What Are The Costs To Fix Oil Leaks
The cost of an engine oil leak could be thousands of dollars if you fail to find out where it is leaking from, or fail to top up your oil when it gets low.
Engine oil is an important element to your cars operation. When it leaks, it creates several problems with performance and general function. Take a look at our guide on engine oil leaks for tips on causes, fixes and maintenance.
Leaking is a driver’s worst nightmare. It might seem like a minor problem, but oil leaks have the potential to turn into very serious issues when left alone. Usually, the cost falls from anything between 150$ to 1200$ and upwards.
We are going to discuss how much it will cost you to fix oil leaks on your car but before then, we will look into the causes of these leaks and their effects. Read on for more on car oil leaks: probable causes, fixes and maintenance tips to help you avoid them all together.
What causes car to leak oil
Among the main resons for many car problems is wear and tear. As your car parts become older or undergo degradation, their performance will steadily decrease. This is true even for parts responsible for creating leaks. Some of these components include the oil pan, oil sealant, engine gaskets or even connectors. Problems with these components most times require replacement, which can get pricey. Among the causes for engine oil leakages include
Damaged to your valve gasket and rings
Aging is often responsible for the accumulation of wear and tear onto gaskets. You will find that engines of old cars that go for lengthy trips are the common complainers of a leaky engine. Additionally, when worn, these gaskets often accumulate sludge and debris, leading to an increase in the pressure at different points causing leaks in others.
Problematic oil drain plugs
Damage to your oil drains often come about when your threads are not properly aligned or even dirty. The result is a looser drain plug that actively leads to leaking on the underside of your car.
These often create holes or spaces which allow oil into your timing belts which when left alone will lead to leakages.
Valve cover issues and problematic spark plugs
We’ve already mentioned the role of valve gaskets in causing issues with your leaking. When spark plugs come loose, they have the potential to allow oil which is pressurized to leak from the cylinder. A skip in the engine firing or even oil around the base area of your spark plug
Aging, accumulated tear, incorrect installations and eventual underperformance are often responsible for leaking problems among many drivers.
Tip on identifying various leaks
There are several fluid components included in your vehicle to bring all components to prime operation state. Among these you have engine oil, water, and transmission fluid among many others.
Luckily, most of the fluids carry a unique color and smell and are easy to detect when they leech from your car into a puddle on the ground. It is important as a vehicle owner to distinguish between all the different types of fluids used in your vehicle and what they look like in case one of them is leaking
- Water is clear or in some instances slightly discolored when in a puddle.
- Fuel is often dark colored with an additional multicolor sheen. Usually, petrol and diesel look different
- Transmission fluid has a colorful pink or green tinge to it.
- Engine oil is brownish or black, depending on its health status.
- Coolant when healthy is a bright-colored fluid or in some instances orange. These colors turn brown and rusty when the coolant is degraded.
- Steering fluid is often pink, reddish or even clear depending on the brand.
Checking your engine for oil leaks
If you are interested, it is possible to inspect your car or leaks or detect them using at home leak detection kits. This is the quickest and most efficient way to heck for oil leaks. Fluorescent dyes in these kits are the key to their function.
You begin by pouring the dye into the engine and turning on your engine.
Run the engine for about 5 to 10 minutes and proceed to wait for the engine to warm up and the oil to circulte.
Use the lamp provided to shine around the areas you suspect to be leaking. If you do not have a torch to identify where the fluorescent dye has passed with the yellow glasses/ goggles provided by some kits.
After identifying the leak, the best action is to ensure it is properly fixed and prevented if possible.
How much does it cost to fix an oil leak on your engine?
Depending on the cause and extent of the leaking, the repair cost could range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. The type of car you drive and the engine it is equipped with will influence the repair cost.
Usually, the cost includes identifying the leak and the cost of repairing it. Moreover when replacements that require you to purchase additional parts and the labor are factored in, this price understandably goes up.
Breaking down the cost for a basic oil leak repair
|Part or service||Minimum Estimated cost|
|Labor||85-111$ inclusive of parts|
|Various parts||85-111$ inclusive of labor cost|
Signs of an oil leak
Engine oil leaks are not solely characterized by visible leaking. There are several other signs and symptoms of engine oil leaks, some of which include the following:
Light oil pressure and fluctuating gauge
Burning smells and a smoking engine caused by burning leaking oil. Because your car components operate under high pressure and heat, it is not shocking to experience smoking from burning oil when it leaks.
Engine performance issues which we will discuss next can act as a sign of an engine oil leak. Because the leak decreases the amount of oil inside the engine compartment, several performance issues will arise.
Will an oil leak affect engine performance?
Yes if you fail to top up before it is too late. A lack of engine oil means there is more chance of metal to metal on some moving parts and this can affect the performance on your car in a bad way.
To understand how leaking will hinder performance you must first understand the role of this oil within the engine compartment. Some may call this component the blood of the engine.
Some of the key roles it plays within this essential compartment include inhibiting rust and corrosion, reducing friction created by all the moving metal parts, removing impurities and deposits from parts broken down during engine running, and acting as a gap filler.
