Oil Leaks? Your Engine is At Risk

At AAMCO Colorado we can tell you that oil is the lifeblood of your car. If your car is leaking oil, it’s basically bleeding – and you should have that looked at before it causes larger, expensive problems. It’s easy to ignore the spot of oil on the garage floor, or the smell of burning oil wafting out of the engine, or the faint smoke coming from the engine as you sit at a stop light. But these are all tell-tale signs that your engine is leaking oil and needs help.

As an engine ages, heat and pressure, repeated heating and cooling, and general age can lead gaskets and seals to harden, shrink, and crack. After many years of operation, an engine’s chances of developing oil leaks increase greatly. That’s why it’s important to keep your engine in good running condition with regular maintenance at AAMCO Colorado.

Image - checking engine oil using dipstick and rag.Oil leaks should be diagnosed and fixed as soon as possible. Beside the oil stain on the driveway that looks ugly and leaches into the ground water, oil can get on belts and hoses, causing them to deteriorate faster than normal. Oil leaks are a fire hazard, creating the potential for a catastrophic fire that could consume your entire vehicle, if not just the engine compartment.

Check Oil Level Regularly

To check the level of oil in your engine, check the dip stick at least once a week and make note of the level. Be sure to check the oil level when the engine is cool, not right after a drive. If the level drops over time, there is a leak somewhere.

Where in the Engine Do Oil Leaks Happen?

Oil leaks can happen anywhere there is a seal, or gasket, in the engine, as well as at other points in and around the engine. Gaskets wear out, plugs and hoses break, even metal can crack – all of which can lead to leaks and trips to the mechanic. Some of the most common causes of oil leaks that you can look for are:

  • Valve gasket (AKA head gasket)
    On older cars, particularly ones with high mileage, the head gasket can wear out. The gasket is the seal between the cylinder head and the engine block. Over time and with gradual build-up of sludge, the pressure inside increases, which causes leaks in the seal of the gasket.
  • Oil filler cap
    Oil doesn’t just drip down. It operates under great amounts of pressure inside the engine. So, if the filler cap – the cap that covers the opening where you pour oil into the engine – is loose or broken, or the seal is worn out, the pressure of the engine can push oil up and out.
    • Oil filter

Oil filters wear out – which is why you want to keep up your maintenance schedule with regular oil and filter changes at AAMCO Colorado. Filters can be misaligned or loose. Some car makes or models have additional parts in the filtration system that can leak. Make sure the filter is changed every time the oil is changed, and be sure it is fitted properly and securely.

  • Oil pan and drain plug
    Sometimes when driving on rough roads, over debris such as large rocks, or hitting things can damage the oil pan and cause leaks. Extreme driving conditions, such as bad weather and extended exposure to adverse road environments and debris, can compromise the oil pan’s reliability, as well as the oil pan drain plug and its seal.

How to Fix Oil Leaks

An engine oil leak is a serious issue that should be dealt with as soon as possible. There are oil additives available that claim to seal leaks, but no leak can truly be fixed by a mere chemical additive. At AAMCO Colorado our mechanics know what causes oil leaks, what to look for, and how to fix them. Oil leaks can be dangerous and shorten the life of your car, so be proactive and schedule an appointment at your local Colorado AAMCO for an inspection. There could be a lot more going on, so the AAMCO multi-point inspection is always a good idea.

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