How to Stop an Oil Leak in an Engine

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-20
What You'll Need
Disposable gloves
Protective glasses

There are certain circumstances where you can stop an oil leak yourself when the need arises. Oil is like the blood of your vehicle. If you lose too much oil the car can die, and depending on the subsequent damage, can never be repaired. The following article will help you diagnose where the car is leaking oil and how you can actually repair it.

Step 1 - Getting a Clear View

One major issue with owning a car is the accumulation of dirt and grime. Even this step can solve the problem and stop the oil leak before it becomes worse. Use the degreaser along with the rags to clean away the dirt and grime from the engine block. Make sure to clean off all of the valve cover and clean off the oil pan under the car.

Step 2 - Find the Leak

If you wish to stop an oil leak you need to discover where it is leaking from. Step 1 can solve the problem, but it also gives you a clean view of where the leak is coming from. It is impossible to discern an oil leak when the rest of the engine is covered in oil. Start the car and let it idle or drive it around the block. Park the car on a flat surface and place a piece of cardboard under the car. Make sure the cardboard you are using the approximate length and width of the underside of the car. The leak may start immediately, but it could take a day or more to appear. This cardboard will aid you in finding the location the oil is dripping from.

Step 3 - Stop the Oil Leak

Stopping an oil leak depends on where the oil leak is. If you find drops of oil on the cardboard you know there is a leak somewhere under the car. Crawl under the vehicle and find the direct path of the oil on the cardboard to the underside of the car. If you're led to the oil filter then replace the filter and tighten all of the bolts attached to the vehicle and the casing. If it comes from the oil pan there can be several things wrong. Look for signs of oil around the oil pan gasket. If it's old and worn then drain the oil, remove the oil pan and replace the gasket. If no oil can be found on the edges of the oil pan then check the oil drain plug and the bolts holding the oil pan together. Another possible culprit is the oil pressure device. Tighten the fixture or replace the unit if it is already tight. Other problem areas include the valve cover gasket, which can be easily tightened and replaced, the head gasket, which will usually require a mechanic or the oil lines, which should also be dealt with by a mechanic.