Car Leaking Oil When Parked | Causes & Fixes

Is your engine car’s engine overheating very often? Or does your car always smell like burning oil? If yes! Then your car has a big problem, it’s leaking oil. You all know how important engine oil is for the maintenance and proper functioning of your vehicle. However, oil leaking from the car when parked leads to a decrease in its level and impacts your vehicle’s functionality.

You can never drive a car that is leaking oil. Increased friction can damage the whole engine. Apart from that, your car’s seals and rubber hoses may also degrade. And the worst thing is that the engine can catch fire. Therefore, you need to fix it immediately to avoid all these risks. However, you first need to know the causes as well.

Signs of Oil Leaking From Car

You cannot head toward exploring the causes and fixes of oil leaking from your car without knowing if your car is leaking or not. The best way to find it out is to check the signs of an oil leak in your vehicle. These signs can be:

  • The presence of oil at the bottom of the car spread there due to leakage.
  • Dark puddles on the ground where you park your vehicle. These puddles are due to the continuous dripping of oil at that place.
  • Your engine is overheating during driving.
  • A lot of smoke is released from the engine of your vehicle. This smoke is due to the oil leakage inside the engine.
  • Dashboard oil light gives you a warning about the level of oil in your car. If a car’s oil warning light comes on, it may indicate low oil pressure, which could be caused by a variety of factors, including a low oil level, a failing oil pump, or a clogged oil filter. While a low oil level can be a sign of a leak, it is not the only possible cause of low oil pressure. It is important to check the oil level and pressure and address any issues promptly to avoid engine damage.

Causes of Oil Leaking From Car When Parked

The following are the key causes that you should not avoid.

Damaged Oil Pan

The damaged oil pan is a major cause in most cars. When you park your vehicle, the engine’s oil comes into the pan that is present at the engine’s bottom. A slight crack or hole in the oil pan can lead to leaks.

Oil Filter Gasket Leaked

Two types of filters; external and internal, are mounted on the vehicle engine that is responsible for filtering oil, air, and other fuels. A gasket, a rubber seal, is used to secure these filters. Its main duty is to prevent leakage.

When these gaskets become damaged or worn, they cause oil to leak from the car. Repairing or replacing damaged filter gaskets can help you to cope with this problem.

Damaged Oil Drain Plug Gasket

The oil drain plug gasket is another crucial part of a car engine system. It is used to seal an oil drain plug which is present at the bottom of the oil pan. The main purpose of this gasket is to oil stop leaks from leaking into the car.

Oil drain plug gaskets start wearing and tearing for multiple reasons such as poor maintenance and over usage. When it becomes damaged, it starts leaking oil at the bottom of the engine. It can cause oil burning smell and a massive decline in car engine performance if left untreated.

Worn out Piston Rings

Worn-out or damaged piston rings can also cause a car to leak oil. These metallic split rings are present on the pistons nodes, and their main job is to provide a seal between the pistons and cylinder wall to prevent the entrance of pressurized gasses into the oil sump. Their proper functioning is crucial to maintain engine efficiency.

Poor quality fuel, clogged air filters, and combustion faults can cause lousy piston rings. They cause an accumulation of dust particles and other harmful chemicals over the pistons, which can quickly destroy piston rings. It results in oil leaking from the car due to bad piston rings. The ideal way to car oil leak repair is to change the piston rings immediately.

Faulty Oil Pump

The oil pump is responsible for circulating the oil throughout the engine and making your car functional. It is sealed tightly to keep the oil from leaking. However, this seal can get loosened over time and oil may start leaking from this seal. A faulty oil pump can also lead to problems when starting or driving.

Impaired Oil Filter

It is a leading oil leak cause in most cars. A filter is present in your vehicle to filter out impurities present in the petrol. These impurities may be in the form of dust particles and other similar things that can damage the engine. However, continuous working makes the filter defective. It gets clogged or leaked. As a result, it leads to oil leaking from the vehicle when parked.

A filter is present in your vehicle to filter out impurities present in the petrol.

Lax Oil Drain Plug

You must have noticed slight oil leaks around the drain plug, especially when you forget to screw it tightly after an oil change. Screwing it properly can prevent it. However, this plug can get loose with time. It doesn’t get screwed and leads to an engine oil leak.

Oil Drain Plug
Photo: Marco S Hyman

Worn Valve Cover Gasket

This gasket is present between the cylinder and valve cover. The main purpose of this gasket is to seal the valve to prevent oil leaks. However, it may be worn with time or due to lack of proper care and thus leads to this issue when parked.

