How to Detect Areas with Oil Leaks

Educational

Sep 15th, 2019

How to Detect Areas with Oil Leaks

Oil leaks can cause a severe problem in your car. There are various ways to detect where oil leaks are coming from in your vehicle. 

1.   Looking at the Properties of the Oil and Locating Areas of Leakage 

A car uses different oils, and each has a specific place of use. Besides, these oils have different colours. In the case of oil leaks, by just looking at the colour of the oil, you can tell which fluid is leaking and where it is coming from. It is therefore essential to know the colour and property of each fluid. 

  • Engine oil is usually black
  • Automatic transmission fluid is red. The leakage is likely to be observed at the centre of the vehicle.
  • Power steering fluid is also red. However, when it gets used, it may change its colour to brown or black, making it difficult to differentiate it from the engine oil.
  • Washer fluid is normally blue 
  • Antifreeze can be blue, brown, gold, orange or green depending on the supplier. When you touch it, it is light oil. 
  • Brake fluid is usually clear or brown, and it is sticky. You can observe brake fluid leakage around the wheels or just beneath the brake pedal. 
  • Lubricant. When you touch the leaking oil, and you feel it is very oily, it is likely to be the lubricant. You might observe its leakage on or near the wheels. 

Checking for Abnormalities in the Engine and Smoke There are many ways you can tell that your car is leaking oil in the engine. One of the methods is; you might probably note blue smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, this signifies an oil leakage within the engine. You can confirm oil leakage inside the engine after driving and being able to detect the smell of burning oil, and it could mean there is oil leaking onto some hot components within the engine. The other way you can confirm oil leakage from the motor is by checking just right under the engine. If you see classic oil stains, then it is a confirmation that the oil leakage is coming from the engine. Engine oil is usually black. Therefore, if you note black oil stains right under the engine, the leakage is likely to be from the engine. 

3.   Using Ultraviolet (UV) Light and Fluorescent Technology 

It can be challenging to confirm where oil leaks are coming from confidently. Luckily, there is a simple method you can use to trace the oils using ultraviolet light. This method can be used for all the oils used in a car. The trace dye is fluorescent, and when it is under the ultraviolet light, it produces a green/yellow glow. The ultraviolet light and a small dye will show you where the leakage is coming from. You can use the latest kits, which are compact and have improved trace dye that enhance the appearance of the stain. 

4.   Using Talcum or Baby Powder 

This method requires one to first check thoroughly for any possible leaks. When you identify potential areas that could be leaking, apply talcum powder which acts as an aid in locating where exactly the leakage is coming from. Ensure you have the following tools, a flashlight, talcum or baby powder and safety glasses. Make sure to apply significant powder so that you can have a bright contrast between the leaking areas and the powder. Then drive your car for about 20 minutes to allow for oil leakage onto the baby powder that you just applied. Then do a thorough check on the areas where you had used the baby powder, and you are likely to see the leaking areas. You might even locate other leaking areas where you had not applied the powder. 

How to Fix Oil Leaks 

Once you have identified possible areas of leakage, make sure to have them fixed to avoid other complicated problems. You can fix them using the following ways. 

1.   Replacing Worn Out Seals and Gasket 

There are shafts in the engine and gaskets that join to different parts of a vehicle. The gasket maintains oil in the engine while the rods usually have oil seals around them. The rotation of the shafts and the frequent change in the oil temperatures can cause the gaskets and the seals to wear out. Consider replacing them when they wear out. New seals and gasket are not expensive, but they might take much of your time removing other components so that you can reach them. 

2.   Using Engine Oil Leak Sealant

 For tiny engine oil leaks, oil leak sealant can work. You mix the sealant with the engine oil so that it can close holes from inside out. The sealant acts as a conditioner for joint seals and gasket while it does not clog any passage since it is in its liquefied state.

3.   Tightening Loose Bolts, Plugs or Filters

Make sure that loose bolts, filters and plugs are well tightened. Be careful not to tighten them too much since it would lead to more leakage. In most oils leaks, loose plugs, filters and bolts are usually the cause. Therefore, before checking for other problems, fist check if this could be the primary cause. 

4.   Take Your Car to A Mechanic 

In cases where you feel you cannot detect where the oil leaks are coming from or you cannot fix the problem, book an appointment with a qualified mechanic to have your car checked. Once the mechanic has detected the oil leaks, he will advise you on the best method to have the problem fixed. Also, have all the oil levels checked to ensure that your vehicle does not experience other mechanical issues.