View Full Version : Oil leakage

Gingerbread Man
11th Apr 2006, 12:20

I've just brought my car back from an MOT test, and discovered a patch of oil on the drive where it was sitting. A pretty large patch with lots of droplets so it must be quite fresh. Considering where the car was, it's too far back to be from the sump I think. Is it likely it could have been missed in an MOT test? Could it be anything to do with the fact that it has been stood there for a couple of weeks not doing anything?

Ginger :confused:

11th Apr 2006, 12:31
Has it ALSO been serviced? Oil-filter changed?
Or has the mechanic jacked-up using the engine oil-pan/sump?
ONCE did that on a Fiesta and it cracked the aluminium casing!
Suggest you take the car somewhere where you can get it onto a hoist (small garage, drop them a fiver for an 'inspection') and see where the oil is coming from. Take a sheet of brown-paper (or wallpaper) to place under the car to locate where the DRIP is (but realise that the LEAK might be somewhere else than the drip location).
If not from the sump it could be fuel or brake-fluid. MOT checks for fuel and brake-line corrosion, and the tester might have disturbed some corrosion, either physically or during the brake-performance test (heavy-pedal pressure).

Gingerbread Man
11th Apr 2006, 12:40
It was hoisted on a ramp, so it was lifted by the wheels - no problems there. I didn't really explain that the fluid had leaked before the MOT, and I only noticed once I pulled into the drive afterwards. It only had the MOT, no filter change or servicing. I would have thought it would be pretty obvious if something was dripping from it on the ramp :confused: .

Ginger ;)

(Another thing is that it has rained here and the fluid is sitting on top of the wet drive in droplets. Does that single it out as oil, or does brake fluid do the same thing?)

11th Apr 2006, 12:45
I would have thought it would be pretty obvious if something was dripping from it on the ramp :confused: .
Ginger ;)
Not necessarily! Workshop floors are notariously dirty and unless the tester happened to be near or under the drip it could be missed.
I once had a car 'passed' its MOT with a broken front-hub-carrier! I KNEW of the break, but submitted it for the MOT to find-out what ELSE needed doing, but it PASSED!

11th Apr 2006, 12:47
The MoT doesn't test for engine oil leaks - unless it compromises safety.

Brake fluid is almost clear - but best to check the brake fluid resevoir - normally a plastic tank fairly high up in the engine bay with max and min marks on the side.

11th Apr 2006, 12:50
Both brake fluid and fuel (both types) will display oilyness.
Check your brake-fluid level, but this is not conclusive as levels fall as brake-pads wear.

11th Apr 2006, 13:16
An oil leak can only come from a junction of the engine & it's oil supply - that's the good news. The bad news is that could be lots of places. The objective is to stop the leak right?

You need to trace it to it's source - get a torch & get poking around. The likeliest place is the oil filter, followed by any oil hoses emanating from the engine - some cars have oil coolers, like radiators, but for oil. The pipe junctions on these age like any other component & they can split & leak, or the connectors can wear & break. If for some reason you have blown a core plug on the engine - these are semi permanent plugs set into the block, which blow in the event of overfilling with oil - they're designed to save the engine from death - then you need to get it TOWED into a garage asap - don't try to drive it with a blown core plug - you'll seize it enroute. Otherwise, get a torch & try to spot the source of the leak - not easy in the confined space, but possible - leaky oil obviously is shiny, as opposed to the dusty grease usually covering an engine. If you're not sure, get a mechanic in. If you've blown something like an oil pump seal, then the engine would likely drop it's oil all over the deck - seems to me you have a weepy gasket/broken connector - should be easy to fix.

Oh & no mechanic worth a feather would jack a car on it's sump.

Gingerbread Man
11th Apr 2006, 13:26
Thanks for the replies guys, I appreciate it. I've just worked out that the droplets I can see is actually rain water sitting on top of a paving slab which must have soaked up the fluid. So it isn't fresh droplets, just fresh rain :} . And because I moved the car, it's the first time that that part of the drive has been exposed to rain in some time, which means it isn't necessarily my car that is doing the weeping. Now going out with my mirror and torch to inspect two cars :rolleyes: .


Ginger ;)

11th Apr 2006, 13:51
Worth waiting until the rain (and wind) stops, then use the 'sheet of brown-paper' (weighed-down with stones or tools) to confirm oil-drips. Oil (or oily-fluid) leave a 'permanent' blotch on brown-paper.

11th Apr 2006, 14:17
What sort of car is it GB? If me Land Rover ain't leakin, it means its empty.:)

Lon More
11th Apr 2006, 15:03
Gainsy - Landies, like Harleys, don't leak, they just mark out their territory.

11th Apr 2006, 15:08
Also worth checking your power steering fluid (if fitted) reservoir while you're under the bonnet.

11th Apr 2006, 16:24
I had my MG up on axle stands recently. It's got Rostyle wheels which I want to restore (previous owner did an awful paint job), but some of the wheel nuts were a bit rusty. As I pulled the nearside rear wheel off, I noticed the brakes were a bit ... oily. Then I noticed a steady drip of oil from the pad. There are several degrees of drips: occasional; steady; pissing. This was the last. When AerBloke arrived, we managed to get the back axle off. Where there should have been a gasket and o-ring, there was a smear of something that looked like vaseline. I love it when there's a simple answer. :rolleyes:

11th Apr 2006, 16:32
Do you own the mineral rights under yer driveway? I wuz jes thinkin 'bout them Beverly Hillbillies there fer a moment... :ok:

Paris Dakar
11th Apr 2006, 17:05
Gingerbread Man,

If you have access to a pressure washer and some axle stands (not a bottle jack and a plank of wood). Get under the car with some degreasing agent like 'Gunk' and give the underside a good clean - do the engine too.

Assuming it's oil it could come from numerous sources: filter, pump, oil cooler/lines, breather pipe, engine seals (ie crankshaft), sump, gearbox, differential etc etc.

Once you have the car clean, and you have checked that there is plenty oil in the engine (and your oil warning light is off) start it up, and then begin exploring with a torch.

PS What type of car is it?

Gingerbread Man
11th Apr 2006, 18:43
Thanks again everyone. After a bit of nosing around, i'm pretty sure it's not my car that's the problem (it's a Ford Puma by the way). I think it's my Dad's jag - but I don't fancy lifting that lump up onto some axle stands very much! I've got a feeling it's been doing it for some time as i've noticed a few more patches on the driveway. Checked all the fluids and they all seem fine - i'll just mention it when he returns. I don't think he'll be best pleased - it hasn't been the most reliable motor :ugh: (but it is bloody fast :D ).

Thanks again,

Ginger ;)

11th Apr 2006, 20:13
GM you just said the magic word - "Jag"! Its british so it leaks oil, end of story!

Should know got 2 Landies and a Jag, at home, our lubricant bill is enormous!