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June 20, 2014

Experts' Experts: The best way to add motor oil


From the June 2014 issue of Popular Mechanics: "It seems counterintuitive, but the best way to pour motor oil is to turn the container so that its opening is on top. In this position, the profile of the neck lets air smoothly replace the exiting oil for a steady pour. Flip it over and the air forces its way in, creating the 'glugging' that sloshes oil all over the engine bay."


June 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Or, just pour slowly the instinctive way (with quart bottle almost level)into funnel; then as bottle empties, raise the bottle to the last drop. That is, if you have the time and patience.

Posted by: Loreleil | Jun 23, 2014 12:43:31 AM

Yes,this advice rings true.I'm a house painter. I always pour my metal gallon cans with the spout at the top.It pours more evenly.My father taught me this maybe in 1974?He was a painter by trade too.The tradition continues.

Posted by: steven frisk | Jun 20, 2014 11:44:06 PM

Joe as "Copy Doctor"?

Well, he's fixed a few flubs of mine...

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jun 20, 2014 10:08:44 PM

It's an interesting conundrum. Way back in the 1920s, and maybe earlier, oil was sold in containers that had built-in metal spouts and funnels. Back in the day when the containers were built by hand and soldered together by humans. In more recent times, the oil industry played with moulded-in air-admittance channels, but the diameter of the channels was usually too narrow for the viscosity of the oil.
We are in an age where machines blop out containers of any shape in an instant, and we've gone backwards in functionality.

Resolving this problem will never be a big priority though, because most people just let the garage do it, newer cars should continue to be better at not consuming or leaking oil between services, and the oil industry knows it sells on mostly imaginary high-tech claims, not fractional improvements in container ergonomics.

I use a funnel. They're cheap. And a wodge of absorbent paper towel in one hand.

Posted by: soubriquet | Jun 20, 2014 3:56:39 PM

"Turn the container so that its opening is on top"

...oh, so the best way to pour motor oil is from an upright container?

Popular Mechanics may be experts under the hood, but they could use some training themselves in clear, understandable explanations. Maybe they should hire Joe :)

Posted by: Nathan | Jun 20, 2014 12:58:48 PM

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