What Causes Oil Leak Under Car – Things You Must Know

All vehicles are prone to suffering from oil leaks. 

Usually, the main culprit for the common issue is degraded engine gaskets. Of course, oil pan leaks, bad connections, and failed motor oil seals can also cause oil to leak from your car. Therefore, making a proper diagnosis can be a difficult task if you aren’t a mechanic.

Luckily, our team is here to help you out. In this in-depth article, we are going to talk about what causes oil leaks under your car. On top of that, I will discuss everything there is about the topic.

Why is My Car Leaking Oil?

A lot of newer cars have indicators that tell you when you’re low on oil. Be that as it may, most cars on the road still lack such indicators.

Because of that, you’ll have to regularly check your dipstick or feel your engine and know the symptoms of an oil leak. That way, you may quickly amend the situation and avoid worse problems.

Like I said earlier, bad engine gaskets, leaking oil pans, bad connections, and failed seals can all cause your car to leak oil. Also, you should know that putting the wrong type of motor oil in the wrong kind of engine can also bring about engine oil leaks.

Oil Leak Symptoms

5 telltale symptoms indicate your vehicle is leaking oil you should know about:

A Smoking Engine

A Smoking Engine

Once motor oil drips down to your engine’s manifold, smoke will emit from your engine. You mustn’t leave this problem unattended for long. That’s because a smoking engine is a ticking time bomb, meaning that it might suffer from failure at any moment.

Dashboard Oil Indicator Is Lighting Up

Dashboard Oil Indicator Is Lighting Up

Consider yourself lucky if you’ve got a vehicle with a dashboard oil indicator. Once that indicator lights up, it shouldn’t be ignored under any circumstance. Head over to the nearest auto shop then check your oil levels and fill your engine with the appropriate type of motor oil. It’s very important that you use the right oil since the wrong oil in the wrong engine leads to issues.

The Unpleasant Odor Of Burning Oil

The Unpleasant Odor Of Burning Oil

As oil ages, it degrades until it eventually emits an unpleasant burning smell. Once you notice that odor, be sure to check your oil levels as soon as possible. Chances are, the oil dripping onto your vehicle’s manifold is the culprit behind the unpleasant odor that you are smelling.

Engine Overheating

Engine Overheating

When your car leaks oil, its engine naturally gets depleted. Once that happens, its internal parts will cease to properly function together. Furthermore, your engine’s insides won’t be cooled efficiently. As a result, your car will suffer from overheating, which is a very serious issue.

Dark Or Murky Puddles Beneath Your Car

Dark Or Murky Puddles Beneath Your Car

If you back up your parked vehicle and see dark or murky spots underneath, that means your car is leaking oil. Remember that once your oil pan leaks, it’ll make a mess on the pavement and potentially wreak havoc on your vehicle by bringing forth problems with oil pressure and levels.

How Do You Diagnose Where An Oil Leak Is Coming From?

It can be quite difficult to diagnose the source of an oil leak. Fortunately, there are steps that you may take to determine the exact source of your engine oil problem.

1. Check Out The Leak

The first thing you should do is check out the leak and find out if it’s motor oil. 

Besides that, you need to find out if the oil is even coming from your vehicle. After all, you might have simply parked in a space where a problematic vehicle was stationed.

It’s easy to tell whether what’s leaking from your vehicle is engine oil. That’s because it’s usually amber in color, slippery in texture, and very strong-smelling. 

Now with that said, older engine oil that’s broken down is usually black. Alongside that, it has a burnt smell as well as a gritty texture that isn’t appropriate for engine oil.

2. Have A Look At Your Fuel Levels

Inspect your fuel levels. 

When I say this, I don’t just mean oil levels. You must check out all of your automobile’s fuel levels across the board. Of course, start by popping the hood and then checking the dipstick.

  • Low fuel levels combined with visible oil leaks indicate that your car is low on engine oil
  • If your engine’s oil is reddish, take a look at the power steering reservoir to know if its fluid needs to get topped off

3. Track The Source Of Your Engine Oil Leak

Tracking the source of your engine oil leak requires some investigative work. 

Even a trained car mechanic won’t be able to tell why your engine is leaking unless inspections are made. We highly recommend that you visit a qualified professional for this. Why? It is something that an amateur mechanic can do unless they really put lots of effort into it.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix An Oil Leak On A Car?

How Much Does It Cost to Fix An Oil Leak On A Car?

The cost of having a leaking engine repaired varies greatly from country to country. Needless to say, in the United States, you can expect to spend anywhere between $150 to $1200.

Now if you don’t want to shell out cash, you’ve always got the option to do everything yourself. However, by opting for this route, you should be aware of all the possible issues that might introduce themselves once you start working on your automobile’s engine motor oil leak.

Fixing Oil Leak Under Car – DIY

Fixing Oil Leak Under Car - DIY

Utilizing Special Additives

I’d have to say the easiest way to fix an engine oil leak DIY-style is to use a stop oil leak additive or high-mileage oil blend. With these products, your engine’s rubber seals will be much more capable of preventing engine motor oil leaks. Unfortunately though, they don’t always work.

Making Use Of Tools

Repairing a leaking engine with tools isn’t as difficult as one would think. As a matter of fact, you will only need basic hand tools like a wrench along with a car jack. 

To begin, carefully raise your vehicle using your jack. Following that, access the oil pan and look for loose bolts that may need tightening. Your next course of action should then be to move over to the valve covers and tightening belt.

Make sure to refer to your car’s instruction manual. Doing this will make sure you avoid voiding your vehicle’s warranty or making any sort of mistakes during the repairing process.


Below are some important things to remember regarding engine motor oil leaks:

Can You Drive A Car With An Oil Leak?

Yes. It’s possible to drive a car that’s leaking oil. 

Nevertheless, this should only be done when it is absolutely necessary. How come? You run the risk of completely depleting your vehicle’s engine of motor oil, and as a consequence, cause irrevocable damage.

Is It Normal For An Old Car To Leak Oil?

Of course!

The older your car is, the more likely it’ll leak motor oil. Because of that, you should make it a point to conduct regular maintenance on your older vehicle. That way, it’ll stay problem-free.

Putting It All Together

An engine oil leak under your car is a serious issue that you must immediately address. Neglect can bring about severe damage. In fact, it’s even possible for you to render your engine 100% unusable. Due to that, you will no longer be able to drive your automobile unless you overhaul its engine.

Keep in mind that the $150 to $1200 that you might spend on engine leak repairs is a price that is much cheaper than having an engine replaced. Thus, to guarantee that your vehicle is in tiptop shape, always make sure its engine has the correct oil. Also, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule to avoid voiding your car’s warranty.

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