Quick Guide: Finding Engine (Oil) Leaks

We all know that sinking feeling when we approach our car and see a puddle of liquid underneath it. There may be an alternative explanation, but you’ve probably got a fluid leak, and that’s something you need to take care of as soon as possible. The fluids in your car are there for a reason, and you want them to stay there. If you are leaking engine oil, your car could (eventually) be in serious jeopardy of overheating or seizing and ruining the engine.

Bottom line: engine oil leaks suck. But the good news is the earlier you catch them, the easier they are to fix without a huge repair bill. Time is of the essence.

So, you know you have to deal with this problem, but first, you have to ask yourself, from where is my engine leaking? Finding oil leaks can be a little tricky, as your car doesn’t always make it clear where it is leaking from. However, there are methods of finding engine leaks and dealing with them when you do.

How to Find an Oil Leak

Your first step when trying to locate the source of your oil leak is to make sure that it is actually engine oil that is leaking. Put a white piece of paper or paper towel underneath the leak location. If the drops that land on the paper are black/dark brown, you are probably dealing with engine oil. If not, you probably have a leak in some other system. For example, if the liquid comes out is red, it is likely transmission fluid or power steering fluid. If it’s blue, it’s windshield washer fluid or antifreeze. If it’s another color, that’s probably coolant as well.

Once you have decided that it is an engine oil leak, check the oil dipstick. If it is significantly lower than expected, that should confirm your diagnosis.

If your leak is not an engine oil leak but rather some other fluid like antifreeze or transmission fluid, this is still a problem you will want to address, but an engine oil leak is a critical problem that could end up destroying your engine, so discovering engine oil leaks should be the priority.

If you know your engine is leaking oil, how do you figure out where the leak is located? Your first step can be to clean the engine. You can do this using a spray degreaser and a garden hose, but be careful to only wash the engine and not get water into the electrical components of your car’s system.

After washing the engine clean, you can try running the car and see if you can detect oil leaking out. If so, congratulations — you’ve found your leak. If this doesn’t work, you can spray what is called leak detection powder on the areas where you think the leak might be coming from. This powder turns the area around it a stark white, so oil leaking out of it will be easy to see.

Another effective (but more involved) alternative is to put a fluorescent dye into your oil reservoir. Run the engine with the dyed oil and check it afterward by shining an ultraviolet light on the engine. The light will interact with the dye and show you exactly where any leaks are.

Or, you can go old school: just climb underneath your engine and look for dark spots and drips that are accumulating. In many cases, this simple sight test will identify, or at least narrow down, where your leak is coming from.

What To Do Once You Locate an Engine Oil Leak

So now that you have found your engine oil leak, what do you do about it? There are a number of possible causes for your oil leak. You could have a bad gasket, a blown O-ring, an oil pan leak or a broken timing cover seal. Any of the gaskets, seals or O-rings in your engine can become hardened, degraded, damaged or deformed over time, and when they do, oil will leak.

Fortunately, there is often a simple solution that does not require replacing any parts or going to a mechanic. Bar’s Leaks has an award-winning range of products designed to stop engine oil leaks. Which Bar’s Leaks product you choose may depend on where your leaks are coming from. For example, Bar’s Leaks Concentrated Rear Main Seal Repair seals rear main, cam seal and timing cover leaks as well as restores hardened and shrunken seals. However, our top-of-the-line Bar’s Leaks Oil Seal Engine Oil Burning & Leak Repair repairs leaking main seals and gaskets and renews worn valve seals and guides. It’s the one-stop shop for all oil leaks, including excessive oil burning and oil combustion. It’s the strongest, most professional-grade engine oil product we’ve ever developed.

Find the product that is right for you, and add it to your oil reservoir (crankcase) when you replace the oil. Drive around for a while and examine the areas where you previously located oil leaks. If you don’t see any more oil coming through, you have solved your problem. If the oil leak isn’t too severe, we have an over 90% success rate at stopping minor to moderate leaks.

Using proven oil leak repair products is a great alternative to trying to repair or replace broken seals or gaskets because these are costly procedures that require the intervention of a mechanic. You don’t want to spend a fortune replacing seals when they can be restored by the simple application of a bottle of Bar’s Leaks engine oil stop leak. We’ve been the industry leader for over 70 years, and we’ve put everything we’ve learned over that time into our modern product formulations.

Truthfully, you do not even need to locate the source of the leak as Bar’s Leaks offers general stop-leak products that can stop most minor oil leaks no matter where in the engine they are located. However, finding the source of your oil leak may make it easier to match your problem with the exact right product. It will also make it easier for you to determine if and when the stop-leak product has done its job.

Choose the Best — Choose Bar’s Leaks

It is important that you purchase only Bar’s Leaks stop-leak products as other stop leak products may not have the proven safety or effectiveness of Bar’s Leaks, and you may end up mistakenly taking your vehicle into a mechanic for repair when you do not need to. If you are having trouble locating a Bar’s Leaks retailer in your area, click on our Bar’s Leaks locator for assistance. Remember, Bar’s Leaks has stop-leak products that are effective for coolant, power steering and transmission fluid as well, if one of these is the source of your problem.

If you have any questions about stopping oil leaks or about which engine oil stop-leak product is the best one for your particular oil leak issue, contact Bar’s Leaks online now.

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