While pulling your car out of the driveway, you may notice a blemish of oil that was not there before. Usually, drivers brush these away as being ‘just a little spot.’ However, ignoring oil leaks, especially for a more extended period, can lead to catastrophic engine issues. Oil reduces friction in the engine system, ensuring all the components work in tandem without causing corrosion. One obvious sign that you have delayed an oil change is when it leaks, causing a greasy puddle under your car. Special Interest Automobiles explains how to fix oil leaks and why they should be a priority in your car’s maintenance.
Oil leak causes and how to fix them
Usually, oil leaks are associated with worn-out engine gaskets or oil seals.
Damaged oil gaskets
Oil gaskets and pans are located at the bottom of the car and are more susceptible to damage due to debris from the roads. This wear and tear can lead to an oil leak.
An oil leak may be caused by an overtightened oil pan gasket or valve cover gasket in your car. Sometimes, an oil filter is also incorrectly installed, leading to the leak. Thus, when engine oil flows through the system, it can leak due to poorly installed components.
Malfunctioning rings or valve seals
Leaky rings or valve seals are also a common cause of engine oil leaking out of your car.
How do I find my oil leak
Now that you know the various causes of an oil leak, it is essential to inspect your car to find where the leak is coming from and its oil. Firstly, place a piece of paper under the leak to catch a few drops of it. Engine oil is amber in color, has a thin consistency with a chemical odor. However, the older the engine oil, the darker the color can be, which is an unhealthy sign.
If the oil leaking is green or orange and sticky in texture, it may be an antifreeze leak. Antifreeze leaks must be resolved immediately as it is hazardous to both the vehicle’s engine and pets attracted to its sweet odor. Other colors of oil leaking could be windshield washer fluid or brake fluid.
Special Interest Automobiles recommends the following steps to find the leak:
Check the oil pan seals
Check the oil pan plug
Inspect the timing cover seal and the valve cover gaskets
Check other components such as the oil pressure sensor, oil cap, and oil filter
It is also essential to consider that an older vehicle may have multiple leaks and must be thoroughly inspected by expert mechanics such as those at Special Interest Automobiles.
Why should I bother identifying an oil leak?
As mentioned previously, engine oil is the lubricant that ensures the engine’s pistons glide smoothly to avoid damage. However, the lack of lubrication will result in the pistons grinding against the various engine components, resulting in high heat and friction.
If the oil runs out due to a leak, the unlubricated pistons force the engine to seize up and stall. Thus, spending some time and effort in identifying the cause and location of an oil leak can save you big bucks in the long run.
Oil leaks may be expected in cars, but ignoring them can lead to dire consequences. Contact Special Interest Automobiles to find out more about oil leaks today!