Is Motor Oil Flammable Or Combustible?

It’s common for many people to confuse motor oils with flammability and combustibility. So, is motor oil flammable or combustible, then? 

Well, motor oil does have the tendency to catch fire, but as the flashpoint is above 93 degrees Celsius so it’s not classified as a flammable substance. Instead, it’s combustible. Plus, while working with motor oils, there are certain fire protections that you also need to keep in check. 

So, in this blog, you’ll know all the insights into motor oil combustibility and ways through which you can deal with certain flame accidents. Therefore, read on till the end!

Is Motor Oil Flammable Or Combustible

Why Is Motor Oil So Combustible? 

Motor oil is composed of hydrocarbons (compounds containing carbon and hydrogen atoms). And this is one of the significant reasons why motor oil tends to catch fire even at lower temperatures. 

For this phenomenon, motor oil is considered a combustible liquid. Plus, it requires enough heat sources to catch fire and go into flames. 

Moreover, some motor oils contain additives like dispersants and detergents to keep the overall engine smooth and clean. 

These additives can also contribute to the combustibility of the motor oils, especially when it comes to contact with fire or other heat sources. 

Note: Motor oils are of two types: synthetic and conventional! And surprisingly, fully synthetic oil is less prone to combustibility compared to conventional motor oil. 

Is Motor Oil Explosive? A Brief Overview

Well, not really! Motor oils aren’t considered explosive. However, these oils do have the tendency to catch fire and cause a severe hazard if not handled right. And this is because when this motor oil gets exposed to certain heat sources, it can start to burn and result in damage. 

However, one thing’s for sure; motor oils aren’t explosive like other fuel types (gasoline and propane) since they have a higher flashpoint.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t release flammable vapors! If motor oils come to contact with excessive heat sources, they can release vapors when ignited to a spark. 

So, you must stay extra cautious when handling motor oils and ensure you maintain all the fire protection regulations while dealing with motor oils. 

Possible Fire Protections You Need for Motor Oil 

In this section, we’ve listed some possible fire protections you need while dealing with motor oil. Therefore, don’t skip any of the following points. 

Possible Fire Protections You Need for Motor Oil 
  • As motor oils are combustible, storing them correctly is a must! You also need to ensure the area you’re keeping the motor oil is well-ventilated and cool. Plus, ensure that you have no fire or heat sources near it. 
  • You also need to ensure that you keep an active fire suppression system. And the best possible option here would be to go with fire extinguishers. But do make sure you have the right fire extinguisher type for such fuel. 
  • Regular inspections of the motor fuel are also recommended. This way, you’ll have heads on whether or not the fuel container is damaged or leaking. 
  • Never store your motor oil in normal containers. There are special containers that are designed only to store motor fuel. Wrong containers will always put you at risk of a fire outbreak since the motor fuels are usually pretty volatile. 
  • While dealing with motor fuels, always ensure you have proper fire safety gear on you. It can be heat-protective gloves, clothes, and even goggles. This way, even with a fire hazard, you can protect yourself. 

Ways to Extinguish a Motor Oil Fire?

One of the major reasons for motor oil fire hazards is the lack of tactics to deal with a fire outbreak. So, in this section, we’ve listed some of the most effective ways to extinguish a motor oil fire easily. 

Get the Fire to Smother

When you notice a sudden motor oil fire expand, you first need to try to cover up the emerging fire with a fire-resistant blanket, or you can even use a fire extinguisher. However, if you’re using a fire extinguisher, ensure it’s the right type. This way, you can easily cut down the fire to expansion. 

Cover the Fire with Foam

Another effective way to deal with motor fuel fire is to cover the fire with foam. This prevents the oxygen from reaching the fire source, and it gradually makes the fire weak. 

Some experts even recommend using foam extinguishers or foam-mixed water to prevent the fire from spreading further. But whatever you do, ensure you stay at a safe distance while putting down the fire outbreak. 

Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers

This type of extinguisher is effective, especially when it comes to dealing with motor oil fuels. Such extinguishers aid in cutting down the oxygen supply to the fire source, and the extinguishing process is also pretty fast. 

Note: These extinguishers' overall quality and class play a significant role. So, ensure you have the right extinguisher for the job! You can also consult with an expert to aid you in getting the right carbon dioxide extinguisher. 

Call the Fire Experts

If you see it’s going to be challenging to take hold of the spreading fire, don’t hesitate to call fire support. In fact, it’s recommended that you call fire support as soon as there’s a fire outbreak. This way, you can be sure of no potential damage or hazard whatsoever. 

Is Sunflower Oil More Flammable than Motor Oil?

Sunflower oil is more flammable than motor oil. Motor oil has a high flash point, making it less likely to ignite compared to sunflower oil. It is important to use caution when handling and storing flammable liquids to avoid potential hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can motor oil be self-combustible? 

Well, it depends, actually! Motor oils are less likely to go combustion on their own; however, if the conditions are such, they self-combust. 

2. Will motor oil immediately catch fire when it comes to flame contact? 

Even though motor oils are combustible and not flammable, these fuels will indeed ignite when it comes to direct flame contact. 

3. At what temperature do motor oils usually burn? 

The temperature can range somewhere between 300° to 400° Fahrenheit. 

Bottom Line

So, after going through this blog, you should now know why motor oils are combustible and why fire protection is essential when dealing with motor oils. 

However, mishaps can occur, and during that time, it’s important that you know how to deal with the fire outbreak. So, it’s essential that you’re well prepared and don’t hesitate to call on the fire experts.