Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Do I risk a car fire? I have a small oil leak in my car.

asked by on

I have a small oil leak in my car. I got my oil changed and the guy said, though he didn't delve too much into the issue, that he things it was just an oil seal. I plan to get it fixed soon, but I can't afford it right this second. Looking online everything I see says "DON'T DRIVE YOUR ENGINE WILL CATCH FIRE". How actually big is this concern? I'm a paranoid person, but I NEED to drive my car to get to and from work and school. So is it safe to drive and get fixed as soon as I can afford it?

My car has 238000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: There is a very small chance that a slight ...

There is a very small chance that a slight oil leak would cause a complete engine fire. The oil that is leaked onto the engine will burn, and cause smoke as the result, but this is not the same as an engine fire. There are certain situations in which an engine fire can be started, and it is impossible to determine if your vehicle is at risk without knowing the exact location of the leak.

The oil seal is located on the crankshaft. It is not the easiest repair to make. A leaking oil seal would cause some more serious issues due to the fact that it is rotating so fast with the engine. When these components completely fail, the crankshaft is not lubricated and can ruin the engine.

You should get this repaired ASAP, but you can also buy additives that may help seal the leak and buy you some time until you can change the oil and fix the leak eventually.

If you need assistance, get a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine the cause of the oil leak and change the oil for you.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Won't start after hit

It sounds like your fuel pump has failed. This was most likely caused by running out of gas. The fuel is actual what keeps the fuel pump cool. If it overheats, it can burn the contacts out or melt the...

Q: Can you help with Toyota Avalon repair questions?

Billing question sent to CS for the cost of repairing a power steering leak, flushing the power steering fluid, flushing the coolant, changing the oil and adding additives in the fuel, and repairing the exhaust system on a 2006 Toyota...

Q: Tires and rims keep getting damaged

Hello. There could be a problem with the suspension on your car. The control arm, ball joint, and inner or outer tie rod could be damaged. This will cause excessive wear on the tires. There could also be damage...

Related articles

What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
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...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.