Motor Oil Leaks are a Problem for You, Your Car, and the Environment : The Official Blog of Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair

Motor Oil Leaks are a Problem for You, Your Car, and the Environment

by Ali's Woodinville on 02/01/17

Not many things are more stressful than finding weird oil spots under your parked vehicle. These can come from many places on the car, but no matter where the oil is leaking or spilling from, it's a problem that must be fixed. All cars develop leaks in a few typical areas, but if not taken care of in a reasonable amount of time, they can truly threaten the engine or the entire vehicle's operation. 

Another interesting result of allowing oil leaks to persist, is the impact on our environment. The Pacific Northwest is renown for it's many beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams. Motor oil leaks from vehicle's through are one of the biggest contributors to oil pollution in our oceans and waterways. In an article on National Geographic's website entitled, "3 Surprising Sources of Oil Pollution in the Ocean", they highlight how cars drip oil onto concrete and asphalt from small leaks. There is much less irresponsible dumping of used oil into drains and such (which is a HUGE "no, no"), but as they say in the article, "a lot of cars and trucks contributing to the 'dribble, dribble, dribble' effect of slow leaks that end up on asphalt and contribute to runoff pollution."

You may ask, "What could be wrong with my car, and what should be done about my car's oil leaks?" As usual, we are going to recommend that you find a mechanic you can trust (Like Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair, of course), and get them to examine all of the typical problem areas for oil leaks. And, so you can have some peace of mind, here are the most likely ones that will come up:
  • Valve Gasket - This is the most common issue that causes oil leaks. Older and higher mileage vehicles are especially likely to have issues with this seal joining large sections of your engine. Over time this seal may fail due to sludge buildup and increased pressure.
  • The Oil Filler Cap Missing or Loose - Now you should already be able to check if the cap is missing altogether by taking a simple look under the hood, but it may not be so easy to tell if it's not doing the job and leaking when the car runs. Luckily this is a small and very inexpensive problem.
  • The Oil Drain Plug - The drain plug is at the bottom of the oil pan. It can become worn and the result is pretty easy to spot if this is the culprit.
  • Damage to the Oil Pan - It's a little rarer, but it's possible that the oil pan on the underside of your vehicle could be damaged and result in a leak. It could occur if you ran over something that dented the pan from underneath.

The best way to handle leaks, protect your car, your wallet, and the environment is ALWAYS going to be regular maintenance servicing of your car or truck. Also, get your oil changed ON TIME and it will give a trusted mechanic more opportunities to spot potential problems while they can still be taken care of at a low-cost and least amount of hassle. 

Take care and if you're local, we'd love to see you here at Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair for oil changes, oil leaks, or any auto service/repair need!

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