What Causes Oil Leaks and How to Fix Them
Oil leaks can be aggravating for vehicle owners because there are a lot of potential causes for them. While it can be quite difficult to diagnose the exact cause on a vehicle, most leaks can be avoided with the help of simple and regular maintenance. Here are some of the most common causes of oil leaks and what you can do to prevent them:
The Oil Filter
Over time, oil filters wear out, thus making them the top cause for oil leaks. Also, some vehicles have extra parts in their filtration system, at the filter which can also leak. Your local mechanic should replace the filter with every oil change you make and see if it fits properly because having a misaligned or loose filter could also lead to leaks.
The Filler Cap or Drain Plug
The drain plug is located at the oil pan’s base. A plug that has misaligned threads, worn-out threads, or one that is simply loose can be yet another cause of an oil leak. The engine’s pressure could also result in oil leaks, provided that the filler cap is broke, loose, or missing. Make sure both are in good condition and correctly sealed to assist in avoiding leaks.
The Valve Gasket
This cause of oil leaks is probably the most common one, especially in vehicles that have high mileage. The valve gasket itself joins the engine block and oil pan. The increase of pressure in the seal, over time, can lead to leaks and failures, especially if sludge is built up. The build-up of sludge can be reduced with regular oil changes, which in turn, helps to increase the gaskets’ longevity.
How to Properly Check for Leaks
Keep a close eye on your oil dipstick, when you’re checking for oil leaks from the engine. Make sure you perform the check when the engine is cool, preferably in the morning, after an overnight sitting. If you notice a decrease in oil levels, over time, this means that you are losing oil. You can also see if there’s blue smoke coming out from the tailpipe, while you are driving, or if there’s a smell of burning oil. This indicates possible leaks into the engine or on hot parts of the engine.
Also, you can look for the common oil stains on the ground, especially if it’s been sitting overnight. Brown liquid is often a sign of an engine oil leak, red is usually transmission fluid, and orange or green is usually coolant.
Problems related to your vehicle’s oil system often require costly repairs, but getting them fixed right away could potentially save you money. The rubber hoses and seals can be prematurely degraded by oil leaks but, worst of all, they could potentially lead to engine failure.
The best way to fix an oil leak is to take it to your local mechanic for professional oil leaks service. The service itself may be more expensive than a YouTube DIY, but the fix will be long-lasting and you know they’ll get the job done right.