Valve Cover Gasket
Photo: Ferrous Büller

Excess Oil

You must have heard that excess of anything is not good. The same rule applies there. When your car’s oil level is higher than normal, it can cause leakage. Your vehicle has a maximum capacity to store oil. You need to keep the oil to a fixed level. If you raise the oil from that level, it may overflow and result in a leak.

Damaged Engine Block

How can your car or its engine work properly when the engine’s heart is damaged? The engine block is the heart of your car engine as, it houses all the essential parts of the machine including the pistons, crankshafts, connecting rods, etc. It is the central part of the whole combustion system of your car. Slight damage to this block can lead to oil leaks.

A damaged Engine Block Puts Your Car at Risk of Oil Leaks

Tips To Fix It:

Fixing oil leaks is necessary to maintain the functionality of your car. Otherwise, you have to face major problems when driving your vehicle. It may even lead to engine failure. Therefore, you need to get it fixed immediately. Following are some top listed methods that can be tried to stop issues like cars leaking oil when parked somewhere.

Changing Oil Filters

Oil filters have to do an important task. They get clogged over time. Therefore, you need to get them changed after regular intervals. On average, you need to replace filters after every 12000 miles. However, the best way is to replace it whenever you replace oil.

Changing filter

Selecting The Right Oil

Using bad-quality oil is not a good idea. You should not think about saving some bucks when buying oil for your vehicle. You need to get quality oil for the proper functioning of its engine. Furthermore, it also increases the lifespan of filters and keeps the friction minimum avoiding any cracks or leaks in the engine. Going through the automotive tips present in the manual of your vehicle helps you find the recommended oil.

Regular Inspections

Keep on inspecting your car once or twice a month. Deeply examine every part of it and check if there is any sign of leaking. If you find any, try to check the reason and get it repaired as soon as possible.

Keep on inspecting your car

Optimum Filling

The optimum point of anything is where it shows the maximum results. You need to keep the oil to its optimum level in your vehicle. An increase or decrease from that optimum level leads to many issues. Keeping it optimum helps you avoid leaking due to overflowing or cracks.

Using Additives

Certain additives can be used to immediately fix the issue. It is among the top methods to stop leaking due to cracks, holes, or loosened plugs. These additives are oil leak sealers. You simply have to find the area of the leak and use a suitable additive at this place to stop it.

Repair or Replace The Damaged Tools

After knowing the leading cause of the oil leak, it’s easy to choose how to fix it immediately. You can use additives as an instant solution but repairing or replacing the damaged tools is the only permanent solution.

Carefully notice the location of oil leaking from the vehicle and then inspect the oil pan, oil filter, oil filter gaskets, and piston rings. Make sure to replace worn-out parts immediately to avoid complete failure of the engine system.

Visits To Mechanic

It is probably the best way to deal with oil leaking from a car. You just need to find a reliable vehicle mechanic and take your car to it. Mechanics are highly skilled and experienced to deal with any vehicle issue. They know the proper use of different tools. They will open the engine of your vehicle and fix any leaks within a short duration.

Car Maintenance

Overall car maintenance is also required to prevent oil leaks. When you focus on your vehicle and try to maintain it, you can avoid many causes that lead to leaks. You can check the vehicle tips given on your car’s manual to keep it maintained.


Is oil leaking from a car when parked a major problem?

Yes! This thing with your vehicle is a major problem. It leads to many further issues. Engine failure is among the top effects of oil leaking. Apart from that, it can lead to the failure of heating, ventilation, and conditioning (HVAC) systems. The car’s radiator may also get affected.

How to stop oil leaking from vehicles?

The best way to stop it from cars is to avoid the reasons that lead to this problem. If it starts leaking, you can opt for additives and oil or filter replacement. However, the best way is to take your vehicle to a mechanic who has vast experience in fixing such issues.

How much is it to fix an oil leak?

The cost depends upon the causes and intensity of the problem. It costs less if you only have to replace filters or drain plugs. However, if the engine block is damaged, then you have to pay a considerable amount. The actual cost may range between $100 to $2000 or even more.

Bottom Line

You have realized how dangerous oil leaking from your vehicle can be and what are the causes of this leaking. Therefore, you need to avoid all those things that can lead to this problem. If you notice any sign of an oil leak, inspect your vehicle, try to fix the issue, or take it to a mechanic.

Last Updated on May 10, 2023 by admin

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