Nine out of ten times your car won’t leak after an oil change job. But then, it’s a known sorrow that sometimes it can leak. Obviously, this one-off incident can cause you a lot of anguish. You might be left wondering who the hell is the villain in this story. Did the car mechanic goof up? Has your car gotten too old? Does this have anything to do with your wife’s poor driving skills?
Well, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason for the car leak, without inspecting the car in person. But then, we will discuss the common causes of engine oil leaks. While this may not undo the damage done, but being aware of the causes will allow you to be more cautious in the future. The chances are that you may be able to avoid car leaks that happen due to human errors.
Causes of Car Leak After an Oil Change
It’s not a rule, but your mechanic should change the old filter every time the car engine oil is changed because dirty filters allow contaminants to spoil the new engine oil. Other than affecting the car’s overall performance, this could cause your vehicle to leak oil.
Not to mention that even ill-fitted filters can cause oil leaks. For the most part, an oil change job is a walk in the park for an expert car technician. But, if the job is not done well, an oil leak could be a likely side-effect.
An oil leak can also be a result of an aged or loose drain plug, which is located at the base of the oil pan. With age, the drain plug can wear out, or it can loosen up from riding on bumpy surfaces, causing an oil leak in the process. If you get under the car, you will be able to check what shape it is in. If the drain plug is damaged, worn out, loose, or screwed, get it fixed before you take the car out of a garage.
A degraded gasket is another common culprit that causes oil leaks, especially in vehicles that have covered in excess of 100,000 miles. For those who don’t know, the gasket joins the oil pan and the engine block.
With age or under pressure, they give up, causing the vehicle to leak fluid. As such, there’s no set time on how long a gasket will last. So, it’s better to replace it as soon as the damage is noticed.
Cracked Engine Block
Cracked engine block usually causes the most oil leak. So, if you witness a massive amount of oil leak, it might be a signal of a cracked engine block. Unfortunately, this disaster will cost you a lot of money because a cracked engine block cannot be repaired on a shoestring budget. The good news is that it’s a less frequent cause of engine oil leaks.
If you see some oil spilled on the ground, but your dipstick shows that the oil is more than full, then you have overfilled the engine oil, which is causing the extra oil to spill out. Of course, this issue won’t require any treatment as the oil leak will stop once all the extra oil is lost.
But then, you should avoid overfilling the oil reservoir because it can put extra pressure on the internal parts. Basically, it’s critical to fill a proper amount of oil in the oil reservoir for the engine to stay lubricated and run as intended.
Delay in Oil Change
If you prolong the oil change appointment for too long, it may cause the engine oil to thicken, which may lead to the formation of sludge inside the engine. Over time, it may damage the engine parts, resulting in a slow oil leak. As such, there are detergents and solvents available in the market to take care of sludge and other buildups that can harm the engine.
Can you Drive a Car with an Oil Leak?
It depends on how badly your car is leaking oil. With slow leaks, you may have time for repair without the leak causing any dramatic damage to your car. If the leak is massive, then it’s advisable not to take your car for a ride. The point here is that you shouldn’t be driving a vehicle if the oil level is too low because the engine will crash at some point.
So, be smart and fix the leak as soon as it comes to your notice instead of delaying it forever, which could lead to an expensive repair. If you wait till the engine gets damaged, you will have to replace the engine itself because just an oil change will no longer do any good.
How Do you Check for Oil Leaks?
Keep in mind that not all oil leaks will be visible to the eyes. Sometimes, the leak may be internal. Consequently, you may be losing oil without you even noticing it, until it’s too late. So, what’s the full-proof way to check for oil leaks? The oil dipstick can be your best friend over here. Of course, be sure to check the oil level when the engine is cool, preferably after allowing the car to sit idle overnight.
If you notice that the oil level is dropping considerably or if you smell burning oil, there’s a good chance that your car is leaking oil. Alternatively, if you see blue smoke coming out of the tailpipe while driving, it could be an indication that your car is leaking oil into other components of the engine, leading to expensive repairs down the line. The key is to be proactive with your diagnosis to avoid oil leaks from draining your bank account.
Try not to take matters into your own hands. A professional service may come at a cost. But then, the repair job will be done right, saving you a considerable amount of money in the long run by helping you avoid expensive repairs caused by faulty DIY work.