How Do I Know If I Have an Oil Leak?

Oil Leak Stain on Pavement | Lou's Car Care Center, Inc.


Regular oil changes and scheduled maintenance are important in keeping your car, truck, or SUV in top shape. But do you know what the consequences are when you don’t keep up with your oil changes? Here are the top 3 signs your vehicle may have an oil leak.

Motor oil moves through a running engine and allows all the parts and components to work together smoothly. Your engine oil becomes dirty and filled with contaminants over time. This contaminated oil will begin to cause the engine parts to rub together and wear down. Motor oil will eventually make its way through any pockets, holes, and broken seals caused by the friction of the dirty oil. And will begin leaking out.


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Signs Of An Oil Leak

  • Dark Brown/ Black Puddles Under Your Car

Dark fluid dripping from under your vehicle is a common indicator that your car has an oil leak. Locating the source of the leak can be tricky. It could be as simple as an oil drain plug with a bad gasket or as complicated as many leaks throughout the engine.

  • A Burning Smell / Smoke Coming from Engine

Some oil leaks do not leak onto the ground at all. Instead, it may drip onto another part of the hot engine and burn. This can cause a strong burning smell. Or you may notice smoke coming from the engine compartment.

  • Low Oil Levels

It’s a good idea to check your oil levels regularly. This can be done by an Auto Technician during an oil change appointment or by simply locating your oil dipstick on the engine and removing it. Once removed, clean the dipstick off with a rag before putting it back in to get an accurate oil level reading. Pull the dipstick out once more and see how far the oil comes up the dipstick. If it measures below the minimum fill line, then your engine doesn’t have enough oil and you may have a leak.

Oil Light on Dashboard

Certain lights will appear on your dashboard when there is a problem with your vehicle. If the Oil Pressure Light comes on, this could be a sign that there isn’t enough oil in the system to maintain the proper pressure. This light looks like a genie lamp and should not be ignored. Do not drive your vehicle with the oil light on. This can cause serious damage to the engine.


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If you experience any of the symptoms above, Lou’s Car Care can help. Our experienced auto technicians will perform a Digital Vehicle Inspection on your car. This detailed report, along with pictures, is sent to you by text or email. Call us or schedule an appointment online today! Lou’s Car Care has been serving Baldwinsville and surrounding communities since 1976.



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