Hi there Mr. Mechanic I have a small oil leak coming from under my car and can not figure out where it is coming from. Any ideas?
Hi there Ken,
Well, finding the source of an oil leak can be a little tricky and timing consuming. Usually, the oil leak is coming from the top or side of the engine and runs down the engine and on to the ground. So if you look under the vehicle you might see engine oil dripping from say the bottom of the oil pan BUT the source of the leak could be much higher up.
What I do is get a can of CRC Brakleen #05089 from your local auto supply and spray down the engine and all oil spill areas so you can see where it is coming from.
I love that product because it is non flammable, and needs no water. Just spray it on the oily area and it will dissolve the oil and evaporate almost immediately. Try not to get it on plastics or wiring if possible.
Once you have the engine clean and dry, then start the car and start looking around for the source. Start from the top of the engine at the valve covers then move down towards the bottom of the engine where the engine oil pan is located (the metal pan that has the oil drain plug screwed into it).
Make sure you look around the oil filter and engine oil drain plug as well, which is a common oil leak source.
This process can take a while and you might need to drive the car for a while until the leak shows up.
There are tons of oil stop leak additives on the market, but unfortunately they really don’t work and I would suggest you take the time to find the source of the leak, it might be something minor.
You should also check the PCV system and valve, since the engine breathes internally using that valve and vacuum. If the PCV system is stopped up with dirt/carbon the engine can not breath and excessive internal pressure is placed on o’rings, gaskets and seals.