Have you noticed an oil leak after oil change?
An oil change is a maintenance routine proven effective over time and should be practiced by every car owner. After changing the oil, pay attention to any signs of leaking.
A pool of oil in your garage or driveway should be of concern. What causes oil leakage after changing the oil in your vehicle?
In this guide, we will answer all related questions to oil leak after oil change. We will get to know how to identify these leaks, how to fix the leak, how to prevent such from reoccurring and lots more.
Let’s get started!
Why is there an Oil Leak After Oil Change
A major reason for oil lieak after oil change is a rotted oil seal, engine gasket or due to bad connections. Check the oil pan drain plug and the oil pan seals which can be located under your car. Also check the valve cover gaskets and timing cover seal to ensure they are in good condition.
When the oil in your vehicle leaks after changing, there is no reason to panic because the cause of this leak can be identified and fixed easily.
Below are some common causes of oil leak after oil change:
Leaks due to Degraded Part
Bad connections, faulty oil seals, or engine gaskets are some of the causes of an oil leak after changing your oil.
Under your vehicle, you should always check out the following, oil pan drain plug, oil pan seal, valve cover gaskets, and timing cover seal. Contact a technician to help fix the problem if you notice any abnormality.
Bad Installation of Filter
The new oil filter can be installed wrongly in different ways.
Pay attention to the filter you purchase; ensure it is designed specifically for your vehicle model.
If you got the right filter, it might not be attached correctly; either it is attached too tightly or too loose. Use your hands to fasten the oil filters until you feel the resistance.
Just to ensure they are securely fastened, turn one quarter more. If the tightening is lesser than this, it will create a loose seal, but if it is more than this, the filter head may get crushed. Do not use a filter wrench to tighten the oil filter. The tool is made to remove the filters only.
Although the oil filters are strong, the screw threads are relatively soft and susceptible to stripping. You can test this by grabbing the filter and deciding if it is tightly fixed. When threads get destroyed, ensure to replace the filter.
Overfilling the Oil During Oil Change
Because the cap is located on the engine’s top, it is easy to check for oil leakage.
However, the plug is located under the engine on an oil pan. If your vehicle is not on a jack, locating the correct spot may be difficult.
But, you can look for oil spills on the ground to know if there are any leaks. When the reservoir is filled with excess oil, the oil could foam up in the engine, reducing the hydraulic pressure.
Extra pressure could also be placed on the engine oil system, creating leaks in the gasket and seals.
Double Filter Gaskets
A common issue immediately after changing your oil is that a black rubber o-ring that serves as an oil filter gasket remains stuck when you remove the old filter. When you mount the new filter with the new gasket, the double gasket creates a poor seal resulting in leaking.
Empty the oil pan before you remove the oil filter. Then, when you successfully drain out all the oil, this problem can be solved by removing the oil filter and getting the old gasket peeled.
In addition, you can avoid messing up the environment by placing something to collect the oil when removing the filter.
Plug & Cap Issues
You drain or add oil from the oil cap and plugs. The oil can leak through the thread when these components are not tightly sealed or worn out.
The Effect of Additives in Oil
Regular oil sometimes leads to the formation of Sludge inside the engine. If the process of getting a change of oil is delayed, oil flow could be blocked by that build-up, which could destroy your engine slowly.
To help counter this, solvents and detergents are mixed with the oil to help get rid of the Sludge in an engine.
However, when the solvents and detergents in the new oil get rid of the Sludge, the fresh oil could spill through the crack.
This may put the engine in a bad state, but it can be fixed. Contact a mechanic to seal the crack and allow the new oil to perform its functions without leaking.
Under- or Over-Tightening the Drain Plug
It is easy to over-tighten a drain plug on an oil pan; that is why it has become a common problem. Use your hands to fasten the drain plug, then secure it tightly using a wrench. Over-tightening can lead to a crack in the plug or the drain pan.
Under-tightening a drain plug is equally possible. This can be resolved by tightening it more with a wrench.
When you feel the drain plug is over-tighten, lose it and check if the problem gets fixed. If the problem is not fixable, pour out the oil, then fix a new gasket and plug. They are pretty affordable.
Also Read: Green Fluid Leaking From Car (Causes & Solutions)
How Do I Know I Have an Oil Leak After Oil Change?
When you have an oil leak after oil change, various indicators will help you identify it. The oil warning light is one of the signs and can be seen on the dashboard inside the vehicle.
The warning light indicates that the oil level is low, and the performance of your engine may be affected. Therefore, it is important to check for oil leaks before the indicator comes on because the light comes only when the oil level is really low.
