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How to Fix an Oil Leak in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Fixing an oil leak on a Vehicles can be an extremely difficult job or a fairly easy one, depending on where the leak is located. Knowing some of the basics of how to change and replace gaskets and seals will help save you time and money. It is important to keep the oil in your Vehicles the appropriate level to keep your engine running smoothly and increase its lifespan.

Under The Hood:

 How to Fix an Oil Leak in a Honda Accord

Open the hood and prop it.

Remove the oil cap and pour the contents of the UV dye into the crankcase.

Drive the car around the block a few times to allow the dye to circulate through the engine.

Jack up the Accord and place it on jack stands. Keep the engine running.

Wear the UV glasses and crawl beneath the engine.

Look for the source of the oil leak. The leak will be bright yellow because of the dye that you placed in the oil.

Replace the part that is causing the oil leak. Common sources of oil leaks are valve cover gaskets, rear main seals, front main seals, and oil pan gaskets.

Items you will need

  • UV dye

  • UV glasses

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

 How to Fix an Oil Leak on a Toyota 4Runner V6

Open the hood on your 4Runner while the engine is cold and check the oil by removing the oil-check dipstick. Wipe the dipstick clean with a cloth and reinsert it into the dipstick check-tube. Remove the dipstick once again, checking the oil against the minimum and maximum lines printed on the dipstick. If the oil level exceeds the maximum line on the dipstick, then the extra oil is leaking out through the gaskets and seals due to excess oil pressure. Drain the oil, using the process described in step 3, and refill the oil system with the proper amount of oil.

Add an oil-thickening additive if the oil level is low. Oil additives not only serve to thicken the oil in your 4Runner system, helping to stop or prevent leaks, but can also help lubricate and protect different engine components. Allow your engine to run for a few minutes so the oil additive can mix in with the oil and check the oil level again, making sure that the oil is at an appropriate level.

Drive your 4Runner onto a pair of car ramps. Use an oil filter wrench to remove the oil filter, allowing the oil to drain into a catch pan. Replace the oil filter with a new one. Unscrew the oil drain plug and allow the oil to drain from the 4Runner's engine. Screw the drain plug back into place. Pour in a heavier weight oil to replace the old oil. Sometimes a heavier oil will help to reduce leaks.

Replace the leaking gasket as a last resort, which usually requires much more work and in many cases, the help of a professional mechanic. Some gaskets, such as the top valve cover, can be replaced by the do-it-yourselfer though. Simply unbolt the top valve cover and remove the old gasket by gently prying it with a screwdriver. Clean the gasket groove with a lint-free cloth and install the new gasket. Use automotive gasket silicone to help create a tighter seal between the top and lower valve cover and bolt the top valve cover back into place. This basic gasket replacement process can be used for nearly every gasket within the 4Runner's engine system.

Items you will need

  • Valve cover gasket kit

  • Cloth

  • Mechanic's gloves

  • Socket wrench set

  • Wrench set

  • Oil additive

  • Motor oil

  • Silicone

  • Catch pan

  • Vehicle ramps

 How to Fix an Oil Leak on a Kia Sportage

Drive your SUV around the block and let it warm up to operating temperature. This will thin out the oil, making it easier to drain. Place a catch pan underneath the oil pan plug. Unscrew the oil plug and use an oil filter wrench to unscrew the oil filter. Wait for the oil to drain then reinsert the oil plug and screw on a new oil filter. Open the cap on the valve cover and use a funnel to pour in oil with a thicker grade to help reduce leaks.

Open the oil cap and pour in an oil-thickening additive. Do not exceed the capacity of your Sportage's oil system, which will result in more leaking oil. Many oil additives help to thicken the oil, reducing and eliminating leaks while protecting the engine's components and parts.

Raise your Sportage off the ground by driving the vehicle up onto car ramps. Pop the hood and use a flashlight, shining it from above and on the bottom side of the engine to look for signs of oil leaks. One of the more common gaskets that need to be fixed is the valve cover gasket.

Remove the mounting bolts for the valve cover with a socket or torque wrench then remove the top valve cover. Peel out the gasket from the valve cover with your hands or use a flat head screwdriver. Use a shop rag, a plastic brush and degreaser to clean the inside of the gasket cover housing.

Install the new gasket into the valve cover's grooves then run a small bead of silicone on the outer edge of the gasket where it meets the lower portion of the valve cover.

Items you will need

  • Car ramps

  • Oil additive

  • Flashlight

  • Motor oil

  • Catch pan

  • Gasket replacement kit

  • Automotive silicone

  • Funnel

  • Screwdriver

  • Plastic scraper

  • Socket wrench set

  • Wrench set

  • Mechanic's gloves

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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