The oil and vinegar will be at the bottom.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

On a 1984 Crown Victoria which is sitting on a level floor with the proper amount of oil in it, what part of the crank shaft is submerged in that oil?

TOM: None. Some of the herbs and croutons may be floating around the crank shaft, but the oil and vinegar will be at the bottom.

RAY: Seriously, when the car is not running, all of the oil drops to the bottom most part of the engine's oil pan (the sump). When the engine is started, the oil pump sucks the oil out of the sump, and pumps it to all the places in the engine that need lubrication--including the crank shaft. This is the only way the engine gets lubrication.

TOM: The only time your crankshaft could be submerged is if the engine were grossly overfilled with oil. If the crankshaft were swimming in oil, it would act like a giant eggbeater as it spins, and that would turn the oil into 10W-30 meringue. While Julia Child might find this delightful, your oil pump would not. Oil pumps can't pump foam, and without lubrication, your entire engine would be overcooked in no time.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One