Don’t Let an Oil Leak Go Unchecked! Tips to Diagnose and Fix the Problem

Dear Mike,

I noticed a few drops of oil underneath my car and upon inspection, I found out that my engine is leaking oil. Do I need to be concerned about this issue? I’m not a car expert, so I’m not sure what to do. Is it safe to continue driving my car, or should I take it to a mechanic immediately? I don’t want to cause any further damage to my engine. Thank you for your help.

Best regards,

Hey Arlene,

Thanks for writing to me about your oil leak problem. You’re definitely not alone – this is a common issue that many car owners face at some point. And the good news is, you’re doing the right thing by taking action now instead of ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away.

So, first things first – yes, you absolutely should be concerned about an oil leak. Even a small leak can turn into a big, expensive repair if left unaddressed. And as I mentioned in my previous column, if an engine is allowed to run low on oil, it can seize and cause a dangerous situation for you and other drivers on the road. None of us want that, right?

Now, let me play detective for a minute and see if I can help you figure out what might be causing the leak. There are a few common culprits, as I mentioned in my previous column. The most likely causes are degraded engine gaskets, oil pan leaks, or worn-out seals. It could also be something as simple as a loose drain plug or valve cover gasket.

So, what should you do now? Here’s my advice:

Step 1 – Check your oil level. Using a dipstick, check to see if your oil level is below the minimum mark. If it is, this could be a sign of a larger issue and you should take your car to a mechanic ASAP. If your oil level is normal, you can continue driving your car, but keep a close eye on the oil level and check for any other signs of a leak.

Step 2 – Parking spot. If you’ve been parking your car in the same spot for a while, take a close look at the ground for any oily spots or stains. If you see anything suspicious, put down a piece of cardboard or a towel under your car overnight. In the morning, check to see if there are any new spots or stains on the material. If there are, this is another sign of a leak.

Step 3 – Take it to a mechanic. If you’re not comfortable diagnosing your car’s oil leak yourself, take it to a trustworthy mechanic. They’ll be able to determine the root cause of the issue and make recommendations on how to fix it. And trust me, it’s worth it to pay a little extra for a quality mechanic – ignoring an oil leak could cost you big time in the long run.

I hope that helps, Arlene. And remember, taking good care of your car is always worth the effort in the long run. Keep an eye on your oil levels, watch for any signs of a leak, and take action sooner rather than later if you suspect a problem.

Take care and happy driving!

Mike Urban,
Founder & Automotive Advisor,
Urban Automotive