Oil leaks are one of the most common repair issues a car will face over its lifetime. According to a widely circulated report from the automotive data-analysis company S&P Global Mobility Reports, the average car on the road is currently 12.2-years old. America’s fleet of cars and trucks is projected to age even further in the future. Older vehicles inevitably encounter more service and repair issues, like leaking oil.
The auto experts at Cox Auto Asheville recommend bringing your vehicle in to a reliable mechanic as soon as possible at the first sign of leaking oil. Driving a car or truck with an oil leak can exacerbate any mechanical problems you may already be experiencing. As motor oil continues to leak, it clogs and damages other engine parts and systems. Oil leaks can even lead to engine fires along with other health and safety concerns. If your car or truck is dripping oil, it’s time to bring it in to Cox Auto Asheville. Our team of highly qualified, ASE-certified auto technicians will make your vehicle’s oil leak a thing of the past.
5 Signs Your Car is Leaking Oil
1.) Oil Pressure Indicator or Check Engine Light – An oil pressure warning indicator or check engine light illuminating on your car or truck’s dashboard is a clear, straight-forward sign you vehicle is leaking oil. The Oil Pressure warning light deploys when the engine’s oil level falls below the manufacturers recommended operating level. A telltale sign of an oil leak.
2.) Oil Stains on the Ground Under the Car – Whether it’s a few drops or a huge puddle on the ground under your vehicle, oil stains are an obvious sign your car is leaking oil. While oil leaks on the ground are easy to spot, they can be difficult to diagnose. That’s why you will want a highly-trained, experienced mechanic to take a look at it for you. The automotive experts at Cox Auto Asheville have been reliably repairing oil leaks in North Carolina for over five decades.
3.) Burning Oil Smell – Even if you aren’t able to see oil on the ground under your vehicle, your car may still be leaking oil. Often times when oil leaks, it drips on a burning hot engine component or exhaust pipe and incinerates before it reaches the ground. While you may not be able to see it, it is hard to miss the unmistakable odor of burning motor oil.
4.) Low Dipstick Oil Level – If you have any suspicions your car or truck has an oil leak, it is highly advisable to check you automobile’s oil level. You will want to ensure the engine’s oil is at its proper operating level and not decreasing. Check your engine’s oil dipstick level when it’s “cold”, either before the car has been started, or after it has been parked for a while. This ensures most of the motor oil is in the sump pan in order to register an accurate reading.
5.) Smoke – It is fairly normal for an automobile to emit white smoky vapor, especially during ignition. However if there is significant amount blue or gray colored smoke coming out of your vehicle’s exhaust or from under the hood, chances are your car is leaking oil. The oil is most likely burning up inside the motor, or dripping on to the surface of one its hot metal engine component, hence the smoke. Blue or gray smoke may also be indicative of other serious internal engine problems as well.
5 Common Causes of Leaking Oil
1.) Loose Oil Filter – In many cases, a car, truck or SUV might be leaking oil due to a loose oil filter. Whether simply installed incorrectly or the result of being physically knocked out-of-place while driving or being serviced, a loose oil filter is often the common culprit behind an oil leak.
2.) Damaged Oil Sump Pan – Your vehicle’s sump oil pan is located directly under your vehicle and houses its motor oil. Due to the location of the sump pan, it is vulnerable to taking damage while driving, especially on dirt or poorly maintained roads, which can lead to leaking oil. An oil pan’s plugs and seals can degrade over time or due to poor maintenance and leak oil as well.
3.) Failing Gaskets or Seals – All engines are equipped with a variety of rubber or plastic gaskets and seals. These gaskets and seals are essential in “sealing” your vehicle’s motor from oil, coolant, transmission fluid, or other automotive fluids. Eventually all gaskets and seals fail over time as the rubber or plastic ages, dries out and cracks. Poor maintenance and operating the engine at higher-than-normal temperatures exacerbates this issue. While the seals and gaskets are relatively cheap, replacing them can require costly, labor-intensive work that often entails removing the engine.
4.) Piston Rings & Valve Seals – In a worst-case scenario, your automobile’s leaking oil may be due to a serious internal engine issue such as failing piston rings or valve seals. Both of these mechanisms receive a lot of wear-and-tear during the internal combustion process. You will notice thick blue smoke, sluggish performance, loss of power as well as increased oil loss or consumption. Replacing piston rings or valve seals requires difficult, labor-intensive work that entails completely dismantling and rebuilding the motor.
5.) Miscellaneous Parts – There are a myriad of other miscellaneous parts known for causing pesky oil leaks. For example, cracked, damaged or disconnected oil hoses and lines are notorious for leaking oil. Oil can leak out of the oil sump pan due to a damaged plug, worn bolt or corroded washer. Many car manufacturers recommend replacing your oil sump pan’s washer every oil change. While rare, sometimes the remedy to an oil leak is simply tightening or replacing a bad screw or bolt.
Don’t let a minor oil leak turn into a costly engine overhaul. Call, click, or message us today at Cox Auto Asheville for an obligation-free consultation. Let our team of highly qualified, ASE-certified automotive technicians stop your car or truck’s leaking oil in its tracks. Located on Druid Ave. just off Patton Ave., here at Cox Auto we’ve proudly served the Asheville, NC community since 1972.