Oil leaks are inconvenient, but can they lead to larger repairs?

Yes. If ignored, oil leaks can lead to significant repair bills that could have been avoided.

We may have all done this at one point and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. You noticed some fluid, probably oil, leaking from underneath your car so you placed a newspaper or other temporary floor protector under the leak. “I know I need to look at this and will have it checked out later,” you say to yourself.

Better late than never but please be careful with these kinds of leaks in your car. There are various causes for oil leaks and these are some of the more common ones…

  • Degraded engine gaskets

  • Oil pan leaks

  • Oil seals or bad connections

If caught early, these types of oil leaks can range in repair depending on the cause and the make of the vehicle. But in all cases, the cost of the repair is far less than the cost of ignoring the leak.

For example, if the leak is critical - say an oil filter housing gasket - then ignoring the problem can have extreme repercussions. A leak in the oil filter housing gasket on a 4 or 6 cylinder engine can cause oil to spray on belts and pulleys. This results in damage to the belts and pulleys and will cause them to deteriorate and be sucked into the crankcase. The end result is engine failure. Now your $500 repair just jumped to $7,000. Ouch!

All of this is avoidable and not meant to scare you as a car owner. We value our customers and want to be sure you are doing the right things to maintain the life and longevity of your vehicle. Getting that oil leak fixed now will save you from significant repair bills in the future.

Greg Tirico