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: Clutch gone out?

Hi there. It sounds like you do have a failed clutch disc, pressure plate, or stuck release bearing. I strongly suggest acquiring a qualified technician perform an inspection to avoid replacing unnecessary parts. YourMechanic has several technicians available that can...

Q: Engine coolant leaking straight out replaced radiator and hoses and still immediately leaks fluid right out of bottom 2000 Cadillac DeVille

Hi there - you may have a leaking water pump, freeze plug, leaking hose, or cracked engine block. I would recommend a coolant leak inspection by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your...

Q: I have 16 valve stem seals and then 15 other little things

The valve cover on your engine is held on by 15 bolts. In certain applications, grommet seals, 15 of them, were used along with the bolts. However, rubber grommets were used as seals in only certain applications. Upon disassembly if...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
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...
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.