An engine oil warning light can be alarming for some car owners. It may signify that you just need to add a quart or two, but sometimes it brings your attention to more pressing issues like oil leaks. With so much uncertainty, it’s hard to know when low oil is a problem you can ignore and when it’s something that should alert you to bring your car into Dallas European Auto immediately. When your engine is losing oil consistently, that means that something is wrong with the engine. That problem can be much more serious than you think.
Why Do Engines Lose Oil?
There are two ways an engine can lose oil: an internal leak or external leak. When these issues arise, they allow oil to get into the combustion chamber and burn along with the air-fuel mixture.
External leaks are usually the best-case scenario, as many can be fixed with a new gasket and do not require any digging around to identify the problem. An external leak is easy for an experienced mechanic to diagnose and address almost immediately. Internal leaks can be much more involved. Because they are harder to spot, internal leaks can take a lot of diagnostic work to identity. Internal leaks are usually caused by wear and tear on some select engine parts, such as warn piston rings or ill-fitting valve gauges and seals.
Diagnosing Oil Consumption
The first step to diagnosing an engine oil problem is to investigate the best-case scenario. Hopefully, you will find an external leak with relative ease. External leaks often generate from the oil pan, fuel pump gaskets, and the timing chain cover. When trying to locate an external leak, look for oil dripping on the ground. The oil is dripping due to gravity, so you should be able to locate the cause with relative ease. Try investigating if the oil is dripping down from somewhere above the part where you see the excess oil.
If the leak still eludes you, the next step is to check if the leak is caused by a problem with the crankcase. The pressure in the crankcase can wear on certain engine parts like gaskets, seals, and piston rings and can often be the source of a major internal oil leak.
Keep in mind, that identifying the source of an oil leak is essential to ensure the leak doesn’t return quickly after adding more oil. When you know the exact issue causing your leak, it is much easier for both you and your car technician to repair the problem correctly to prevent further oil loss.
Are you experiencing oil loss or a mystery engine leak? Contact us at Dallas European Auto to see how we can help you get your car back up and running, leak free. We are located in Plano, TX, so stop by to make an appointment today!