When someone reverses out of their garage and sees a stain, one of the first questions they ask is, “Why is my car leaking oil when parked?” This question is then quickly followed up by others, including, “Can you drive a car with an oil leak?” and even, “Wait, is that oil? “
If you’ve noticed your car leaking oil when parked, call Colony One Auto Repair today. We’ll answer your questions and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.
Verifying whether your car is leaking oil or another type of fluid
Oil isn’t the only kind of fluid that can leak from your vehicle when it’s parked. The easiest way to see whether you’re facing an oil leak or a different type of leak is to check the liquid’s color.
A quick guide to leaked fluid color and fluid type:
- Brown or black liquid = Oil
- Green or orange liquid = Coolant
- Red liquid = Transmission fluid
What does it mean when your car is leaking oil when parked?
Oil leaks manifest in many different ways, but if your car is leaking oil when parked, the vast majority of leaks are due to degraded engine gaskets, oil pan leaks, or bad oil seals and connections.
Your car’s oil pan is attached to the bottom of your engine. It holds the oil that lubricates the different parts of your engine when it is not in use. The oil drain plug, located at the base of the oil pan, must be loosened and removed in order to drain the old oil.
Oil pan and oil drain plug are located on the underside of your car. Engine gaskets are located between most metal pieces bolted together, including but limited to the oil pan, oil pan drain plug, head gasket, the rear main seal, etc.. These gaskets and seals are exposed extreme temperatures and the elements (such as road debris) which both cause wear and tear.
Other signs your car is leaking oil
What if your car isn’t leaking oil when parked, but the oil level on your dipstick keeps decreasing when you check it?
There are several signs that your car may be leaking oil:
- Blue smoke: If there’s blue smoke coming from your exhaust pipe, pull over. Oil may be leaking into your car’s exhaust manifold (the part of your engine that collects and directs exhaust gases) and your car is at risk of catching on fire.
- Overheated engine: Can low oil cause overheating? You bet it can! Remember: Oil is meant to lubricate the different parts of your engine while it’s running. If your car is low on oil, then that lubrication is gone, and your engine will begin overheating.
- The smell of burning oil: If you get out of your car after driving it and smell burning oil, oil may have leaked onto your already hot engine and burned.
- Car leaking oil after an oil change: If your car began leaking oil after you received an oil change, chances are that something went wrong during that process. The oil filter might not have been fitted correctly or gotten pierced, the oil filler cap might have broken or been left loose, or the gaskets or drain plugs might have been over tightened or left loose.
Can you drive a car with an oil leak?
It can be scary when you notice your car leaking oil when parked. Generally, it’s safe to drive very short distances. But it’s not safe to put off a visit to a car repair specialist after you notice that your car has been leaking oil, especially if your car is leaking oil fast.
Wondering “How long can I put off taking my car in?” is like asking, “How long can you put off an oil change?” You may get away with it for a little while, but you’re risking the health of your car.
Is your car leaking oil when parked? Visit Colony One Auto Center.
Do you have a car leaking oil when parked? Or you’ve noticed an oil leak elsewhere in your vehicle? Either way, it’s important to remember that any oil leak, no matter how small, is a red flag that something in your car needs attention.
Bring your car to service specialists at Colony One Auto Repair of Sugar Land and Stafford. We handle all kinds of car repairs and maintenance needs, from getting your oil changed in Sugar Land to diagnosing that car air conditioner squealing noise and more.
Call us at 281-801-4812 or contact us online today for top-quality car repair service.