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.

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?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Do I risk a car fire? I have a small oil leak in my car.

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: Backfires around 70 mph and feels like gas might cut off at low speeds

Hello - fuel starvation or failing ignition could cause the behavior you are experiencing. If you accelerate from a standing start up a long hill, does the engine behave in the same way in each gear? Ignition problems will show...

Q: How much is it to replace the rear main seal on a 2007 Hummer H3

Hello. It is common for the rear main seal to leak on this engine. Over time the seal fails and this occurs. You will need to take this to a shop that can remove the transmission to change the seal...

Q: Multiple leaks

All rubber components soaked in oil and swelling must be replaced. The leaking fluid seals will require extensive work to be replaced and should be done by a qualified professional. I recommend having a certified mechanic, such as one from...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...