Any long-time car owner has been there: you walk into the garage while the car is parked outside and see oil on the pavement. Sometimes, it’s a few spots; other times, it’s a puddle. Regardless of whether you see a lot or a little, oil is supposed to be inside of your engine. But what led to this problem? Here are the top causes of oil leaks.
1. The Oil Filter is Improperly Installed
A common but notorious problem, an improperly installed oil filter can cause an oil leak. Whether the filter is loose, the wrong size (too big or too small), or the gasket seal hasn’t been replaced, any of these can cause the oil to leak from your car. If your leak has started after a recent oil change, consider checking the oil filter first.
2. Your Oil Pan is Damaged
Your oil pan is located beneath your car. This pan is exposed to the road, where road debris or a particularly nasty pothole can damage the pan. The pan itself can develop a hole, or the oil pan gasket can be damaged and lead to an oil leak.
3. There is a Problem with the Oil Drain Plug
The oil drain plug is where old oil is drained from your vehicle. Old or worn seals, seals that are improperly installed, or a damaged oil drain plug can all cause that unwanted pool of oil on your garage floor.
4. Your Oil Filler Cap is Loose, Missing, or Worn
Your oil filler cap (usually marked with an oil can) is accessible from your engine compartment and is where you pour replacement oil into your vehicle. It may seem strange that something facing up could leak, but a loose or missing oil cap or an oil cap with a worn seal can cause oil to leak from your vehicle.
5. There is a Loose Seal or Gasket in Your Vehicle
From timing cover seals to valve cover gaskets and everything in between, there are many seals and gaskets that need to be in good working condition to keep your engine in good condition and the oil off your garage floor. Seals and gaskets can corrode or erode due to the long-term stress of pressure, other vehicle components not working correctly, or simply time.
6. Your Oil Has Been Overfilled
When oil heats, it expands. When your oil has been overfilled, where else is there to go but out? That’s why overfilled oil can leak out of gaskets and seals. Overfilled oil is often accompanied by the smell of burning oil or unusual noises from the engine.
7. Your Oil Isn’t Changed Frequently Enough
You may be wondering how oil changes made the list of causes of oil leaks. Oil needs to be changed regularly, otherwise, it produces sludge. Additionally, old oil accumulates debris and combustion byproducts. These ‘aftermarket’ oil additives can be corrosive or abrasive and can wear down metal components in the engine. Gaskets and seals can also erode, leading to that leak on your carport floor.
8. Your Vehicle’s Age and Lifetime Maintenance
A vehicle’s age can play a part in oil leaks. For example, large components become worn over time, sometimes to the point where even replacement gaskets and seals can stop being a perfect fit.
T3 Atlanta is an Expert at Finding the Causes of Oil Leaks
As you can see, there are many causes of oil leaks. While the reason for a leak is sometimes very obvious, it isn’t always possible to identify the exact cause at home. Other times, it simply isn’t possible to fix an oil leak without the right tools.
Whether you’ve found a few drops or a puddle of oil in your garage, T3 Atlanta is here to help. We service Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, and Infiniti vehicles in the metro Atlanta area. We’ll be happy to find what’s causing your oil leak, stop your oil from leaking, prevent long-term damage and high costs, and help you keep your garage floor oil-free.