Oil Leaks and What They Mean

Oil Leaks and What They Mean

Many people have gone through the experience of pulling out of a parking spot or their driveway and seeing a patch of oil left behind from the undercarriage of the vehicle. Oil leaks happen often, and can be caused by a variety of different factors, which makes them difficult to diagnose in certain circumstances if you are not car-savvy. Do remember that any time you do not feel comfortable repairing your own car, it is always best to take your vehicle to a mechanic for professional help and repairs. This article will cover some of the basic causes of oil leaks, and how these leaks are caused.

In most cases, oil is leaked through the seals and gaskets that are supposed to stop these leaks, meaning that an oil leak is caused by a bad seal. In order to find out which seal has gone bad, and locate the origin of the oil leak, you will need to clean the places where oil is leaking from and closely inspect the seals and gaskets that are around the opening of each valve.

When your car begins to leak oil, it usually means that one of the seals is either broken, is too old and has corroded away, or is malfunctioning in some way. There are three common places on your vehicle that oil leaks from, including the valve cover gaskets, the oil pan gasket and drain plug, and the rear seal. Each of these deals with the overall transportation and collection of oil for your engine, and many times one of the seals can come loose. This does not always mean that you will need to purchase a completely new seal, but if you have ensured that each cap is securely fastened, and oil is still leaking, then a replacement needs to be completed.

Valve Cover Gaskets

These gaskets cover the valves on your engine, and ensure that no oil is spilled from the valves when going over bumps. These gaskets are a common point for oil leaks to occur. Replacing valve cover gaskets is easy, and can be done whether you are car-savvy or not.

Oil Pan Gasket and Drain Plug

The oil pan is the pan that collects oil underneath your car. When the seal is broken on the gasket covering the drain plug, oil can leak out of the oil pan, and onto the road. If this is the cause of your oil leak, then the plug washer will need to be changed by you, or your mechanic.

Rear Seal

The rear seal is much more difficult to see than the other seals, and often causes blue smoke to come out of your exhaust, in addition to dripping oil. This seal is more expensive to repair, and should always be handled by a professional mechanic, as the seal is located near the rear of your engine.

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