Oil leaks are not very common, but they can happen if there is damage to your car or if some component malfunctions. It is important to determine the source of the leak and to repair it if you want to keep your engine in perfect health. The lubricant ensures your engine doesn’t heat up, and it protects the internal parts from wearing out due to friction. So, if there is no oil, you might end up destroying the engine, and then you would have to spend lots of money on repairs.

We don’t want that to happen, and neither do you, so let’s dive in and find out the causes of oil leaks. The sooner you can catch it, the better it is for your car.

Gasket Failure

Gaskets play an integral part in the functioning of an engine. They separate the lubricant from the fuel, and coolant running inside the engine block. So, everything stays in the right place at the right time. However, the thing with gaskets is that they are made of metal and rubber, both of which deteriorate in condition over time. As a result, the seals preventing the different fluids from mixing wear out, and the lubricants start to mix.

At first, it is subtle, and you can hardly tell if there is any mixing going on inside the engine. But as time progresses, the gaskets fail, and you start to see white smoke coming out of the exhaust. This usually means that there is gasket failure and that the oil is leaking into the combustion chamber.

Fortunately, it’s easy to fix gaskets (you can’t do it yourself unless you are trained), and it usually just takes a day’s work to get the fix done. But gasket replacement, especially head gasket replacement is an expensive procedure since it involves opening up the engine. You can expect to spend between $900 to $1400 for the repair.

Loose or Broken Cap

It is often the case that the engine oil leaks through a broken or loose filler cap. Sometimes when you fill the lubricant, you forget to shut it tight or turn it in the wrong way. When the car moves, the oil splashes inside and leaks outside. You can judge if that’s happening after checking the underside of the hood. If there is oil on the hood or in other areas of the engine bay, then the cap is probably loose or broken.

You can get that fixed by buying a new oil filler cap or by properly tightening the existing one. Make sure it is firmly in place before you move on to do other things.

Faulty Oil Filter

The oil filter has the important job of keeping the lubricant clean of any irregularities. Therefore, it must be in top condition at all times. When the filter fails, the oil doesn’t get cleaned up for reuse, and that affects engine performance. So, it’s your responsibility to change the oil filter regularly. You must change the oil filter after every scheduled oil change. This way you don’t forget, and your car keeps getting fresh oil in every cycle.

If you can see a puddle of oil beneath your vehicle every time you park somewhere, then there is a possibility that the leak is caused by the oil filter. It could also be possible that the oil filter is of low quality. Many cheap filters help you save money, but they don’t do their job properly, and you end up spending more money than you intended to save. Therefore, always getting quality car parts is a must.

Too Much Oil

Sometimes the oil can leak because there is too much of it in the system. That’s why there is a marker on the dipstick which tells you the container’s limit. If you fill the oil past its capacity, it will overflow through various places. You will witness oil puddles forming underneath your car or see splashes of lubricant inside the engine bay. Moreover, you won’t see any warning on the dash. Usually, when oil levels are low, the ECU signals the relevant warning lights in the dash. If you can’t see that and there is still oil leaking, then there is too much lubricant inside the engine.  

In such a case, you can’t do anything except wait for the excess oil to leave the engine on its own. It will happen quickly anyway, so there is no need to worry.

How to Detect the Leak Early?

Oil leaks can happen in any car, and we have determined that they are dangerous for the engine’s health. So, it would be helpful if you could catch the issue early and prevent anything bad from happening. There are plenty of ways you can do that.

Regularly inspect oil levels

It is your responsibility to check all the fluids in your vehicle regularly. The coolant, the engine oil, the transmission fluid, and other lubricants should be checked every week, if not every day. If you are regular with your checkup, you will be able to catch any problem before it happens or just as it is happening.

Check around the vehicle

You shouldn’t just drive your car, park it in the lot, and not think about it later. You should look around the vehicle and check underneath for any leaks or damage. Problems can occur, and if you are not mindful of the minor damages and irregularities on your car, you will never be able to stop the big issues from happening.


We looked at several reasons behind the causes of a car oil leak and talked about many ways to solve them. Almost all of them hovered around your responsibility to be vigilant around your car. The people who regularly inspect their vehicle can catch a problem before it happens.

You should follow the pointers discussed above and keep your car in top condition at all times. Also when getting used parts for your vehicle, ensure to use genuine car wreckers to ensure the best quality car parts for your vehicle.