jharry3 Reader
9/4/18 9:02 a.m.

So I got distracted while changing the oil in my wife's Ford Edge.  2.0 ecoboost.

I started it without oil and it took about 15 seconds before I realized it and shut it off.  

Didn't make any funny noises while this happened.    I added the oil and we drove like 60 miles with no issues popping up.  

I always use Royal Purple so I am hoping the  leftover oil was enough for the bearings.

Do I have a kaboom in my future? 

I'm ready to crawl under a rock I am so disappointed in myself... I have been working on cars for over 45 years and this is my first mistake that could have consequences.

Wife drives 2000 miles a month for work so I do a lot of oil changes every year.

Stampie UberDork
9/4/18 9:04 a.m.

Your probably ok. I'd do a 500 mile oil change and look for shiny stuff in the oil and filter. 

AngryCorvair MegaDork
9/4/18 9:08 a.m.

+1 to probably OK.   I wouldn't even do a 500-mile change.   as the kids say, I'd send it.

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) PowerDork
9/4/18 9:21 a.m.

It's fine.  15 seconds of idle without oil: nothing.  I used to do that just to clear old oil out of the system and never had a problem.

Robbie PowerDork
9/4/18 9:22 a.m.

agree. as long as you didn't start the car and go straight to wide open throttle and high boost to back out of the garage.

jimbbski Dork
9/4/18 9:35 a.m.

I agree with all of the above.

I've seen and heard of people running old engines without oil to see how long they will run and it usually takes a few minutes or more to seize.

So a "good" engine with "good" oil residue in it  run for 15 seconds should not show any abnormal wear.

I do have to say that I've never done the above but have forgotten to install  the drain plug a couple of times. That is over a near 45 year span of changing my own oil  however.

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
9/4/18 9:56 a.m.

I've done it...once.  No catastrophe, but now I take a piece of blue painter's tape and write 'no oil,' on it and stick it to the steering wheel before I begin an oil change.  I like to let it drain, often get distracted and wander off, etc.  I don't always communicate what I'm doing and that keeps someone else from jumping in and firing it up, as well.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
9/4/18 10:02 a.m.

I'd say you have at least a 50% chance of getting away with it. Cheap oil change places that drop in new oil and crank the engines right up probably have them running for 5~10sec with no meaningful oil pressure anyway.

If you want to be really careful you could assembly-lube the bottom end bearings and valvetrain and put it back together. If you want to play the odds, you could put some good oil in, unplug the fuel pump fuse or injectors to disable fuel, and crank until the pressure warning light goes off, and then fire it up and see what happens.

CyberEric HalfDork
9/4/18 10:36 a.m.

Engineering explained ran an engine with out oil for quite a while before it had problems. Search for the video if you want to feel better. My guess is you’re fine

aircooled MegaDork
9/4/18 10:48 a.m.

No load and residual oil should cover you for a while.  It's not like the bearing and engine where dry (e.g. assembling an engine without oil)

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/4/18 10:53 a.m.

Send it! 

bobzilla MegaDork
9/4/18 11:17 a.m.

Good to go. 

DeadSkunk PowerDork
9/4/18 11:19 a.m.

Many years ago Molyslip ran a promotional stunt between races at Mosport. They took a high mileage Chevelle (I think) that had used Molyslip from new and drained the oil. Then they started running laps with the intent of seeing how many it could go before seizing. It just kept going and going. Various drivers were taking turns because they couldn't believe it hadn't died. Eventually it came to a halt after many laps at racing speeds. Oil was added and it was bump started and the owner drove it home.

WonkoTheSane Dork
9/4/18 12:02 p.m.

You likely took 15k off the life of that engine!   Now the body will rust out[0] only 160k before the engine dies, not 175k!  


[0]Note:  substitute "expensive emissions part that isn't worth replacing" for "body rust" if you don't live in the northern half of the country.

Shawnb Reader
9/4/18 12:12 p.m.

In high school I worked at a Subaru dealer. Sti was in for a blown motor replacement under warranty. 


Techs ran it without coolant or oil for a few minutes before realizing..... Never made any noises though. Added fluids, and sent it down the road... I’ve always wondered how long that thing lasted. 



Given the brief time you had it running, it’s more than luckily fine. 

APEowner Dork
9/4/18 3:26 p.m.

You probably took a little life off the the engine but you're still likely to wear out the rest of the car before anything happens.

chandler PowerDork
9/4/18 8:54 p.m.

Or...this could happen.realistically though this is what happens when the dealer doesn’t torque your plug and the dummy light comes on after the oil is gone.

mad_machine MegaDork
9/4/18 8:55 p.m.

cold engine, residual oil film on all bearings.. you are fine

dean1484 MegaDork
9/4/18 10:14 p.m.

There was oil in the pump so realistically you probably ran it for only 5-10 seconds with out pressure but still had some oil flow. With no load on the motor and only at idle I would say you are fine.

Danny Shields
Danny Shields Reader
9/5/18 7:56 a.m.

Many cars take a few seconds to build up oil pressure every time they start up. Think of it as just a few more cold starts, among the thousands that the vehicle will experience in its lifetime.  

Appleseed MegaDork
9/5/18 8:16 a.m.

Tech tip of the day: when changing oil, put the oil jug, or quarts under the hood, preferably in a way as to not be able to shut the hood without moving them. There is a chance that seeing or grabbing the oil might jog the memory to remind that you haven't added oil yet. 

Our Preferred Partners