Top 8 Reasons Why Your Car Might Be Leaking Oil - OHS Body Shop

You definitely saw those messy oil stains from leaking oil on every parking lot. But when they appear on your own driveway, they don’t seem that mundane anymore and can make you pretty nervous.

Oil is one of the essential fluids in any vehicle. It is responsible for the smooth and uninterrupted work of one of the most important (and expensive) parts of the car – the engine. That is why the problem should be addressed immediately and treated by a professional mechanic from a credible car service.

In this article, we shall talk about why your car may be leaking oil and how complicated the problem may be, so instead of panicking, you would take the necessary actions once you see the notorious stain under your own vehicle.

Where does the oil leak from?

To understand why your car may be leaking oil, it is essential to know where exactly the leak may appear. A leaking oil pan gasket is the most common and logical explanation for that stain on your driveway. However, in some cases, this can be a leaking timing belt cover or damage to the camshaft seal.

In fact, it is impossible to estimate where the oil leak appeared right away without seeing the car itself and learning a bit about its history and your driving habits.

But at the same time, in most cases, the reason for an oil leak is a faulty gasket or seal or some sort of damage to the oil pan.

That is why in this article, we decided to narrow down to the 8 most possible and common reasons for oil leaks that may appear in all sorts of vehicles.

Oil Pan Gasket

As we have already mentioned, a leak in the oil pan gasket would be the first guess once you see an oil stain under your car. Sealing the area between the oil pan and engine block, this gasket may start leaking over time and needs to be replaced right away to avoid serious damage to the engine.

Cylinder Head Gasket

If you have a vehicle with a Flat or so-called Boxer engine, there is a possibility that the cylinder head gasket is causing the leak. However, in this case, the leaks are often internal and can lead to the intermix between coolant and oil.

Nevertheless, these leaks can also be external, and with the type of engine mentioned above, trouble with the cylinder head gasket would be a mechanic’s first guess.

Timing Cover Seal or Gasket

The timing cover works as a protection of the timing chain. The timing chain gets lubricated by oil, and it is the job of a timing cover seal or gasket to make sure that oil remains inside the timing cover.

It is pretty easy to identify an oil leak in a timing cover gasket, as in this case, the fluid will be dripping from the center of the engine closer to the front.

Adapter housing of an oil filter

The housing of an oil filter also has a seal or gasket behind it, which like any other seal, can start leaking oil at some point. Vehicles with the cartridge oil filter can start leaking the fluid from the seal of the oil filter housing cap.

Valve cover gasket

The valve cover is located on the top of your car’s engine. Its job is to protect the components inside the cylinder head. And, of course, this valve cover has a gasket that can start leaking oil over time. Once you notice that the area around the valve cover got oily, it may be an indication that the gasket is wearing out. The sooner you get to a mechanic who will replace it, the lower are the risks of getting a massive oil leak.

Oil filter and oil drain plug

These two parts are being removed, reinstalled, or replaced every time you change the oil in your vehicle. No wonder leaks appear in the car parts that are being manipulated so often.

Crankshaft Seals

A Crankshaft is an internal part of the engine responsible for mounting the external harmonic balancer and flywheel or flexplate.

The crankshaft has seals of both ends, front and rear. And as you might have already guessed, those seals also tend to wear off and leak at some point.

In case of a minor leak, the oil will start accumulating on the engine’s underside. A major leak will give you that notorious oil stain in the front.

Camshaft seals

The camshaft is another internal part of the engine. Camshaft engines have at least two or more camshafts, which provide a mounting point for the timing gears or sprockets.

In case you see smoke coming out of your engine bay or smell a string smoke scent in the car, it may indicate an oil leak in one of the camshaft seals.

It is not always an oil leak!

Although people usually associate those stains on a parking lot with oil leaks, it is not necessarily the case. Your car has numerous fluids other than oil, which can also leak at some point.

However, it is essential to address a credible and qualified mechanic as soon as you notice or suspect the leak. Only in this case can you be sure that the problem will be resolved and you get back on the road as soon as possible.

Contact OHS Body Shop for comprehensive consultation and service from the most qualified team of mechanics in the area. Our branches are located all over Montana’s Greater Flathead Valley, in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson.

Here we provide all kinds of services, from routine check-ups and diagnostics to urgent repairs.