One thing you must never ignore when it comes to cars is an oil leak. This can be a major problem and not just because it will stain any pavement it comes in contact with. Oil is a flammable liquid and a leak can cause a fire in your car engine if it is not seen to. For your own safety and for the safety of other motorist you should get your car checked at the first sign of oil leakage. Below are the most common reasons for oil leaks to occur.
An Engine Gasket that has degraded
A broken engine gasket is one of the most common causes of oil leaks. An engine gasket is a seal that connects and seals two metal components of an engine. For example an engine gasket is found between the engine block and cylinder head or heads in an engine. The reason for an engine gasket breaking down can be the buildup of oily sludge. This is a harmful substance for the gasket.
Damaged Oil Pan
The quickest way to damage an oil pan is running over large pieces of debris in the roadway. Examples of debris are, large rocks, wood that has fallen from truck beds, and even pieces of blown out tires. Running over these types of material can dent the underside of the oil pan. These dents, over time and with enough of them, can cause the seal around the oil pan to come loose. Once the seal is loose then the oil will start leaking out.
Oil Drain Plug
An oil drain plug can be found at the base of the oil pan. This can also become loose when you run over large debris in the roadway, the same way as the oil pan can. However, the oil drain plug can also wear out and not function properly. If you want to see if the oil drain plug is the source of your leak simply check for fresh oil around the plug. Dripping oil from the oil drain plug is also an indication of a leak.
Oil Filler Cap
A filler cap is a device that covers the engine oil compartment. Now, if this filler cap is broken, missing or loose, oil is going to spill out. The oil will come out not only while the vehicle is running but also after the car stops and is turned off. This in a simple thing to repair though if it is the cause of a car oil leak.
An important part to check when having an oil leak is the oil filter. This filter is vital for your car. Now, it can become misaligned over an extended period of time, it can become loose or wear out, which will result in an oil leak. The oil filter removes impurities that are created during the combustion process and it also removes carbon. An oil filter is subjected to the oil pressure which is supplied by the oil pump. Such constant exposure to pressure can cause a leak if the filter becomes loose. Another possibility of the cause of an oil leak is when the seal from an old oil filter is left on the block. This type of problem can take time to surface, even if you have had the oil changed the old seal could have been left behind. To check and see if the oil filter is the cause for a leak use a flashlight to make sure you do not miss anything. Tighten the filter and recheck it. You might even want to remove the filter. Clean the area with a clean cloth then check the leak again to see if the problem has been resolved.
As you see many things can cause an oil leak in a car. But at the same time it is evident that there is much that can be done to prevent and fix oil leaks before serious damage occurs. Doing these things keeps all drivers on the roads safe and prevents the loss of time and money that can occur if small problems are ignored. Small oil leaks can lead to large ones so by checking oil leaks right as they start many serious problems and safety issues can be avoided.