My Car Runs Rough After Oil Change: Causes and Fixes

Close-up of mechanic adding oil with a funnel

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My Car Runs Rough After Oil Change: Possible Causes and Solutions

Have you recently changed your car's oil and now find that it runs rough? You are not alone if this occurs.

Many car owners have experienced this issue and can be quite frustrating.

Your vehicle may experience various problems after an oil change, such as rough idling, poor acceleration or even stalling.

In this article, we'll look into the common causes of a rough-running engine after an oil change and offer solutions on how to resolve them.


Low-Quality Oil

low quality oil

One of the primary causes of poor engine performance after an oil change is using low-quality oil.

Cheap oil may not meet manufacturer specifications or have proper additives to protect your engine, leading to decreased power and rough idling.

If you believe low-grade oil is causing your engine to run rough, we suggest replacing both with high-grade, manufacturer-recommended products for optimal performance and protection.

If you are unsure as to what oil to choose, you can consult your owners manual or speak to a mechanic online or locally.


Wrong Viscosity

Pouring engine oil to car engine. Fresh oil poured during an oil change to a car.

Using the wrong viscosity oil can result in uneven engine performance after an oil change.

Viscosity refers to how easily the oil flows through your engine; too thick or thin can cause friction and decreased performance.

You can consult your car owner's manual for guidance on selecting the correct viscosity of oil for use, and ensure you use only that type and viscosity during each change.


Clogged Oil Filters

dirty oil filter

A clogged oil filter can restrict oil flow to your engine, leading to decreased performance and rough idling.

When changing oil, it's essential to replace your car's oil filter in order to avoid clogs and guarantee proper oil circulation.

Furthermore, a neglected clogged filter could eventually cause engine damage over time or cause leaking after an oil change; so it's essential that this issue be addressed right away.

If you are unsure about this we recommend you speak to a mechanic locally or online.


Contaminated Oil

Auto mechanic with car oil

Contaminated oil can lead to poor engine performance after an oil change.

Dirt, debris and metal shavings accumulate over time in your engine, leading to damage and poor performance.

When changing your car's oil, make sure all old oil is completely drained out and replaced with fresh, clean fluid.

Furthermore, inspect the oil for contaminants prior to adding it back into your engine.


Loose or Damaged Parts

Mechanic repairing car with old car parts

If your oil filter or pan was not installed correctly, this can lead to oil leaks and decreased performance.

Furthermore, damaged spark plugs or ignition coils in your car may result in poor acceleration as well as rough idling.

If you suspect these issues are the source of your engine running rough, we suggest taking it to a trusted mechanic for inspection.



If your car is a running rough or jerking after an oil change, it can be discouraging and worrying.

But understanding the common causes of rough engine performance after an oil change and taking steps to prevent them will help safeguard against engine damage and ensure smooth running in your car.

By using high-quality oil and filters, using the correct viscosity for oil, inspecting for contaminants, and making sure all parts are installed correctly, you can minimize engine lag and enjoy a reliable ride with improved smoothness and dependability.

I hope you found this article helpful, and feel free to check out our other car maintenance blogs


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I drive my car if it runs rough after an oil change?

No, it is not recommended that you drive your vehicle if it exhibits signs of engine trouble after having its oil changed. Driving in this condition could result in further harm and should never be attempted.

How often Should I Change My Car's Oil?

The frequency of oil changes depends on your car's make and model, driving conditions, and what type of oil you use. On average, most cars need an oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.

What is the Best Oil for My Car?

Your vehicle's make and model, along with your driving conditions, all determine which oil is optimal. Consult your owner manual or ask a mechanic online or locally if unsure.

Can a poor oil change cause engine damage?

Yes, engine damage can result from improper oil changes. Using incorrect oils, leaving old oil in the engine, or failing to replace the oil filter all lead to engine issues and decreased performance.

How can I ensure my engine runs optimally after an oil change?

To guarantee optimal engine performance after an oil change, use high-quality oil and filters that meet the manufacturer's specifications. Moreover, make sure you use the correct viscosity of oil for your engine and inspect it for contaminants before adding it to the car. Furthermore, remember to replace your oil filter during each oil change and double check all parts for correct installation.

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