Most Common Causes of Oil Leaks

Engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle - stay vigilant of leaks!
Posted May 30, 2023

An oil leak! It can be the worst nightmare for your beloved car. We all know how crucial engine oil is for keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape. The last thing you need is low oil pressure and a worn-out engine. So, if you’ve been spotting mysterious dark puddles under your car or if your dashboard is screaming at you with that pesky oil light, it’s time to take action. Don’t wait around while your engine suffers. Get ready to dive into this handy guide that’ll reveal the causes of those sneaky oil leaks. Say goodbye to the leaky mess and hello to a well-oiled machine!

Signs and Symptoms To Watch For

Finding fluid leaks is usually a piece of cake – just keep an eye out for those unmistakable brown or amber stains under your car. But don’t stop there! It’s essential to stay alert for additional clues that could signal a sneaky leak. Look out for other telltale signs, such as:

  • Illuminated red dashboard light: If you notice the “OIL” red warning light on your dashboard.
  • Abnormal drop in oil level: If you regularly check your oil level and notice a sudden decrease without any apparent reason.
  • Blue smoke or burning oil smell: Blue smoke coming from your exhaust or a noticeable smell of burning oil.
  • Grinding or clattering sounds from metal parts: Unusual noises, such as grinding or clattering sounds, often referred to as “metal on metal,”.

Remember, these signs are your car’s way of talking to you. Stay alert!

1) Leaking Oil Filters

Among the most prevalent causes of oil leaks is a faulty oil filter. It is crucial to replace the oil filter with every oil change. However, during DIY oil changes, it’s easy to forget this crucial step or incorrectly install the new filter. To detect an oil leak, start by inspecting the seal of the oil filter. Ensure that the filter is tightly secured and that the gasket or o-ring is correctly positioned.

2) Gaskets

Gaskets are like seals between different vehicle components, and boy, do they offer countless opportunities for engine oil leaks. This includes the valve cover gasket, cylinder head gasket, timing cover gasket, and oil pan gasket. With time, these gaskets can wear out, causing oil leaks. Locating the culprit can challenging, so we recommend you leave it to the experts at Integra Tire!

3) Seals

Positioned at the ends of the crankshaft, crankshaft seals can crack, dry out, or get damaged, causing small leaks underneath the engine or larger drips at the front or rear. Engines with timing belts face camshaft seal leaks, leading to oil pooling or engine smoke. Once again, due to the complex nature of seals, we recommend you leave the detective work to the pros and take your vehicle to a professional for diagnosis and repair.

4) Damaged Oil Pans

If you notice significant oil puddles beneath your vehicle, it could be a result of a damaged oil pan. The oil pan is a component located underneath your car that holds the engine oil. Unfortunately, it’s exposed to potential damage from objects on the road, like debris and rocks. When the oil pan cracks or gets punctured, it creates openings for the oil to leak out, and if the pan gets dented, it can compromise the seal formed by the drain plug.


Preventing oil leaks is essential for maintaining your vehicle’s health. Regular maintenance, including timely oil changes and filter replacements, plays a vital role in early leak detection. It’s also important to exercise caution when encountering road debris or rocks, especially during off-roading adventures.  Remember, engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle, and leaks can pose serious risks – so stay vigilant of any driveway stains, and call your local Integra Tire for help when you need it!

Questions? Our Advisors are Happy to Help!

If you have questions about anything you've read in this resource page, contact your nearest dealer for more information. We are passionate in assisting our customers make the best choices to keep their vehicles in tip-top shape and keep their families safe.
Resource Tags: fluid leaks , leaks , oil and lube
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