Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Is it Safe to Drive With an Oil Leak?

Oil Leak

Oil lubricates the engine, and is an essential part of your vehicle. Oil reduces corrosion, helps to cool the engine, and reduces the wear on moving parts. If you notice a black puddle under your vehicle, you may have an oil leak. This should not be ignored, and should be checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.

Here are some things to know about the common signs and dangers of driving with an oil leak:

  • An oil leak that is left alone can cause seals or rubber hoses to wear prematurely. Furthermore, oil leaks are a fire hazard and can cause your vehicle to fail without warning. If the oil catches fire or the engine fails while you are driving, there is potential for injury to yourself and others.

  • One way to check for an oil leak is to look at your oil dip stick on a regular basis. If your oil drops over time, chances are you have an oil leak. Once you notice the oil is low, add some oil to your engine and contact a mechanic, so they can determine the cause of the oil leak. Do not just add oil and forget about the leak, because this is a potential fire hazard.

  • Another sign of an oil leak is the smell of burning oil. Oil leaking onto the hot parts of the engine gives off a distinct smell. If you notice a bad smell coming from the front of your vehicle, it is also time to get in touch with a mechanic.

  • If you are driving down the road and you notice blue smoke coming from the tail pipe of your vehicle, this is another sign that you may have an oil leak. Blue smoke is typically a sign of burning oil, which can be a sign of an oil leak. In addition, check beneath the vehicle and see if there are any puddles or stains that are black in color. These two signs combined indicate an oil leak.

Driving with an oil leak is potentially dangerous because it is a fire hazard. If the leak is not attended to in a timely manner, the engine can wear down prematurely causing larger problems. If your concerned that you have an oil leak, look at oil levels, be conscious of smells, and look at the color of the exhaust coming from your vehicle. For peace of mind, and to ensure safety while driving, contact a certified mechanic as soon possible to have the oil leak inspected.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...

Related questions

Q: How do I use the daytime running lights (DRL)?

The daytime running lights (DRL) feature keeps your lights on even during the daytime, to act as a safety precaution. You do not have to activate this feature; the lights will automatically turn on when you turn on your vehicle....

Q: Changed brake pads and no obvious fluid leaks, brake pedal goes to floor with no resistance.

When you replace your brake pads you had to push back the caliper pistons to get the pads out and the new ones in. After the calipers are put back on you will have to pump the brake pedal several...

Q: Brake pedal stuck to floor - 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle

Hello. There is a return spring on the assembly that must be dislodged or broken somehow, and when this happens there will be issues with the pedal returning. Have the pedal assembly and the hydraulic portion of the system inspected...