How to Seal an Oil Pan Leak

If you have an oil pan leak in your car, you'll likely recognize it right away by the dark patches of oil that appear underneath your vehicle. Look for them where you regularly park your car, as the slow drip of oil through the leak will accumulate in those locations. Fixing an oil pan leak promptly is crucial to ensuring that your vehicle engine remains properly lubricated. This will help prevent the engine from building up too much friction and then damaging various parts that may be difficult or expensive to replace. Read on for a brief overview of how to seal an oil pan leak that is caused by a gasket problem or an oil filter.

Tools and Materials

  • Gasket
  • Standard tool set
  • Wire brush
  • Jack set
  • WD40
  • Auto owner's manual for your vehicle
  • Clean oil
  • Empty container for old oil
  • Cleaning supplies and mat for laying on

Step 1 -- Prepare the Vehicle

Double check that you have the correct gasket set for your vehicle. Prop up the vehicle by raising it on the jack set and keeping it propped up with the jacks themselves. Look to see if the leak is coming from the bolts and screws under the engine. If it is, try tightening them first, as there may not actually be a problem with the gasket or oil pan.

Step 2 -- Drain the Oil

To prevent a dangerous mess while you're working, drain all of the oil from the oil pan as you normally would when changing the oil of the vehicle. Store that oil in a clean container while you're working, and properly dispose of it later.

Step 3 -- Remove the Pan and Gasket

Using your tools, unscrew the pan and gasket from below the engine. Carefully remove both of them, being sure not to damage either of the two pieces of equipment or the other parts of the car around them. Next, check on the oil pan to see if there is any damage to the edge of the pan. Look for debris that may have been left over from previous oil changes. Clean out the oil pan using a wire brush to remove any debris, as well as WD40 to eliminate any extra oil. Wipe the pan down and allow it to dry.

Step 4 -- Replace the Gasket

Replacing the gasket is often a good way to deal with a leaking oil pan. The gasket goes in between your oil pan and the engine itself; refer to your owner's manual for exact specifications for your vehicle. Bolt in the oil pan and gasket into place as shown in the manual.

Step 5 -- Finish up

Finish by ensuring that the bolts are tightened to the proper torque level for your vehicle. Then lower the vehicle down off the jack stand and refill the oil. Turn the engine on and allow it to idle for a couple of minutes, and then check to see if the leak persists.