The strong scent of oil in a vehicle is something that nobody wants to smell when driving. It is not only unpleasant, it can create a dangerous driving situation. If your car smells of oil, the vehicle should be inspected so the source of the smell can be pinpointed and repaired.
The smell of oil can be caused by something as simple as a poorly done oil change or a more serious malfunction like a leaking gasket. Regardless of the cause, the problem should be located and resolved before the car is driven again.
How this system works:
The primary function of engine oil it to lubricate the various moving parts that make up an engine. Constant contact between these moving parts creates both heat and wear and tear. Engine oil helps with friction and removes the heat.
Oil starts out in the oil pan, which holds about 4 to 6 quarts of oil. When the engine is started, the oil pump sucks oil up through the pickup tube. The oil is then sent to the oil filter, which removes any dirt and debris before it is passed on to the engine through spurt holes. The oil moves its way through the engine and back to the oil pan where it starts the journey over again.
Common reasons for this to happen:
- Oil Leak: An oil leak will drop oil onto the exhaust system, which will create a burning oil smell in the cabin of the car. The smell might be even more noticeable outside of the car. Oil leaks can happen in a number of different locations in the engine. A suspected oil leak should be inspected and repaired immediately.
The best way to verify an oil leak is to keep a close eye on the oil level on the dipstick. If it is going down on a daily or weekly basis, there is a leak somewhere in the system.
Poorly Done Oil Change: An oil change that is not done properly can result in excess oil dripping onto the exhaust system or other engine parts. As the engine heats up the oil will burn off creating a pungent oil smell in the car. If there are no additional leaks the oil will burn off completely and the smell will disappear after a few days.
Loose Oil Filter: Oil filters operate under pressure and if they are not installed correctly or are shaken loose due to driving on a rough road (this is not common) they can spray oil around the engine. As the oil burns off, the smell of oil will fill the car. A puddle of oil under the vehicle is another symptom of a loose oil filter. This problem should be addressed immediately as eventually the engine will be drained of oil.
Leaking or Damage Oil Plug: The oil pan has a plug in it and if it is damaged or loose it can leak. If the leaking oil lands on the exhaust system it can produce the smell of burning oil. This will also create a pool of oil on the garage floor when the car is parked. Again, this issue should be repaired immediately so the engine does not run out of oil.
Failing Gaskets: Many oil leaks can be traced back to degraded or failing engine gaskets, oil seals or leaking and bad connections. There are numerous gaskets scattered throughout the engine. Common gaskets that fail are valve and oil pan gaskets.
Gaskets usually fail due to the engine heat causing them to harden and shrink. The older the engine, the more likely it will have leaking gaskets. A gasket or seal leak should be inspected and repaired immediately.
What to expect:
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the source and cause of the smell of oil in car issue, and will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
How it's done:
A mechanic will check your oil filter, oil plugs, engine gaskets and other components leading to the unwanted smell of oil.
How important is this service?
Oil leaks can lead to a dangerous situation, especially if the smell of oil is filling the cabin of the car, which can become a health risk. In addition, an oil leak can start out simple but lead to a very expensive repair if it is not caught and corrected early.