How to Troubleshoot an Oil Leak

oil leak

Have you ever noticed greasy pools in your driveway or garage? If so, your car could be experiencing an oil leak. As a responsible driver you should check your vehicle regularly for issues that can result in injury or vehicle collisions. Checking your oil level should be priority when running through your maintenance checklist. If left unchecked, an oil leak can cause major engine damage and potential harm to you and others. Engine failures and oil fires while driving have been known to happen, so know how to spot an oil leak quickly.

How to Tell if You Have an Oil Leak

  1. Pooling of dark brown or yellowish fluid.

    Dark brown or yellowish puddles of fluid where you typically park your car is one of the first indicators of an oil leak. After parking your car, slide in a pan or piece of cardboard to see if any additional fluid leaks overnight.

  2. Your vehicle oil light turns on.

    If something abnormal is going on with your oil level or oil pressure, the oil light on your vehicle’s dashboard will come on. This confirms you should have your vehicle checked out as soon as possible in case of an actual leak. The oil light itself doesn’t automatically confirm a leak, but rather, indicates an abnormality that requires further inspection.

  3. Smoke from the engine.

    The oil in your vehicle is what keeps everything running smoothly — ignore it for too long and you’ve got a potential fire on your hands. Smoke coming from the engine area suggests oil drippage on important internal components like the exhaust manifold.

  4. Smell of burning oil.

    Burning oil has a distinctive bitter smell. When you can, pop the hood open, check your oil fluid level and listen for any abnormal sounds. Usually you will also hear a sizzling sound paired with the pungent odor.

Oil Keeps Your Vehicle Operational

Oil in your vehicle is important for many reasons; however, its two most important features include:

  • keeping your engine from getting too hot and;
  • providing lubrication to protect your engine’s moving parts.

Performing regular maintenance is the best thing you can do for you and your vehicle. Fluid checks and regular oil changes are the best combatants to vehicle malfunction and breakdown.

How Often Should I Check My Oil?

Check your vehicle’s oil level once a month. Do this by pulling out the oil dipstick and examining, but ensure the engine is off. If the oil level is low, you will need to refill the oil tank. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can consult a professional who will help you select the proper type of oil for your vehicle.  

If you think you might have an oil leak, or feel something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to get your vehicle checked out. It’s your responsibility to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive at all times.

Interested in learning more from Top Driver? Click here to check out our full list of safe driving tips.

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