Can I Drive My Car If It Has An Oil Leak??
Many of us have been there before; we move our car from it’s normal place and all of a sudden, we see a drip of oil beneath our car. We might think to ourselves, “Do I need to worry about this? Can I still drive my car?”
The answer, unfortunately, is not always black and white. In this post, we’ll take a look at what engine oil does in a car, how you can tell if you have an oil leak, and what happens if too much oil leaks from your car.
What does oil do in a car?
Oil has many functions in a car, but its two primary purposes are to lubricate engine parts and to cool the engine. Lubrication is important because it reduces friction between moving parts in the engine. This, in turn, helps to prevent the engine from overheating.
How can i tell if i have an oil leak?
There are a few signs that you might have an oil leak. One is low oil levels on the dipstick when you check it. Another is spots of oil beneath your parked car. If you see either of these things, it’s a good idea to take your car to a mechanic to have it checked out.
Why do oil leaks happen?
The oil is your car has a lot of work to do – so it circulates around a lot of your engine. Unfortunately this means leaks can occur in a number of different places.
The most common oil leak problem comes from degraded engine gaskets. These are the seals that hold different parts of the engine together. They are usually sealed tight – but time can degrade them, resulting in oil leaking through the tiny gaps. Common gaskets that will fail in time include the head gasket and the oil pan gasket – resulting in an oil pan leak.
Other leaks can appear around the oil filter – a can shaped consumable part that filters the oil as it circulates. Getting an oil leak fixed when it happens near the oil filter is usually quite easy and cost-effective – it’s usually just a replacement filter that’s needed.
Oil leaks can sometimes happen from the oil drain plug too. How much oil will depend on how damaged the plug is – but it will usually only be a small leak and you’ll spot oil drops under your car if this is the problem.
What happens if too much oil leaks from my car?
If too much oil leaks from your car, it can cause engine damage. This is because the parts of the engine that need lubrication will not be getting enough oil and will begin to grind against each other.
In some cases, the engine light will come on to indicate that there is an oil pressure problem.
Although rare, in extreme cases, an oil leak can also lead to engine fires. This happens if the engine begins to leak oil onto especially hot parts of the engine – such as a hot exhaust. Burning oil is exceptionally dangerous and can cause severe engine damage.
So, if you spot oil dripping or if you think you might have an oil leak, it’s important to get it checked out as soon as possible.
Can I drive with an oil leak?
If you’re worried about an oil leak in your car, the best thing to do is take it to a mechanic and have them take a look. In the meantime, familiarize yourself with the signs of an oil leak so that you can catch it early and prevent any serious damage to your car’s engine.
Is your car leaking oil? Not sure how to check your oil level? Don’t worry – Auto Hero is here to help! With a few details from you, we’ll put you in touch with a range of excellent workshops in your area – with experts who’ll be happy to help and perfectly placed to fix a car with an oil leak!
Matt is the founder of Autohero.com.au and has been hooked on cars and repairs ever since childhood. A veteran in automotive since leaving school, Matt has completed his trade as a panel beater and is across all things with wheels.
His first car was a 1967 FORD XR Wagon followed by a string of collectable Holden’s.
Have a question for Matt? leave a comment below.