What to Do if Your Car is Leaking Oil

by | Jan 11, 2016

Is Your Car is Leaking Oil?

You might say to yourself, “It’s just a small puddle. I’ll worry about it later.” It can be an easy symptom to ignore, but oil leaks can create big problems for your vehicle.

Oil leaks can cause damage to critical pieces of your engine, including rubber hoses and seals. Even more alarming, an oil leak in your engine compartment is a fire hazard and could result in serious damage to your vehicle and yourself.

What are the warning signs for an engine oil leak? If the levels on your oil dip stick are dropping (you should be checking this once a week), then you are losing oil. If you’re driving and blue smoke is coming from your car, oil could be leaking into the engine. If you notice a burning smell after driving, it could be oil burning in the engine from a leak. And of course, if you see a brown stain on the pavement underneath your vehicle, it’s likely an oil leak.

Here are our tips for what to do if your car is leaking oil:

Track Down the Source

Most oil leaks are caused by problems related to engine gaskets and seals. The first step to solving your oil leak problem is finding the source. If you’re a DIYer, there’s a few options available to you for tracking down the leak. If you don’t feel confident searching on your own, skip down to the next section of this post.

You can attempt to find your leak with the same resources as the professionals: a fluorescent leak detection system. Using an ultraviolet light and fluorescent dyes can help you find small leaks. Simply add the dye to your oil reservoir and let your engine idle for ten minutes. Shine the UV light over your engine to find any glowing areas.

If you don’t want to the dye route, there’s an alternate method. First, use an aerosol engine cleaner to loosen road film from the engine, transmission and underbody of your vehicle. Once the underbody is clean and dry, use an aerosol powder and spray the underside to cover it with a white haze. Drive the vehicle until the oil leaks. The idea behind this plan is that the oil may show up in the white powder as a “stream” and lead you to the leak.

Find a Temporary Solution For the Oil Leak

Maybe you don’t have the time or the resources to take your car in for repairs yet. But for your safety and the health of your vehicle, you should implement a temporary solution to stop your oil leak for the short-term.

One option to briefly fix your oil leak problem is using a stop leak additive. These products will provide a temporary solution and keep your vehicle on the road. You can also try checking for loose bolts inside the engine, starting with the oil pan. Tightening the bolts may also offer a solution to your oil leak problem.

Visit a Service Professional

Many vehicle owners don’t want to spend the time to diagnose and repair oil leaks (keep in mind that our Ambassador Plans can help you with repair costs). But don’t ignore the problem. Take your vehicle to a service professional and have them take a look. The longer you delay on making the repairs, the worse it is for your car.

Oil leaks are warning signs for a problem within your vehicle and they don’t fix themselves. Do your research or consult a professional to determine what to do if your car is leaking oil. Be proactive about solving the problem to keep your car in working condition.

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