Why does my car leak oil when running

One common problem with cars is oil leakage. Oil is an essential part of the car’s engine, which keeps the components lubricated so they do not overheat and break down. However, oil leaks are very common in older vehicles because of age and constant use. When most people talk about “oil leak”, they usually mean that oil has seeped through the engine or transmission case and onto the floor, where it drips out underneath their vehicle. Sometimes it can even shoot out towards another area of the car! This article will go into detail on what you should look for if your car starts leaking oil when running.

Engine heats up

On a cold start-up, your car’s engine requires high pressure to pump oil throughout its system. This is why you hear a hissing noise as the engine turns over and starts to run. Once your engine heats up, this pressure lowers, and becomes easier for oil to flow throughout the system. Leaks typically occur when too much pressure builds up inside of an area that has not completely sealed itself yet, causing oil to seep through cracks or gaps.

Car Age

Your car’s age plays a large role in its likelihood of developing leaks because of wear and tear over time. The more mileage put on an engine, the more likely it will be to develop problems such as oil leakages. As metal parts begin rubbing against each other constantly, they wear down and create pockets where fluid (in this case, oil) can hide. These areas are prime locations for leaking to occur.


Heat is another main cause of oil leaks. If your car’s engine runs hot, it can push fluids through the system at higher pressures than normal, which increases the chances of a leak. This can be caused by several different factors, but they all result in elevated heat on some parts of your engine. For example, if you drive uphill for long periods of time or on roads that have many steep inclines compared to others around them, this could cause more harm to your car’s engine because of its difference in elevation with regards to where it starts and finishes each trip. Driving up hills puts added pressure on certain critical components such as valves and bearings, which can wear down over time causing oil to leak.

Car sits for long periods of time

If your car sits for long periods of time without being started, it can cause problems with seals that keep fluid in certain areas of the engine. The large amount of pressure that builds up when starting a car after sitting overnight can sometimes push past these weakened seals and seep out onto the floor. This is especially true if you have older vehicles in your household because adding an extra vehicle will create more idle time where nobody drives them. So if both cars are not used during this period, they may be at risk for leaking oil when started up again!

lower quality oil

Using lower quality oil or running with low levels in your car’s reservoir are other factors that contribute to leaks. Using the wrong type of oil for your engine can cause it to wear down quicker than normal, which will allow more fluid to seep through its system. For example, if you buy a new car and still use the oil from your previous vehicle, this could reduce the effectiveness of your current car’s oil because it is meant for different components in the engine. On the other hand, running with very little oil in your reservoir can also lead to leaks because there is less fluid pushing against weak seals.

Bad weather

Last but not least, cars that are driven hard or frequently used during bad weather experience increases in heat throughout their engines. This causes added pressure inside of vital moving parts, which leads them to wear down faster with time. It also makes it harder for fluids to circulate throughout the system because of this added heat! Driving around on hot summer days creates even more pressure on parts with high temperatures, which is why you often see leaks more during this time of year.

How to Fix

  1. If your car starts leaking oil when running, there are several possible solutions to fix the problem. First, you should determine where exactly it is coming from by checking different areas under your vehicle until you find the source. If your engine is covered in oil after being driven, look underneath your car first since this could mean that your gasket seal has gone bad and needs replacement. There are also products that can fix problems with seals not creating a proper barrier against fluid build-up, so these may be more effective solutions depending on the severity of your car’s leakage.
  2. By looking through your owner’s manual for manufacturer guidelines, you can also see what type of oil your specific engine needs. Using products that are different from what it is meant to be used with will only cause further damage, so make sure to check the front portion of your engine before buying any fluid! Taking the time to examine leaks and their causes will prevent further problems down the road when running, allowing you to save money in both the short term and long run.


As you can see, there are many potential causes for your car to leak oil. The best way to troubleshoot this problem is by taking it in for a routine maintenance check-up and having the technician identify what could be causing any leaks. Once they know where the issue lies, they will have all of the tools needed to fix it quickly so that you can avoid being stranded on the side of the road with low levels of engine fluids!

Chris Law

Chris is a content writer at WhatinGuide.

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