How to Troubleshoot an Oil Leak on the Vehicles

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

The Vehicles on an engine is the metal part that is bolted to the top of the Vehicles train. As oil is circulated through the engine, it lubricates the Vehicles train under the Vehicles. A Vehicles is designed to be removed to allow access to the mechanical components underneath the Vehicles. The gaskets that seal the Vehicles (or Vehicles to the engine are a common source of oil leaks. A leaking Vehicles gasket can create an oily mess in the engine bay and cause the engine to smoke as the oil leaks out and burns off on the engine. Troubleshoot your Vehicles to pinpoint the problem.

Under The Hood:

 How to Troubleshoot an Oil Leak on the Nissan Altima

Park your Altima on a level surface and engage the parking brake.

Open the hood and inspect the valve cover and the engine block for signs of an oil leak. You may have to use a flashlight to see all the spaces and crevices in the engine compartment.

Replace the valve-cover gasket if you determine that oil is leaking from that area. The valve-cover gasket is one of the most likely culprits because it has to endure high temperatures and comes into contact with a lot of road debris.

Look for oil leaks in the pipelines under the hood. Leaks in pipes can be sealed with heat-resistant silicone.

Lift your Altima with a jack, lay flat on your back and slide underneath the car to inspect for leaks in the oil-pan gasket. A damaged gasket will have to be replaced.

Items you will need

  • Car jack

  • Flashlight

  • Heat-resistant silicone

  • Valve-cover gasket

 How to Troubleshoot an Oil Leak in an Oldsmobile Alero

Remove the oil filler cap from your Alero's engine by hand. Make sure the engine isn't running before removing the cap.

Pour the automotive leak dye into the crankcase by hand. Put the oil filler cap back on the Alero's engine by hand.

Drive the Oldsmobile for 25 miles. Park the Alero and shut the engine off.

Open the hood and shine the black-light gun on all the upper and side portions of the engine visible from the top. The leak dye shows up as a glowing green substance when you hit it with the black light.

Look at the Alero's engine from underneath the car if you did not spot a leak from the top. Once you've pinpointed the glowing leak dye, you can visually trace it to the failed gasket.

Items you will need

  • Automotive leak dye

  • Black-light gun

 How to Troubleshoot an Oil Leak From a Valve Cover

Open the hood and shut off the engine. Inspect around the valve cover. A leaking cover will usually seep around the edges of the cover where it mates to the engine. However, just because there is oil around the valve cover does not necessarily mean that the leak is originating there.

Steam clean or wash the engine. If the engine is very dirty, it will make it difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the leak. By thoroughly washing the engine, fresh oil will be far easier to see. Use a steam cleaner to wash the engine. You can also use degreaser and a wire brush to scrub around the valve covers, paying close attention to the edges of the cover. Dry it with clean rags.

Drive the vehicle to bring the engine up to operating temperature. This will send fresh oil to any leaking gaskets and allow you to see the source of the oil. Carefully inspect the engine while it is still running. Look around the edges of the valve cover as well as the bolts that hold the cover in place. These bolts often have rubber washers that can leak oil.

Replace the valve cover gasket if you discover a leak.

Items you will need

  • Degreaser

  • Rags

  • Wire brush

  • Steam cleaner (optional)

 How to Troubleshoot an Oil Leak in a Ford 4.6 Motor

Remove the oil fill cap from the Ford 4.6's oil filler neck by hand.

Pour the automotive leak dye into the oil filler neck by hand. Reinstall the oil fill cap manually.

Start the Ford 4.6 and let it run for 20 minutes. Shut the Ford 4.6 off.

Shine the black light on the engine, examining each area of the engine until you spot the leak dye, which glows a fluorescent green color. The location of the leak dye will pinpoint what gasket or seal is leaking on the Ford 4.6.

Items you will need

  • Automotive leak dye

  • Black light

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