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Oil Leak: 7 Reasons Why Your Engine Oil Might Be Leaking

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7 Possible Causes of Oil Leaks

If you’ve ever found an oil stain where your car normally sits, you know it’s an indication of an oil leak. Oil is a lubricant for your car’s engine and running low can cause irreversible, and expensive, damage. There are many things that can cause your engine to leak oil, and today I am sharing a few.

Degraded engine gasket

One of the most common causes of an oil leak is a degraded engine gasket. Over time, oil creates sludge which is harmful to the gasket as causes it to break down allowing oil to seep out.

Damaged Oil Pan

The oil pan is a major part of your engine’s cooling system. It basically collects the oil as it flows down from the sides of the crankcase, acting as a reservoir. Since the oil pan is located on the bottom of the engine, the underside of it can become damaged due to running over debris or “bottoming out”. These ocurrances can dent the pan which can cause the seal to become loose and oil to leak out.

Oil Drain Plug

The oil drain plug is located at the base of the oil pan. When this plug becomes worn out over time, or it is loosened from running over debris in the road, an oil leak will occur.

Oil Leak 7 Reasons Why Your Engine Oil Might Be Leaking common reasons

Oil filter

Over time your car’s oil filter wears out. It can also become loose or misaligned. Either of these instances can cause an oil leak. In most cases, this filter is replaced when you have an oil change. If you notice a leak soon after an oil change, it’s possible it was put in incorrectly or became misaligned. Take your car back to where you had the oil changed, and have them inspect it.

Oil filler cap

The filler cap covers the engine oil compartment. If this cap is loose, broken or missing, oil is likely to spill out while the vehicle is running, and will continue to drip after the car is turned off.

Valve Cover Gasket

As your car ages, the valve cover gaskets can wear down. As mentioned above, oil eventually forms  sludge which is harmful to the gaskets, wearing them out and causing leaks. These leaks can be more like small ‘seeps’. You will be able to smell the oil as it falls on the hot engine, but you may not necessarily see any drip marks on the ground.

Rear Main Seal

The rear main seal is what keeps engine oil from escaping before it reaches the crankshaft. This seal can wear out over time. In addition, running the engine on low oil can dry out the rubber and cause it to crack. If either of these instances happens, oil will begin to leak out. That is why the rear main seal should be replaced on a regular basis.

In Summary

If you notice oil leaks under your car, or if your car using oil faster than usual or your oil level is low, you should take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible. Keep your car in top running shape by getting any oil leaks diagnosed and fixed by a certified mechanic like those at Dulles Kia of Leesburg, Virginia.

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