23 Feb Is it safe to drive my car with an Oil Leak
Is it safe to drive my car with an Oil Leak
We commonly get asked “is it safe to drive my car with an Oil Leak.” To err on the side of safety and concern for your car, the best answer is “No.” To help you understand the risks of leaking Engine (motor) oil, it is important for you to know that oil serves three extremely important purposes for your car’s engine.
- Engine oil lubricates the surfaces between the mechanical moving components of your engine. It prevents costly and critical wear between moving engine components.
- Motor oil serves a secondary function as a cooling agent of the internal components of your car’s engine. Remember, that air-cooled engines such as those in early Porsche and VW, were actually predominantly oil-cooled.
- Your engine uses a mechanically driven oil pump to send oil under pressure to all of the critical parts of your car’s engine. Motor Oil acts as a hydraulic agent that is used for powering various actuators and components in your engine. Some examples of components that use hydraulic motor oil pressure are hydraulic valve lifters, variable valve timing mechanisms, variable valve lift mechanisms, and solenoid valves which use the hydraulic pressure to move other mechanisms.
While keeping in mind the purposes of engine oil mentioned above, here is why you should fix and repair an oil leak on your car:
- Less oil in your engine translates into less oil available to lubricate critical internal engine components. An oil leak can result in higher friction between moving components and the wearing down of the metal between them due to friction. Often times oil loss results in damage to camshafts or excessive wear between piston rings and cylinders and causes lost compression. Lost compression can cause a myriad of drivability issues and secondary check engine light issues that require an expensive engine replacement or rebuild.
- Leaking oil results in less available oil for cooling hot engine components. A by-product of friction is heat and as well as naturally absorbing residual heat for the engine, oil must remove heat from components that move against each other. On older cars, oil was expected to cool down in the oil pan. Many modern cars now come equipped with oil coolers or heat exchangers to help remove additional heat from oil.
- Less oil in your engine’s oil system can greatly accelerate the buildup of harmful sludge in the motor. With less oil available for cooling, the remaining oil doesn’t get enough time to cool down before it is pumped back through the engine therefore, the motor oil gets over-cooked and becomes sludge. Sludge is a combination hardened deposits like sand and gummy like material that acts like slow moving molasses. It is not unlike the burned fat that remains after broiling a steak in the oven.
- External oil leaks can drip onto other rubber and plastic components which are made from oil. An oil leak can, in a short period of time, can cause those rubber and plastic parts to quickly deteriorate and fail prematurely. Therefore, if you continue to drive with an oil leak, it is not hard to see that your repair costs may go up as it causes other hoses to leak fluid, damages motor mounts, deteriorates accessory belts, damages wire harnesses, and other components the leaking oil may come in contact with.
- Oil leaks that result in a burning smell indicate that the oil is leaking onto the hot exhaust components of your engine. Leaking oil onto hot exhaust components can cause a catastrophic engine fire.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure. Get those oil leaks fixed and save yourself from a costly domino effect of motor repairs.
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Oil leaks and other fluid leaks can be a terrible experience that can cause safety issues. They can be hard to pinpoint without properly trained eyes, good technique, and proper automotive lift equipment. Have the experts at Rennwerks inspect your car properly and give you an accurate estimate. Maintain your peace of mind by having your car serviced at a proper and fully equipped facility.
We have the know-how to keep your vehicle in top condition. At Rennwerks we provide the best quality OEM parts from manufactures such as Bosch, Mahle, and Mann. We have expert trained staff that undergo constant training and education to up to date with the latest industry technology. We have dealership level equipment. Give us a call!
We take pride in caring for our customers, and are invigorated by the opportunity to provide competent and comprehensive automotive repair services. We strive to be the leading car service and repair shop in San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Cambrian, and Almaden Area while providing you personalized, detailed, and friendly service. Our relationships are built on trust, communication, integrity, and commitment to our purpose; to be the best shop we can be to you, the customer.
To schedule an appointment for major or minor service, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-370-7480. We welcome you to stop by our shop at 1070 Dell Ave Campbell, CA 95008. If you have any questions about your auto’s performance or maintenance, don’t be shy about asking our friendly staff for assistance.