Is it Safe to Drive With an 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.


Next Step

Schedule Oil/Fluid Leak Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Oil/Fluid Leak Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Oil/Fluid Leak Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(1,763)

Rating Summary
1,627
61
12
13
50
1,627
61
12
13
50

Robert

22 years of experience
269 reviews
Robert
22 years of experience
Pontiac Firebird V6-3.8L - Oil/Fluid Leak - Flower Mound, Texas
Robert is my go to mechanic. He does an excellent, thorough job. I told him he’s my mechanic for life. Most importantly, I trust him!!!!
Ford F-150 - Oil/Fluid Leak - Fort Worth, Texas
Excellent service professional care taken to diagnose and fix the issue. Inspected the vehicle for other problems that will cause issue later.

Larry

19 years of experience
104 reviews
Larry
19 years of experience
Mini Cooper L4-1.6L - Oil/Fluid Leak - Oakland, California
Larry was professional, courteous, and knowledgeable. He provided clear information about my possible next steps.
Buick Rendezvous - Oil/Fluid Leak - Oakland, California
Job well done as always with this mechanic. Thorough, timely and easy to understand and speak with about car concerns. All the time polite and professional. Highly recommend this mechanic's professional services.

Carlos

28 years of experience
483 reviews
Carlos
28 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata L4-2.4L Hybrid - Oil/Fluid Leak - Chino, California
Carlos is amazing! He’s very knowledgeable, professional, and personable. He provided me with lots of insight about my car that I appreciated. He was able to find the source of the leak that others couldn’t and quickly provided me with an estimate. His level of expertise was of great value and I will definitely be requesting him for any future repairs. I absolutely recommend him!

James

41 years of experience
94 reviews
James
41 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.5L - Oil/Fluid Leak - Cleveland, Ohio
He was very professional, courteous and kind. He gave me the best possible solutions for my car. I will definitely recommend him to others. Thank you for sending him to my appointment. He was a pleasure to talk with…

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.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Vacuum Pump
Common signs include poor fuel efficiency, difficulty pressing the brake pedal, oil leaking under the engine, and the AC not working.
How Do I Prepare My Car for the Rainy Season?
Rain Rain doesn’t typically require making major modifications to your car, but following a few precautions at the start of any rainy season can make driving easier and safer. Check your tire tread to detect wear: Try the penny test....
How to Quickly and Accurately Find the Source of an Oil Leak
When it comes down to car fluid leaks, oil leaks are among the most common. Degreaser and U/V leak detector kits can help you find the source.

Related questions

Car leaking transmission fluid

Transmission leaks can become very expensive if not addressed quickly. The fluid acts as a lubricant and cooling fluid, so if it's missing, heat in the form of friction can cause catastrophic failure. Possible points of leakage include the transmission...

Coolant hose is leaking

A cooling system rubber hose may begin to leak due to deterioration, or weak hose clamps. Spring-style hose clamps can lose their tension over the years, especially if they have been tampered with during other repairs, or cooling system services....

coolant leaking from under car

Hello. A coolant leak can come from a number of places under the hood. Typically, if it just started smoking all of a sudden, it is because a hose failed or the water pump is leaking. I typically get the...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com