4 Signs of Leaking Oil

4 Signs of Leaking Oil

| By: Chip & Sandi Fenner, Christian Brothers Automotive Grant Road

If not caught early, oil leaks can cause a mess of problems for your vehicle, including breakdowns and engine damage. If you suspect your car has a leak and you want to be sure, look for these 4 signs.

1. Dark Puddles

After letting your car sit for a few hours, take a look at your driveway or parking spot (place a piece of cardboard under the vehicle after parking if you don’t have a set parking spot.) Puddles or drip marks under your vehicle are an obvious indicator of a fluid leak, but you may need to take a closer look to make sure the leaking fluid is oil. We’ve developed some tips to help you identify the liquid:

• Oil is typically yellow-brown or brown-black in color, depending on how old it is. Oil has a bitter smell.

• Transmission fluid is red or reddish-brown, and the puddle will form closer towards the center of the engine.

• Power steering fluid is also reddish-brown or black but will pool near the front of the vehicle.

• Brake fluid is typically pale brown and is extremely slick in nature.

• Engine coolant, or antifreeze, can vary in color depending on your engine but is either bright green, yellow or red.

2. Engine Smoke

Engines get hot, and when oil escapes oil lines in your vehicle, it will drip onto the exhaust system and produce a dark smoke. Over time, the leak can cause engine sensor damage, or even deteriorate gaskets. If you see any smoke coming from your engine or there is a burning smell, take your car to an auto repair specialist as soon as you can.

3. Blue Exhaust Smoke

Oil can also escape from lines and drip into your combustion chamber. The chamber burns the oil, and your exhaust will emit a thick, blue-tinted smoke. This can leave oil residue in the combustion chamber, cause the metal to degrade and can lead to a multitude of engine problems.

4. Low Oil

If your warning light turns on or your engine is overheating, you most likely have low oil, which can indicate an oil leak. You can check your oil level manually by opening up the hood and checking the oil dipstick. Oil heats up and splatters while your car is running, so make sure to turn off the vehicle, clean your oil dipstick before reinserting it in the pipe for a clean read and then check the level. Most dipsticks even have lines to indicate whether or not your oil is low.

Sometimes the oil is low even though there is no oil on the ground. This could be due to the location of the oil leak. Certain leaks will only drip out oil when the vehicle is running like valve cover gaskets and main seals. The best bet is the have your trusted shop check for leaks every oil change or tire rotation. At Christian Brothers Automotive Grant Road, a complimentary 32 point inspection is performed for free. This is offered to give you peace of mind and a safe running car.

Have a question about checking your oil, or need assistance with an oil leak? Our auto repair professionals in Cypress are here to help. Contact Christian Brothers Automotive Grant Road to make an appointment: (281) 305-0877.

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