A car leaks through it’s seals and gaskets. Your oil leak can come from a few places and you will need to clean and inspect those areas to find out where it is leaking. Once you find out where it is leaking you will need to have the seal replaced which can vary in cost depending on which seal and how much of the car you have to take apart to get to it.
Here are some suggestions on detecting the leak.
-First clean each of the areas that can leak up with some degreaser and rags so you can see clean metal and allow you to look for new leaks. Check for leaks daily. If you see oil or sludge that is where the leak is!
– Valve cover gaskets. These are common leak points. They cover the valves on your engine. They are the long dome shaped sheet metal covers on top of your engine. You should grab a rag and degrease your engine around the seal where your valve covers bolt on to the top of your engine. If you have a 4 cyl engine you will only have one.
If you have a V-6 or V-8 you will have 2 covers. Once you degrease the engine drive it around and check the seal line each day to see if you see oil or sludge leaking down the side. If you do then you have a leak in your valve covers. This is fairly easy to replace and relatively inexpensive even if you aren’t mechanically inclined.
-Oil pan gasket and drain plug. This is the pan at the bottom of your engine that collects all the oil It will have a drain plug in it. These are also common leak points. Same thing here.
Clean around the seal between your oil pan and your engine. Put a piece of cardboard underneath your car under the oil pan at night. If you come out in the morning and there is oil on the cardboard look underneath to see where it is coming from. If it is from the oil pan you’ll need to change the oil pan gasket.
If it is from the plug you’ll need to change the plug washer. Note!! when you pull out the oil pan or plug all the oil will come out of the car so do this when you are going to change the oil and make sure you have something to catch it in!
-Rear seal. This one is difficult and expensive. There is an oil seal at the rear of your engine near the transmission. Typically it is difficult to see this one but you will know if you have a leak due to lots of blue smoke coming from the underside of the car at the rear of the engine. If you have this problem bring it to a mechanic as the engine will have to be removed to replace the seal.