The 4 Reasons Why Your Car Loses Oil
Oil loss is common in vehicles. However, if it is high or sudden, it can be a sign of serious engine problems. That is why it is convenient to know why our car loses oil and how to solve this incident.
Oil is one of the essential fluids for our engine. A vehicle without oil would be thrown away in just a few kilometers, with a seized engine and an invoice of several hundreds or thousands of euros pending. Therefore, it is essential to check the oil level of our engine frequently. A process in which we can find losses, which can be reasonable or signs that something, is wrong with that engine. Let’s see how to distinguish both cases.
Let’s put ourselves in situation. You’ve spent time searching for the best 5W30 or 10W40 or even 20W50 oil, depending on which one uses your vehicle. You have made your oil change and, when you check the level after a while, you see a slight drop in it. These slight drops in oil level are reasonable and are caused by the engine itself. Let us think that oil is one more engine fluid that is used up and lost throughout the engine, sometimes being able to escape through the exhaust, although in minimal amounts.
This process is usually more intense in very extreme climates and with narrow range oils, in terms of temperatures. Since this may sound confusing, let’s take an example. The 5W30 oil we talked about earlier has an operating temperature ranging from -30 degrees to about 30 degrees. If this oil is used in high temperature conditions, such as those in the summer, the oil may be consumed due to its excess fluidity and its passage to other engine elements. It is not serious but it must be controlled, to avoid that the oil level falls more than necessary. The same happens with the oil that, due to the age of the vehicle, passes to the engine’s combustion zones. This oil can burn during the process, causing these losses. But as long as they are small, there is no cause for alarm.
However, when there are more noticeable losses or followed by other symptoms, then you do have to worry. These would be the assumptions that we have identified in this regard.
1. Problems with the crankcase plug
The crankcase is the reservoir in which the engine oil is stored and the one that empties when we change it. This tank has a screw at the bottom, which also includes a washer. Both elements maintain the tightness of the tank and prevent oil loss.
This system is subject to heating and cooling processes, derived from the temperature of the oil it contains, as well as possible shock and deterioration due to the engine’s own vibrations, stones that hit the underside or for many other reasons. A set of threats that can end up causing oil leaks.
In these cases, the loss manifests itself as a puddle under the car, although it is not usually a scandalous loss, but rather scarce. As well as the difficulty of repairing this breakdown, which requires nothing more than tightening the loose crankcase plug or, failing that, removing the oil from the crankcase to replace the deteriorated washer.
2. Problems in system connections
Inside our engine, the circuit that moves the oil consists of various pipes and connections made of plastic materials. Materials is that, with the passage of time, can deteriorate. This translates into small fractures through which the oil escapes or, in the most scandalous cases, serious breaks in the hoses or the oil circulation pipes, which spills its contents to the outside. Something similar can happen with the joints that join the various elements, which also deteriorate over time.
Despite the scandalous of this type of breakdown, especially if there is a break that spills a large amount of oil on the ground or on the engine, luckily it is not especially expensive in terms of repair. In fact, it is enough to take the vehicle to a workshop, change the corresponding hose and fill the oil tank to its level to solve it. What is possible is that we have to resort to a crane, to avoid greater evils.
3. Excess oil
It is logical. If our engine has excess oil, it will take care of throwing away the excess. Inside the oil dipstick we have two marks, the one for the minimum and the one for the maximum. If we have loaded oil above the maximum, that surplus will be transferred to the engine. It will overflow and will end up burning in the cylinders. Something is that draws enough impurities into the engine chamber, which damages its useful life. To make matters worse, this process also generates fumes of a special coloration, of bluish tones, which at least make it easier for us to detect the problem. The solution is easy. Apart from not adding more oil than necessary, it is also key to eliminate the surplus either by aspiration or through the bottom plug of the crankcase, as appropriate.
4. Serious engine failure
We got to the part we hope you never have to live through: serious engine failure. Among these breakdowns, we have a break in the cylinder head gasket, which causes transfer between the coolant and the oil, causing the oil level to drop. It’s complex and very expensive fault to repair. Something similar can occur due to the presence of cracks in some part of the engine, causing this oil to drip and be lost. In this case, it is key to look for the damaged part and proceed to repair it. Another element that can cause oil loss due to breakdown is the turbo. This element consumes a large amount of oil and when it fails it also throws it in large quantities. So it will be necessary to evaluate its state to see if the loss comes from this element.