Where Oil Leaks Commonly Occur
When you have puddles that make your garage look like the La Brea Tar Pits, the chances are that you don’t need us to tell you that you may have an oil leak. That much should be obvious. But where it may be coming from and pinpointing the exact problem can be tricky. In this article, we will go over some of the areas that may be causing the oil leaks in your car or truck.
Is it safe to drive with an oil leak?
Short answer. No.
Your vehicle’s engine oil lubricates the engine. It is essential to the operation of the vehicle. Oil leaks when ignored leave your vehicle vulnerable to corrosion. Ignoring oil leaks for too long can increase the chance of your vehicle overheating. Engine oil is also essential for the reduction of wear on the moving parts of your vehicle. When ignored, oil leaks can lead to very costly repairs down the road, but can also be dangerous for the driver and any passengers that may be along for the ride.
Any oil leak that is ignored for too long can cause seals to wear out prematurely. This can then begin to affect the rubber hoses in the engine. Oil leaks untreated for too long become a fire hazard. The engine oil can ignite without warning causing complete engine failure. This can be especially dangerous while driving. If you are driving with an oil leak continually check your oil levels and add oil when needed until you can get your vehicle in for service.
Common causes oil leaks:
Damaged or Failing Oil Pan
Your car’s oil pan is located under the vehicle. Oil leaks are caused by this component becoming damaged. If you look under your vehicle and notice large puddles of oil the most likely cause will be the oil pan. Leaks can start out very small at first and progressively get worse if untreated. If you notice that the pan has puncture or rust spots, this could be the main culprit of your oil leaks. This is usually a sign of your oil pan needing repair. If you notice oil leaks early, getting them fixed ASAP can save you money and headaches down the road.
Oil Pan Gasket Failure
The oil that is housed in the oil pan will begin to leak if the gasket around the pan is old, damaged, or failing. The older the vehicle the more likely it is that you will have to replace this gasket at some time. Some of the most common signs that leaks are coming from this area are; smoking issues, engine overheating, oil puddles under car, and lower than normal oil levels.
The oil leaks that you find coming from the oil pan gasket, may be small and sometimes undetectable. Usually, smaller leaks that cannot be seen, the only warning sign may be lower oil levels. All vehicles have a low oil light that will come on if there is an issue with your engine oil. Replacing an oil gasket will stop the leak in most cases.