How to Unseize an Engine: A Comprehensive Guide

DIY Guide: How to Unseize an Engine Like a Pro

Learn how to unseize an engine and save yourself from a costly replacement. Lack of lubrication is one of the main causes of engine seizures. - find out more!

An engine seizure can be a frustrating and costly problem to deal with. It occurs when the engine overheats or loses proper lubrication, causing the pistons to seize inside the cylinders. The result is an engine that won’t start or turn over. While a seized engine may seem like a death sentence for your vehicle, it’s not always the case.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to unseize an engine and get it back to running smoothly. We’ll cover the common causes of engine seizures, signs that your engine may be seized, and the tools and techniques needed to fix the problem. So, whether you’re a seasoned mechanic or a novice DIYer, keep reading to learn how to unseize an engine and get back on the road.

Understanding the Problem

Before you can begin to unseized an engine, you need to understand the root of the problem. There are several potential causes of a seized engine, including:

Lack of Lubrication

One of the most common causes of engine seizures is a lack of lubrication. Without proper lubrication, the engine’s moving parts can become damaged and start to seize. This can happen if you don’t change your oil regularly or if there’s a leak in the oil system.


Another common cause of engine seizures is overheating. When the engine gets too hot, the metal can expand and seize the pistons. This can happen if you’re driving in extreme heat or if there’s a problem with the cooling system.

Rust and Corrosion

If a vehicle is left sitting for an extended period, moisture can build up inside the engine and cause rust and corrosion. This can lead to the engine seizing when you try to start it.

Mechanical Failure

In some cases, engine seizures can be caused by mechanical failure. This can happen if a part inside the engine breaks and gets lodged in the cylinders.

Now that you understand the potential causes of a seized engine, let’s move on to the next section and discuss how to identify if your engine is seized.

How to Unseize an Engine: Step by Step

Now that you understand the potential causes of a seized engine, let’s take a look at the steps you can take to fix the problem. Depending on the severity of the seizure, these steps can vary in difficulty and complexity. If you’re unsure about any of these steps, it’s best to seek the help of a professional mechanic.

Step 1: Check for Signs of a Seized Engine

Before you attempt to unseized your engine, you need to confirm that it’s actually seized. Signs of a seized engine include a starter motor that won’t turn over, a grinding noise when you try to start the engine, or smoke coming from the engine. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s likely that your engine is seized.

Step 2: Remove the Spark Plugs

If your engine is seized, the next step is to remove the spark plugs. This will allow you to inspect the cylinders and determine the severity of the seizure. If the spark plugs are covered in oil or other debris, this is a sign of a serious problem.

Step 3: Apply Penetrating Oil

Once you have removed the spark plugs and are ready to apply penetrating oil to your engine, make sure to use the best penetrating oil for seized engines. Check out our article “Top 10 Best Penetrating Oil For Seized Engine” to find the best options on the market. Using high-quality penetrating oil can make all the difference in unseizing your engine quickly and effectively. Don’t skip this important step – head over to our article and make an informed decision on the best penetrating oil for your engine.

Step 4: Try to Turn the Engine Over

After the penetrating oil has had time to work its magic, try to turn the engine over by hand. You can use a socket and a ratchet to try to turn the crankshaft. If the engine is still seized, you may need to apply more penetrating oil and wait for it to soak in again.

Step 5: Check for Damage

If you’re able to turn the engine over, it’s important to check for any signs of damage. Look for scratches or other damage to the cylinder walls, pistons, and connecting rods. If you notice any serious damage, it may be necessary to rebuild or replace the engine.

Step 6: Reassemble the Engine

If you were able to successfully unseized the engine, the final step is to reassemble it. Replace the spark plugs, add oil to the engine, and try to start it up. If the engine starts and runs smoothly, you’ve successfully fixed the problem.


Unseizing an engine can be a daunting task, but it’s one that’s necessary if you want to get your vehicle back on the road. By understanding the potential causes of a seized engine and following the steps outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of success.

It’s important to note that unseizing an engine can be a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process. It requires patience, perseverance, and a willingness to learn. If you’re unsure about any of these steps, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional mechanic.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to engine problems. Regular maintenance, including oil changes and tune-ups, can help prevent your engine from seizing in the first place. And if you do run into problems, don’t panic. With the right tools and knowledge, you can fix almost any engine problem.

So take the time to understand your engine and its components. Treat it well, and it will reward you with years of reliable service.


What causes an engine to seize?

An engine can seize due to lack of lubrication, overheating, or contamination of the oil.

Can a seized engine be fixed?

Yes, a seized engine can be fixed by following the steps outlined in this article, although the severity of the seizure will impact the difficulty and complexity of the process.

Can I unseized an engine myself?

Unseizing an engine can be a complex process and may require specialized tools and knowledge. It’s recommended to seek the help of a professional mechanic if you’re unsure about any of the steps involved.

How long does it take to unseized an engine?

The time it takes to unseized an engine can vary depending on the severity of the seizure and the steps required to fix the problem. It may take several hours or even days to fully unseized an engine.

Can regular maintenance help prevent engine seizures?

Yes, regular maintenance such as oil changes, tune-ups, and inspections can help prevent engine seizures by keeping the engine properly lubricated and identifying potential problems before they become severe.

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