Look out for a brown greasy fluid under the car, as this is the best indicator for oil leaks. ( If it is a pink fluid, your transmission fluid is leaking, and if the fluid is green, your coolant is leaking).
These leaks cause harm as well; they should be fixed immediately. Oil spills on the ground also help identify the location of the leak. The leak can be traced easily as the leak is directly under either the oil filter or oil pan.
It is difficult to identify oil leaks from a seal. You can only smell burned oil under the bonnet because the oil leaks settle on hot engine components.
During the combustion process, burned oil is emitted through the exhaust. There is also a possibility of smelling that or seeing a blue, abnormally thick smoke gushing out of the exhaust.
How to Repair an Oil Leak
Did you experience an oil leak after oil change? You have to determine the actual cause of the leak first before thinking of a possible solution as there are various causes of oil leaks.
Go under the vehicle and carry out some inspections on the seals. Also, confirm the oil pan plug is securely installed. You may be dealing with a bigger issue due to multiple leaks if your car is older.
Here are some common ways to fix oil leaks after oil change.
The Use of an Additive
You can use an additive, and this depends on the situation. These additive makes the rubber seals flexible and creates better retention. But, these additive requires some time before the work is done completely. So, this option is best if it is a little leak and you can spare some time.
Reference your Service Manual
Make sure to consult your vehicle’s service manual before you begin the fixing process of an oil leak after oil change problem.
With the help of the manual, some of the repairs can be done at home. However, when the fixing process is complicated, you may need to consult the services of a professional.
Get to Work on Fixing
For repairs that you can do easily, you will need basic tools like a torque wrench, jack stands, and a floor jack. Ensure all the tools are handy before you start the repair process. You will need to torque bolts to the right factory specifications if you are fixing any bolts. Follow guidelines from your manual.
Test Drive your Vehicle
Check out your work when you are done with the repairs:
- Examine the oil level and, if necessary, add more.
- Turn on your engine and open your bonnet.
- Check if there is an oil leak from the engine while the car is running.
After running for some time, move the car slightly. Then, check out for a new spill in your working area. If you see any oil, you will need to fix the leak again.
If there is no leak, test drives the car to ensure everything is working perfectly.
Preventing Oil Leak After Oil Change
Now we know the possible causes of an oil leak after oil change. However, we also need to discuss how this can be prevented to ensure the engine’s proper functioning.
Routine servicing is important in every vehicle. Follow the manufacturer’s preferred maintenance procedures to avoid oil leaks and maintain your car’s performance.
A Routine oil change is a necessity. However, since you have to change the oil before the indicator light pops up, how will you know your vehicle needs a change of oil?
When the light pops up, it indicates that the car’s engine’s ability to remain lubricated is low. Various factors affect this mileage interval, such as the driving conditions your car is exposed to, the rate of driving, and the oil type you use.
Also Read: Oil Pump Replacement (Cost & Steps)
Frequently Asked Questions – Oil Leak After Oil Change
Is it normal for oil to leak after an oil change?
Yes, having a few drops of oil on the ground some hours after changing your oil is normal. But, if it gets larger, you will need to check for leaks. Oil leaks from the drain plug can be determined by several factors, such as a dirty or worn gasket part.
Can you drive a car with an oil leak?
Yes, you can drive your vehicle with leaking oil. But, it is not advisable because the oil helps lubricate the engine and keep its performance high. If you keep driving without oil, your vehicle’s engine will stop, leaving you with expensive bills.
How much does it cost to replace an oil leak?
Fixing an oil leak ranges from $250 to $1,000 and may be higher if the repairs become complicated. Expect more expensive bills if the leak can only be accessed by removing major parts of your engine.
How much oil leak is normal?
All vehicles are different in terms of the exact mileage. The standard is 3,500 miles for older cars and about 7,000-10,000 for newer vehicles.
Are oil leaks expensive to fix?
There could be a failed engine if oil leaks are not fixed. You will need about $150-$1,200 for an oil leak fix.
Should I worry about a small oil leak?
Ignoring a little oil leak in your garage seems easy, but it is not a good idea. If you ignore a small leak, it could get larger leading to an expensive repair. Additionally, your engine can seize if the leak increases while your vehicle runs.
Why does my car leak oil when parked?
There are different ways oil leaks can manifest. For example, when you park your vehicle and notice an oil leak, it may be due to faulty oil connections and seals, oil pan leaks, or worn engine gaskets. The oil pan can be found attached under your vehicle’s engine.