How to Repair an Oil Leak

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How to Repair an Oil Leak

At some point or another, nearly all car owners experience an oil leak. Usually the leak is a simple fix, but if not addressed quickly, it could lead to a more significant problem. If caught soon enough, car owners can usually make the repairs themselves without the need of an experienced auto technician. Additionally, most repairs take between 5 and 30 minutes to complete and do not require special equipment. To fix an oil leak, car owners first need to diagnose and locate the source of the leak and then make the appropriate repairs.

Diagnose and Locate the Source of the Leak

Oil leaks occur in any number of places within the engine. Usually the problem is easy to fix; however, the leak could be a sign of a more serious problem. For this reason, car owners should get a diagnosis as soon as possible. Luckily, several methods exist for locating the source of the leak.

Method

Description

Fluorescent Leak Detection System

Owners add fluorescent dye to the engine, let it idle for 10 minutes, then shine an ultraviolet light over the engine to locate the source of the leak

Talcum Powder

Users apply a thin layer of talcum powder over the engine, drive the car for 15 minutes, then check for oil on the surface of the powder

Oil Line

Owners fill the oil reservoir, start the car, and look for leaks in the oil line

Oil Pan Gasket

Users drain the oil pan, clean sediment from the gasket, and refill to see if oil pools around the edges

Steam Cleaning

Owners use degreaser and a special steam cleaner to remove dried oil and dirt from the engine and spot leaks more easily

Lubricant Spray

Users spray a lubricant like WD-40 over the drain plug to see if bubbles appear, indicating a cracked drain plug

The easiest way for car owners to diagnose a leak is to check under the car for oil spots. Additionally, they can fill the oil reservoir, check the level with the dipstick, and continue to check the levels every 30 minutes. This method helps users diagnose a rapid oil leak, and it usually indicates a leak in the oil pan. Once car owners locate the source of the leak, they can begin making the necessary repairs.

Repair the Leaks

Before making the necessary repairs, car owners must use a car jack to raise the car high enough above the ground to crawl under. Placing jack stands under the car on both sides keeps it in one place. Owners must ensure that the stands are strong enough and stable enough to support the car to prevent accidents. Shoppers must then gather tools, such as a screwdriver and socket wrench. They also need a new oil filter and the proper amount and quantity of oil to refill the car with oil. The three common types of leaks to repair are in the oil line, oil pan, and oil plug.

Oil Line Leaks

Car owners can easily repair leaks in the oil line by covering the hole with silicone tape. For multiple leaks, they can replace the entire line. Another way to repair leaks in the oil line is with an additive designed to seal leaks from the inside. These stop leak products go directly into the oil reservoir and flow through the engine to plug small holes. However, if the holes are too large, car owners must replace the entire line.

Oil Pan Leaks

If car owners replaced the oil pan at some point, then there is a chance it was not reinstalled correctly. First, owners should try tightening the oil pan to ensure a secure seal. If this does not help, they should remove the oil pan and replace the gasket. If the oil pan has a crack in it, then they need to replace the entire part or take the car into an auto technician for service.

Oil Plug Leaks

Drips coming from the oil plug indicate that the plug itself is faulty. It may be installed incorrectly, stripped, or cracked. Users should remove the oil plug and examine it closely. If the threads wear down or there is visible damage to the plug, they must replace it with a new one. If there are no obvious signs of wear, then users can try installing it straight and tight.

How to Buy Car Repair Products on eBay

Find great deals on all of the tools and materials you need to repair an oil leak on your automobile on eBay. Perform a basic or advanced keyword search to locate specific items based on keywords you enter into the search box. Narrow the list of results by selecting options such as brand, condition, and price range before comparing item descriptions and photos.

An oil leak in a car is usually a minor problem, but it can lead to a more serious issue if not remedied quickly. Usually car owners can fix leaks by simply tightening loose parts or plugging the hole; however, sometimes they must replace parts completely. Fortunately, car owners can repair most of these problems on their own without having to pay a technician to do the work for them.


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