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.
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