximate amount from the drain plug ?
    – amphibient
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 21:31
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    @amphibient - As the OP stated, he doesn't have ramps, oil pan, or daylight left to drain it out the bottom. That would definitely be the easiest way to get the excess oil out, though. Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 11:08

I would not start an engine that has the oil overfilled by a gallon.

You can cause permanent engine damage by significantly overfilling the engine with oil. If the crankshaft and connecting rods are contacting the oil, they will whip air into it and cause it to foam. This happens when the oil level is too high. Foamy oil may still work as a barrier lubricant, but it does NOT have a high film strength. The air bubbles that make it foamy will compress under pressure, and metal parts will touch other metal parts that they normally shouldn't.

Many people racing cars with stock oil pans will overfill by a quart or sometimes a bit more, just to prevent oil starvation under high RPM or high G-forces. I think more than a quart is asking for trouble unless you're familiar with the crankcase and oil pan geometry and know you can safely add more. The main thing you want to avoid is filling up past the bottom of the windage tray, which is the panel that prevents oil from being blown around by air pushed by the spinning crankshaft.

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    Very true - I didn't make the "don't drive it, fix it" point strongly enough.
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 11:38
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    I'd recommend making your recent edit even stronger: put it at the top of the answer in bold.
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 17:59

You were told that you were good for one year but this did not mean that you did not have to check the oil level for one year, it was meant as you dont have to change the oil again for one year. If you have a gallon of oil over the limit, do not start the engine, drain the oil yourself or have the vehicle towed. This oil could cause damages that would cost thousand of $.


One other aspect which I did not see mentioned in either of the answers is, if you overfill the oil to the point where the crank/rods comes in contact with the oil, you can cause damage to the crank and rods themselves. At 1200 rpm, the crank and rods would be hitting the oil 20 times every second. Permanent engine damage can occur to the bearing as these are forces which do not normally occur inside of the engine. Even at low rpm, the damage can occur rather quickly.

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    So you and I are both agreeing with this answer: don't even start an overfilled car.
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 18:01
  • @BobCross ... One could safely assume that ;-) Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 18:05
  • You could probably shear the crankshaft itself. Oil being a liquid would not be displaced quick enough when impacted by a fast moving piece of metal and act like a impact tool.
    – Old_Fossil
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 5:00

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