If you suspect that your car has sprung an oil leak because of a brownish or black fluid stain in your parking space, on your driveway or garage floor, get it fixed sooner rather than later. It’s important to fix oil leaks, not only because they can result in significant and costly engine damage but also because they are an environmental hazard.
Identifying Engine Oil Leaks
Engine oil leaks are quite easy to identify since they leave stains or even puddles under your car. What’s more, you can sometimes smell the odour of burnt oil. If you smell burning oil, it could be that engine oil is leaking onto hot engine part. Also, if you see a bluish smoke coming from your exhaust pipe, it could be because oil is leaking into the engine itself. If you are one of the few drivers who are in the habit of checking their engine oil level regularly and notice that the level has been dropping, it could also be a sign that you are losing oil as well.
The Most Common Causes of Engine Oil Leaks
The majority oil leaks is caused by bad or worn engine gaskets, oil pan leaks, oil seals, incorrectly attached oil filters or improperly secured oil plugs. Your vehicles PCV system controls your engine breathing, these systems can plug up and fail, resulting in leaks.
Gaskets are seals which join two metal components of an engine. For example, the two main gaskets are between the head and the engine block and the oil pan and the engine block. Leaky gaskets are the most common cause of engine oil leaks, especially in older vehicles or vehicles with high mileage. This is because over time engine pressure increases and causes leaks in seals and gaskets. In addition, if we run over road debris, we can damage our oil pan and compromise the seal or gasket which prevent oil leaks.
The drain plug on your engine oil pan, located under your engine, it is normally removed by your service centre to drain the old oil. Sometimes due to worn out or misaligned threats or because it is a little loose, oil can leak out. It is easy to determine if the oil leak is from your drain plug as there will be fresh oil around the plug.
When your oil filter is loose or it is not aligned correctly, you can have an oil leak. Furthermore, there are vehicles with additional parts in their filtration system, near the filter, which can also leak.
Oil Filler Cap
Make sure that your filler cap is properly fitted and not damaged. Most people do not realize that oil can leak from this cap because they believe oil only drips downwards. However, the pressure of the engine can cause oil to spill from the cap while your engine is running.