The car is leaking oil, what can I do?

Now that we have seen the functions of the oil in the car engine, we have to consider the situations in which we may suffer some kind of mishap with it. The most obvious situation is what we can detect with the naked eye: an oil leak. Then there is the bluish smoke that we can release from the tailpipe.

Both situations indicate a problem with the oil , or rather, that something is not quite right. It does not have to be something serious at the time it occurs, but in the long run it can give certain problems in the engine that should be controlled. So today, starting from that obvious problem that is a loss of oil, we are going to see other cases in which we must pay attention.

The car leaks oil, possible causes

First things first, are you sure the liquid you see on the ground is oil? Many times, especially if it catches us “again”, the puddle that we can see on the ground after parking the car can be condensation of water from the air conditioning, something that usually happens if the system is demanded a lot and there are certain conditions of ambient temperature and humidity.

Discarding any liquid other than oil, the reasons why the car can lose oil are several. One of them, the least worrisome, is that there is some play in the gaskets, or the gasket of the filler cap, the gaskets of the rocker cover, the oil dipstick conduit, … although the most common is that the crankcase drain screw is forced or incorrectly adjusted.

If it’s that or the rocker cover, the oil will most likely “sweat” in a way that it stains everything. Looking at the engine from below it is black and full of oil, although it must be said that this is very spectacular and it does not have to be a large amount of oil lost. If the amount of oil or dripping is more than one or two drops per day, you have to think about a broken cuff.

To check if we lose a lot or a little oil, it is necessary to check its level with the dipstick , so that as long as the oil level is between the minimum and the maximum, there will not be a serious problem. In any case, it is advisable to see a specialist.

Oil consumption and other oil-related problems

Speaking of the oil level measured with the dipstick, it must be said that it is important that the oil level is always between the two marks, maximum and minimum. It is not necessary, however, for the oil to get too close to the maximum mark because it could “overflow”. The engine will work just as well, narrowly exceeding the minimum, as filling it “to the top”.

If we go over oil, we may be causing excess heat to be generated due to the increased resistance of the liquid, especially at startup. This can shorten the life of the engine. If the oil “overflows”, the cylinders can be splattered, burning oil. When oil burns, impurities can be deposited in the combustion chamber and we can have, again, operating problems.

There are problems derived from the use of an oil that is not recommended, or of lower quality (and price, therefore). They are problems such as that the carbon and impurities are not removed correctly from the engine parts, and that can be detected by the color. It will gradually turn black as the engine is cleaned, and if this does not happen, instead of having the impurities dissolved (in suspension) in the oil, they will remain on the parts. Therefore, it is good for the oil to blacken.

It is preferable to use the oil recommended by the manufacturer for each engine (they may be different) to add additives to the oil we buy. Adding additives does not usually bring anything good because we can, inadvertently, change the properties of the oil, or undergo chemical reactions that modify the performance, and also they will not “revive” the oil, or improve the consumption of it in old engines.

As always, many times the best solution is not to create problems, even if for that it seems that we are investing in an “expensive” oil. When it comes to oil and motor, cheap can be expensive, very expensive.