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Old 02-03-2005, 07:24 PM
MovieMogul MovieMogul is offline
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My car is leaking oil--what should I do?

Over the last few days, I've noticed that some small leaks have occurred under my park car--leaks I presume to be oil.

Now, since I'll readily admit to knowing nothing about cars, I intend to drop it off at the mechanic as soon as I can. Problem is, that won't be possible until next week.

In the meantime, I worry about what this gradual oil loss will do, and what I can do as a short-term solution in the meantime. I should note that my oil gauge will light up for a fraction of a second every 30-40 miles or so, but has yet to stay on for any extended period of time.

Suggestions?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2005, 07:33 PM
mike1dog mike1dog is offline
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First things first, you should check your oil level. The oil light you see probably doesn't indicate oil level. It indicates oil pressure. It could be something as simple as a leaking/faulty oil pressure sending unit, or as bad as engine failure. I'd be more worried about the oil light coming on than the leak. I wouldn't drive this car for a week with low oil pressure myself, as it could lead to the death of your engine.
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Old 02-03-2005, 08:10 PM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
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First thing to find out is the source of the leak, and then determine the rate of leakage. As suggested, check your oil level. Assuming you get your oil changed on a quasi-regular basis, and the engine isn't burning oil, minor losses are no big deal.

Something simple like a valve cover gasket is relatively inexpensive. If it's a crankshaft seal, well not so cheap. Much room in between.
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Old 02-03-2005, 10:43 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchiveGuy
Over the last few days, I've noticed that some small leaks have occurred under my park car...I worry about what this gradual oil loss will do, and what I can do as a short-term solution in the meantime.
Unless it's been leaking unattended for quite a while, you probably haven't lost enough oil for it to be a problem yet. Of course it makes sense to check it to be sure, and that goes hand in hand with the short-term solution -- check the oil level, and top it up if it's more than a quart low. If you're not familiar with doing this, your owner's manual will tell you how, a car-knowlegeable friend or co-worker could help, or any auto repair facility can do it (it takes less than a minute to check -- no appointment needed).

Quote:
I should note that my oil gauge will light up for a fraction of a second every 30-40 miles or so, but has yet to stay on for any extended period of time.
Under exactly what conditions do you see the light? Right after start-up? Cruising down the road? Coming to a stop? Sitting still idling? (It's very unlikely it's serious or even abnormal, but there's not enough info to form an intelligent opinion.)
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Old 02-07-2005, 03:55 PM
MovieMogul MovieMogul is offline
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I should note that a day after posting, the rate at which my car was leaking increased dramatically--it was even running out the front of my car hood over the bumper. Turns out, the oil cap had fallen out! Weird, since I hadn't gone under the hood since I'd had the car serviced (including an oil change) four weeks previously. Bought a new oil cap and some degreaser to clean the engine, and everything's right as rain again.

So thanks everybody!
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Old 02-07-2005, 07:18 PM
cornflakes cornflakes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchiveGuy
I should note that a day after posting, the rate at which my car was leaking increased dramatically--it was even running out the front of my car hood over the bumper. Turns out, the oil cap had fallen out! Weird, since I hadn't gone under the hood since I'd had the car serviced (including an oil change) four weeks previously. Bought a new oil cap and some degreaser to clean the engine, and everything's right as rain again.

So thanks everybody!
Oil shouldn't blow out of the filler hole; the PCV valve or port might be clogged. It's no big deal, but it might be something to check out if the car still consumes oil.

BTW, what year and model of car?
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Old 02-07-2005, 07:28 PM
MovieMogul MovieMogul is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornflakes
Oil shouldn't blow out of the filler hole; the PCV valve or port might be clogged. It's no big deal, but it might be something to check out if the car still consumes oil.

BTW, what year and model of car?
Yeah, I'm going to send it back soon anyway (my mechanic said my next oil change is free), since I just put enough oil in there to get around short-term (by the time I checked, it was dry as a bone). A mechanic friend said we probably caught it before there was any major damage to the car (a 93 Honda Civic, which at 117K miles, I'm hoping will last 5 or 6 more years at least).
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Old 02-08-2005, 08:02 AM
Salem Salem is offline
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You should check your oil regularly. It takes about a minute and could save you from having to replace your engine. It also gives you a good baseline for how much your car burns in general and you can better track changes in consumption, which can tip you off to potential problems. If you see any kind of leak, it's really wise to check your oil level immediately (and, obviously, fill accordingly) and then track it over a few days to see just how much you're losing. Also note where you're seeing the leak or evidence of it and in this case, the circumstances in which you are seeing the oil light come on (how long has the car been running, what's the outside temperature, what's the temperature gauge in the car showing, are you around town/on the highway, going uphill/downhill, accelerating/cruising/at the McDonald's drive-thru . It can help the mechanic figure out what's going on if they know how/where the problem started and at what rate it's increasing/changing.
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