If You're Learning How to Become a Mechanic, Here's What You Should Know About Oil Loss
When you spot a dreaded dark puddle under a car, there’s a pretty high chance you’ve got an oil leak on your hands. Once the substance has been confirmed to be oil, most people will need assistance from a pro, as the source of the problem is not always easy to spot to the untrained eye. Oil loss rates as one of the leading reasons people take their cars into the repair shop, knowing all too well that leaks can quickly lead to serious engine damage.
So what are some of the most common causes of oil leaks, and what kinds of consequences does oil loss have for the vehicle? To learn more, let’s take a closer look!
What Students in Auto Repair Programs Should Know About Assessing Oil Loss
When an oil leak is noticed, typically through that tell-tale puddle beneath the car, the level of the leak should be immediately assessed. Sometimes the leak is simply due to the car owner overfilling the oil tank, which can be quickly diagnosed from an oil dipstick reading as more than full. A leak with a full dipstick-read might also simply indicate that a little oil was spilled during a re-fill.
If the dipstick is measuring between the minimum and maximum markers, this might indicate a slower leak. Students of auto repair programs should understand that a very low reading measured from the tank indicates a large amount of oil loss. In this event, the car should be towed to the repair shop due to the level of engine damage that can quickly be sustained from insufficient lubricant, even from a short drive.
Oil Loss Caused by Inadequate Installation
If you want to know how to become a mechanic, you need to know that a variety of sealed gaskets are responsible for keeping a car’s oil where it belongs. Many car owners without adequate training attempt to work on their cars themselves, at times neglecting to tighten gaskets properly. As a result, oil will begin escaping from the region where the gasket has been unevenly tightened.
Overly-tightened valve cover gaskets or oil pan gaskets are some of the most common examples of improper gasket installations that can lead to leaks of varying sizes, depending on the amount of opening left around the gasket.
Where There Are Holes, There Are Oil Leaks
Oil leaks can also be caused by holes that begin to develop in various seals and gaskets of the car’s engine. Some common examples include gaskets located near hotter parts of the motor, as well as punctures accidentally sustained to an oil filter or to the oil pan lid. Gaskets will usually develop holes due to age, and can be temporarily patched up with liquid gasket filler—but that fix should only be used as a band-aid solution for the owner as they wait for an appointment at the repair shop to get a new replacement gasket.
The Sneaky and Potentially Very Damaging Oil Leak
An important but less obvious kind of oil leak students of auto repair programs should be aware of is the one that occurs due to problems with either a valve seal or piston ring of the engine, with both these parts responsible for preventing oil from entering the combustion chamber. A large leak due to some of these components being faulty or damaged will eventually reveal itself, causing dark blue-grey smoke to plume from the engine.
A small leak becomes much more difficult to detect, with the minimal traces of oil burning off from the combustion process—and no puddle forming to alert the owner of a problem. If more valves or piston rings become affected, the engine will eventually stop running as the combustion chamber becomes flooded with oil. By this point, the owner is looking at a massive repair bill. To prevent the “burning oil leak,” owners should check their oil levels regularly. A dropping level with no trace of an oil puddle on the ground may indicate this problem.
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