The process is annoying. You are driving down the road listening to music and that’s when it happens. Your hearts sinks a little as the oil light on you dashboard glares up at you. You can almost hear that little maniacal warning signal laughing at you because it knows, it’s not time for an oil change yet.
You know it may be a leak, but you have no idea what is causing the leak or where that leak maybe. To help you out, we will give you 3 of the most common oil leaks and how to tell if that’s your problem.
1. Gasket & Seal Leaks
Many times when engine parts are bolted or clamped together they are not exactly seamless. There can be little flaws, bumps, or grooves, that keep engine parts from fastening tightly together. This is what seals and gaskets are for. They fill in those spaces to create a leak proof seal between two engine parts. Often times, those seals and gaskets can break down and begin to leak.
Common gaskets that cause oil leaks are the ones between the valve cover and oil pan. The valve cover sits at the top of the motor and is bolted between the valve cover and the engine. Oil is pumped from the oil pan, which is located underneath the engine, to the top and pools under the valve cover.
There are also two seals that are located in front and behind the crankshaft. These seals break down just like gaskets. Sometimes drivers or mechanics will try and solve seal leaks by adding chemicals to the oil which expand/soften oil seals. The problem with these chemicals are sometimes they make the oil seal expand too much which cause the oil seal to destroy itself. This will make a small oil leak into a big oil leak. Seal leaks can be expensive because they are hard to get to. Commonly found behind pulley systems and transmissions, mechanics will often need to take these parts off first before they can access the seals.
2. Oil Filter
This does exactly what it sounds like it does; filters all the debris out of the oil before it is pumped back into the engine. Another common oil leak can be found where the oil leak screws onto the engine. If the oil filter is screwed on crooked or not tight enough, the amount of pressure from the engine could cause oil to leak out of the top of the filter.
Another common cause of oil to leak from the oil filter is by having the wrong size. An oil filter that is too small can cause the threads or the seal on the oil filter to be loose when screwing the filter to the engine. If you notice oil starting to build up around the top of the oil filter, or leaking from the top, this may be the source of your oil leaks.
3. Plug & Cap
Both where you add oil and where you drain oil could be causing oil leaks. If both plug and cap are not tight enough or too worn out, oil can seep through the threading. Checking for oil leaks around the oil cap is easier than the plug. The oil cap is located on top of the engine and usually has a picture of an oil can on the face.
The plug is located on the oil pan underneath the engine. This can be hard to get to if you don’t have a way to jack the car up. You can look for any oil spots on the ground where your car was parked to see if you have any noticeable leaks.
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