When Your Car Is Leaking Oil: Causes And How To Fix

Oil leaks can be frustrating for car owners because there are many potential culprits. While the exact cause can be difficult to diagnose on a vehicle, this is not something to ignore. Besides leaving stains on the pavement, an oil leak can even pose a fire risk to your car’s engine. Most leaks can be prevented through simple, regular maintenance. Here are some of the common causes and what you can do to avoid them.

Degraded Engine Gasket

This is probably the most common cause of oil leaks, especially in vehicles with high mileage. The valve gasket joins the engine block and oil pan. Over time, the pressure in the seal increases which can cause leaks and failures, especially if sludge (the oil that breaks down over time) is built up. Getting regular oil changes reduces the build up of sludge which, in turn, helps to increase the longevity of your gaskets.

Oil Pan Damage

The Oil Pan is a storage of the oil used in the engine. When the engine isn’t running, the oil collects in the oil pan. The underside of the oil pan can become damaged due to running over debris in the road, like large rocks. Such occurrences can dent the oil pan, and this can cause the seal to become loose and the oil to leak.

Oil Drain Plug

The oil drain plug is located at the base of the oil pan. When it becomes worn out or is loosened from running over debris in the road, a leak will occur. Fresh oil around the plug is an indication of a leak, as is dripping. The pressure of the engine can also cause oil to spill out while the vehicle is running, if your filler cap is missing, loose, or broke. Ensure both are in good condition and properly sealed to help prevent leaks.

Oil Filler Cap

If the filler cap, which covers the engine oil compartment, is loose, broken or missing, the oil is likely to spill out while the vehicle is running, and it will continue to drip after the car is stopped.

Oil Filter


Oil filters wear out over time making them a common culprit of leaks. Some vehicles also have additional parts in the filtration system, at the filter, which can also leak. Your mechanic should change the filter every time you have your oil changed and check that it fits properly, as a loose or misaligned filter can also cause leaks.

Sometimes oil leaks can come from locations that needs a sealant. You can order and try Bar’s Leaks Engine Oil Stop Leak from our store, it’s very effective and works for all engines.

You can also schedule a repair appointment with our technical team HERE you will be contacted within 24 hours. You can also chat with our support team by clicking on the chat window on the bottom right of your screen.

About Nonso Okafor

I've worked as a technical support representative in major auto centers in Nigeria for more than twenty years. I have dealt with a variety of problems in my capacity as a customer service representative and auto diagnostics expert. I'm committed to assisting people in properly maintaining their automobiles and in appreciating this magnificent innovation known as an automobile.

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  1. I have a 1993 Toyota Hi Ace can, I just done an oil change With oil filter change as well, since the service, I seem to be using engine oil, like it’s leaking I can not see any oil leaks, can the sump plug leak oil when driving and under pressure

  2. Fantastic information

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