Why Is My Car Leaking Oil?

May 15th, 2017

There are numerous ways that you notice your car is leaking oil: you back out of a parking space or your drive way and see a puddle, you can smell it while driving, or there is blue smoke coming from your tailpipe, or a combination of all. When you move past the denial phase (your car isn’t leaking oil! You’re imagining it!) and move on to questioning why it is leaking, you can find here what may be causing that leak. 


Before we get in to what could be causing the leak, we have to provide a warning: IF YOUR ENGINE IS LEAKING OIL, GET IT FIXED! This is extremely serious, with leaking oil causing anywhere from hose and wire degradation to potential fire hazards that can put your life at risk. If you see the puddle, take it in to make sure you protect yourself. 

So, what can be causing the leak? The first item that can cause the oil leak are problems with the oil pan and the oil pan gasket. The former is the pooling center for used oil while the latter makes sure the liquid stays within the pan. If either of these are degraded, oil will be leaking. This problem can be readily identified by rolling under the car and checking both. 

Another problem deals with the engine gaskets. Gaskets are used to seal cylinders that create the compression that powers your engine. These gaskets will also prevent engine oil from spilling out onto other parts of the engine. Problems with gaskets tend to require turning to an expert for help. 


There are ways to prevent both of these major problems from occurring in the first place. A cheap fix is to begin using a “stop leak additive” like No Leak that works to maintain the softness of the rubber seals used to stop oil leakage. While this can be used at any time, even if you don’t have a leak, it works best on those with leaks that are first detected. Some online auto websites claim that this can help when the leak has been there longer and is more severe, but if the engine is leaving behind a puddle of oil, it is still best just to take it into a mechanic. 

As I mentioned above, oil leaks need to be taken care of immediately. Whether it is taken care of it yourself at home or taking it into a mechanic, leaking oil can cause further danger.

  Tags: auto repair
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101