All these functions among many others are essential for proper engine function.
When there is insufficient oil in your engine, none of these functions are being performed as they should be. Among your biggest and most immediate causes for worry is the buildup of wear caused by un-lubricated moving metal parts, the accumulation of heat due to insufficient cooling, and the buildup of impurities within the little engine oil inside the compartment.
Remedies for a leaking engine
Because you cannot leave leaking issues unchecked, there are many measures to take including the following.
Stop leak additives
These are chemicals used to well, stop leaking. They are chemicals used to fill small holes in your seals and expand and soften them. While this will stop the engine, the additives sometimes harm the seals by over expanding them, turning small leaks into terrible ones.
Seal your camshaft
When worn, these must be replaced because they are responsible for keeping the oil from getting into the timing belts.
Before removing the camshafts in a DIY replacement, take out the timing belts so they do not touch any oil.
Change the drain plug
Replacing your drain plug ensures your vehicle is safe from developing leaks. In addition to replacing worn drain plugs, ensure they are well cleaned and maintained.
Cover you engine valve
By covering your engine valve the head of your cylinder is covered and effectively oil spillage is kept at bay.
Maintenance tips to reduce oil leaking from your ride
Preventive maintenance is an essential step in car care. If you stop the problem before it even develops, then you are at a better position compared to owners who only rely of repairs and replacements. Some of the best preventive maintenance tips with regard to engine oil leaking include the following.
Check your car regularly
Setting up routine checkups is the best way to care for your car. Regular schedules checks ensure all your components are in order and
When in doubt check your oil levels out
If you suspect an engine oil leak but haven’t visibly seen puddles of brown or black, then the best course of action is to check the engine oil levels.
Checking you engine oil level
One of the simpler engine checks any driver can do is checking their engine oil levels. To do this, you will require a bare minimum of a dipstick and a towel.
The special sticks help you check the levels by indicating the maximum and minimum levels at which the oil level should be. The biggest issue is often if the oil level is below the minimum.
Ideally, you want the level between the highest and lowest indicator points.
This check will end here because we are concerned with your car's oil level. However, the engine oil check continues to wipe off the excess oil on the dipstick and check the color and consistency between your fingertips.
If you find yourself uncomfortable below the minimum level, you must add oil appropriately. This step should only be taken by drivers without leaks. If you are experiencing leaks, then the best course of action before you can add more oil.
TIP: Once you get around that oil leak issues, adding engine oil to your car is quite easy. Ensure your top ups are only with user manual recommended oil. In order to add oil, unscrew the oil filler cap and gently add oil, keeping in mind the danger of excess engine oil.
Check how far you have restored the right amount of oil using a dip stick. If you haven’t gotten to the correct amount, continue to top up the oil and check the level again with the dipstick. Once you are pleased with the dip stick's level, you can complete this top-up by screwing the oil filler cap back on.
How often should you change your engine oil?
Top ups are essential especially if you have leaks. However, topping up an engine that is still leaking is a literal waste of money. Once you have your issues fixed then you can have the engine topped up.
However, once you have no more leaking, how long you should wait before you can change the oil. Look at some of our pointers for common signs you need to change your oil.
Signs you need an oil change
Now that you have your oil where it needs to be, you must keep tabs on your engine oil status, not just the level. If you are uncertain about needing an oil change, then below are some of the popular signs that you might need one.
The check engine light will come on to notify you of an issue with your car; granted this isn’t a very specific sign, it is one of the many you can use to determine whether the oil in your car is in proper health.
Strange noises including knocking sounds are common when you have tainted engine oil. These sounds are caused by metal parts inside the engine block rubbing against each other without the engine oil acting as a lubricant.
Apart from noises, strange smells or even the smell of oil inside your car indicate dirty congested oil.
Smoking from your exhaust shouldn’t be happening. Before you freak out, your exhaust will always release a translucent vapor. If it’s full on smoke, then chances are you need to change the oil in your engine.
If you plan on going on many trips, several thousand miles worth in a few months, then we often advise that you also change your engine oil.
The best engine oil that you can use is obviously one of the most expensive oils out there. It is expensive for a reason and that reason is because it actually does what it is supposed to do best.
Choose a top-quality engine oil like Mobile 1 or something similar for your car. This oil will not stick to any parts in your car in a thick grime like cheaper oils do. It lubricates the parts and stops friction between metal parts better than any cheap oil.
It also works much better in hot and cold weather by moving around the engine much quicker due to its design. Only use the best engine oils if you want longevity from your car engine.
The biggest mistake drivers make is to wait until they experience visible leaks before they do anything about it. However, it is important always to have your automotive fluids, including the engine oil checked for leaking among other problems regularly. This way, you can keep tabs on the state of you engine oil. Moreover, these regular checkups help to stop the problem sooner rather than later. If you come across a leaking problem,
Always look after your car. Nothing is worse than breaking down when you are on an important journey, or in the beginning or middle of your holidays.