Engineering Question #1532

Shauna, a 30 year old female from the Internet asks on July 30, 2003,

How long can a vehicle typically run without oil or antifreeze before the engine seizes?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on September 3, 2003

I'm not an automotive expert, but a quick websearch indicates the answer depends on the type of engine. In general a motor running without oil will last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or so. Not very long. A motor running without coolant (I assume this is what you mean by anti-freeze) may last longer if it is very cold outside, but would also end up seizing up in a few minutes or an hour depending how hard you ran it. An engine running in winter with water and no antifreeze would probably end up with a cracked block on a cold night, and during the next day you'd have big problems.

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