Close up of oil spots underneath a car

How Serious is an Oil Leak in my Car?

Oil Leak Warning Signs and Causes

It can be quite tempting to ignore the oil spots forming underneath your vehicle. If it’s small, why worry? In reality, many drivers don’t know just how serious an oil leak in their car is. Let’s go over the warning signs that your car may be leaking oil and why you should take care of it right away.

[ READ MORE: How to Change the Oil in Your Car ]

How to Know if Your Car is Leaking Oil

The most obvious symptom of a car leaking oil is the presence of Close up of oil spots on pavementdark spots underneath the vehicle. However, if you leave your car outside on the street or in a parking lot, this sign is less obvious. How do you know that the spots on the pavement are from your vehicle and not someone else’s? If you are questioning if your car is leaking oil, place some cardboard underneath and let the vehicle rest overnight. If you come back and see oil spots on the cardboard, your car is leaking.

You may notice other symptoms when it comes to a leaky car. Slowly but surely, your oil levels will drop with an oil leak. While you should always monitor your oil level, this is even more important with a leak. As you drive, try to watch for blue smoke coming out of your tailpipe. This sign suggests that oil is leaking into your engine. After you’re done driving, take a moment to smell for oil. If you can smell burning oil, the oil is likely leaking onto the hot areas of your engine.

Should I Worry About an Oil Leak?

As we mentioned before, you should worry about your oil leak once you realize you have one. By ignoring the leak, oil can drip on the belts and hoses and cause them to go bad early. Oil leaking onto the ground is terrible for the environment and will leave nasty stains. Worst of all, it is a fire hazard that can destroy your engine, whether it be from combustion or from heavy losses of oil. Overall, you should never leave a leak go unchecked.

Many oil leaks will result from old engine gaskets, bad seals or connections, or degraded oil pans. While it is easy to check yourself what the problem could be, you should go to a professional if you aren’t comfortable checking or don’t know where to look.

For more maintenance help like this, follow the Kyle Chapman Motors blog. Need your car looked at by an expert? Schedule a service appointment with us and we will take a look.