Engine leaks are a common problem in many cars but finding out that you had encountered one can be disconcerting. Apart from being messy, it can also cause major problems such as fire and other costly damage to your vehicle. Engine oil is responsible for keeping your car’s engine lubricated and reduces friction in the engine parts. When oil leakage happens, engine parts will be forced to work extra harder, increasing friction and leading to premature wear and tear of the parts. This is why an engine oil leak should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Signs of a car oil leak
The most common sign of an engine oil leak is the dark puddles of oil under your car when it is parked. The oil light on your dashboard will also warn you of the leak. Another possible sign of an oil leak is the smoke from the engine area, especially when the oil has dripped into the exhaust. You may also notice smoke coming from the tailpipe. If you still haven’t noticed that your car’s oil is dripping, you may also experience engine overheating and a smell of burning oil.
Causes of a car oil leak
Regardless of the car model that you drive, knowing that your engine oil is leaking can be worrisome, not to mention the costly repair that it can cause you. Determining the causes of an engine oil leak and what you can do when it happens can help a lot. Here are the most common causes of car oil leaks.
- Broken oil filter
As its name implies, an oil filter is responsible for filtering the oil and removing its contaminants as it can harm the engine. Over time, an oil filter will get worn out and become loose. If not replaced right away, this can result in engine oil leakage. Typically, an oil filter will be replaced every three months or after 3,000 mileage.
- Loose filler cap
One simple cause of engine oil leakage is a loose filler cap. A filler cap is what covers the engine oil compartment. If the filler cap is loose or misfit, the engine oil will most likely spill and drips until the car stops running. It can be easily fixed by readjusting and tightening the cap.
- Damaged drain plug
If you recently got an oil change, yet you noticed that the engine oil is leaking, it is probably caused by a misaligned or broken oil drain plug. Your car’s oil drain plug is situated at the bottom part of the oil pan and is either made of plastic or metal. During an oil change, the plug is removed to allow the old oil to flow out of the car. If the plug is damaged or misaligned, oil leaks can happen.
- Broken oil pan
If you notice dripping oil at the bottom of your car, then most likely, the culprit will be a broken oil pan. The car’s oil pan is found at the bottom of the engine and serves as the reservoir of oil that is flowing throughout the engine. When the oil pan is damaged, it can cause engine oil to drip.
- Malfunctioning gasket
The gasket connects all the different metal parts of your car’s engine. It creates a seal so that the oil will only flow to the area where it should be. Rough roads and other debris on the road can damage the gasket resulting in an engine oil leak.