What Are Some Causes of Oil Leaks in Vehicles?


Quick Answer

Oil leaks in vehicles can come from a loose drain plug or an insecure oil filter. Cracked oil pan gaskets are another common source of oil leaks.

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Full Answer

To check for an oil leak, first jack up the vehicle and place it on jack stands equipped to hold its weight. Before removing anything, check for visible leaks. If oil appears to be oozing from the drain plug, tighten the plug and wipe it clean to see if the leaking continues. If it subsides, check to make sure the drain plug is not cracked by spraying WD-40 around the plug. If bubbles appear in the lubricant, the drain plug is cracked and requires replacement.

If the drain plug checks out, move on to the oil filter. If oil is seeping out around the filter, tighten it with a dry towel. If the leak persists, change both the oil and the oil filter. After installing the new filter, spray WD-40 around its base and look for bubbles that would indicate a crack in the filter's seal. If no cracks exist, the leak has been stopped.

However, if the oil filter does not appear to be the source of the leak, remove the oil from the vehicle and take off the oil pan gasket. Thoroughly inspect it for any damage, cracks or tears. If you notice signs of damage, replace the gasket and add oil to the vehicle.

After making repairs, visually inspect the car for leaks. If none are apparent, start the engine and observe the area while the car runs for five to 10 minutes. If no leaks persist, shut off the car, remove the jack stands, and lower the vehicle to the ground.

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