Why is My Car Leaking Oil When Parked? The Important Things to Know

car on roadOil leaks are one of the most common problems with cars. A car with an untreated oil leak will result in mechanical failings that can lead to repair costs of up to a thousand dollars.

If you have a car leaking oil when parked, it needs to be repaired. Much of the cost of fixing an oil leak is in labor because the leak is often in a hard to reach place for the mechanic.

In this article, we’ll dive into the various causes behind oil leaking and what you can do to address it.

Why Oil Leaks Need to Be Repaired

If you don’t repair an oil leak, serious damage can occur to your vehicle. Leaking oil can cause parts inside your motor to wear out faster than they would otherwise.

Having oil leaking all over your engine could start a fire. If your car is leaking oil when parked, that means it’s also leaking while you’re driving. Engine fires can occur as a result and these cause serious, sometimes fatal, injury.

Your motor could seize up if enough oil leaks. If your engine seizes up, you will have to spend a lot more money repairing it. You might even have to replace the whole engine. This will cost you upwards of several thousand dollars.

What Are the Causes Behind a Car Leaking Oil When Parked?

The most common reason why oil leaks is because a gasket has failed. Gaskets are thin barriers between metal parts. Over time oil will cause the gasket to break down and then it can start leaking.

Another very common reason for oil leaks is damage to your oil pan. If you have run over something that struck the bottom of your vehicle, you may have damaged your oil pan. Bottoming out your vehicle on dips can also cause damage to the oil pan.

Bad connections between parts can also cause oil to leak from your car. Anytime a gasket is not sealed or seated correctly, you can develop an oil leak.

How Do I Fix It?

Fixing an oil leak sounds a lot harder than it is. Check your car manual. Troubleshooting and maintenance information can be found within. The first step is to figure out where your oil is leaking from.

Oil Pan Leak

In the case of an oil pan leak, those are much easier to find. The oil pan sits beneath the car and you should be able to see it if you climb under the vehicle.

If the oil pan is damaged, you will have to replace it. Replacing a damaged oil pan is not difficult.

Gasket Leak

If you have an issue with gaskets, it may take professional assistance. The reason for this is the difficulty in reaching gaskets.

In many cases, the entire engine must be removed and taken apart to reach a gasket. This can present an insurmountable challenge. You will need both tools and facilities to effect gasket repair.

Bad Connections or Seals

This depends greatly on where the leak is coming from. If it’s a surface joint that is easy to find, then you will have no trouble fixing it.

Unfortunately, these connections can be all over the inside of the engine. Just like with gaskets, it can require moving the engine to get at the leak.

Do It Myself or Hire Someone

Depending on the severity of your oil leak, you may need to seek professional help. If you want to do it yourself, you need to understand what you are getting into.

Fix the Oil Leak Yourself

Fixing an oil leak by yourself will require tools. If you already have most of the tools you will need, you can save substantial money from having a mechanic fix your vehicle. If you don’t have the tools, it may cost you more to buy them than to have it fixed.

Fundamental understanding of how an engine works is important too. If you don’t have this knowledge, seek out a friend or colleague that does.

Have a Professional Fix It

If you end up having a professional mechanic repair your vehicle, it’ll cost a lot more. Make sure that you have a mechanic you trust work on your vehicle.

In exchange for spending more money, your vehicle will be repaired faster than if you did it yourself. Mechanics have access to specialized tools and equipment that help them fix problems with your car far faster than a set-up at home.

If you can identify where the leak is before you take your vehicle in, make sure to tell the mechanic. They will be able to spend less time troubleshooting your oil leak and get to fixing it. This will reduce labor costs.

Can I Prevent Oil Leaks?

To a certain extent, you can prevent an oil leak. Proper maintenance of your engine and frequent oil changes are key. As oil ages and breaks down, it becomes almost like sludge.

That sludge puts pressure against seals and gaskets and can cause them to start leaking. Not replacing your oil frequently can cause a lot of issues with your engine.

Keeping up to date on all normal maintenance is vital to having a vehicle that runs as long as you need it to.

Make Sure It Is Oil Leaking

If you believe that your car leaks oil when parked, you will need to make sure that it is oil. Oil is usually black to dark brown. Some modern oils are a more amber-colored liquid.

The other fluids in your engine are different colors or clear. If it is not a dark brown or black liquid, check your transmission fluid and coolant.

Empower Yourself

Not fixing your oil leak can lead to significant damage and potential injury. If you notice your car leaking oil when parked, fix it immediately. Be sure to change your oil every 3,000 miles or sooner as well to avoid dirty oil ruining the engine.

If you need more information about your car, then use Just Give Me The Damn Manual. We have a wide selection of manuals on multiple types of car makes and models. We invite you to browse our site for your car’s manual and hope it’ll empower you to tackle your car’s problem head-on.