An oil pan gasket leak will put your vehicle's engine in great danger if left unattended. We know this because the oil pan gasket is an important component and works hand-in-hand with your vehicle's engine's oil circulation. The oil pan gasket sits between the engine block and the oil pan.

Oil pan gasket leak

Symptoms of oil pan gasket leak

Oil pan gasket leak[/caption]We know that the oil pan gasket functions as a seal between the engine block and your car's engine's oil pan. The gasket helps keep the oil in place while it circulates from the oil pan into the engine block and then returns.An absence of the oil pan gasket will mean leakage of oil will be preponderant.

Furthermore, this will mean an improper circulation of oil from the oil pan to the engine.As we all know, the oil in a car's engine is as important as blood in a human body. Oil helps to lubricate the moving parts of the vehicle's engine.

The absence of oil in an engine will lead to great friction among the moving part. If continued, it will over time lead to the engine's overheating and, eventually, an engine failure.Therefore, this is why components of an engine that work with oil and its adequate circulation must not be taken lightly.

However, the oil pan is one of the most common places where leaks in an engine occur. The oil pan sits at the bottom of the engine block and serves as a reservoir for the oil.

The oil from the oil pan gains motion when the oil pump pumps oil into the engine pathways under pressure.Failure to detect a leak from the oil pan will make your engine run on low oil, and if it persists, severe damage will be imminent.

What are the causes of an Oil Pan Leak?

As earlier described, the oil in a car's engine can leak. However, the oil pan region is often the most commonplace to have such leaks. The oil pan leak is often caused by two main factors: Impact damage or a worn-out gasket.

Oil pan leak caused by Impact damage

Your vehicle's oil pan is susceptible to leak because of its location at the bottom f the engine block. The impact of bad or bumpy roads will largely affect it, and an impact sustained during an accident.Whether from accidents, or bad road networks, the oil pan's safety should be paramount for a good driver. Drive safely and carefully on bumpy roads.

The worn-out oil pan gasket

Unlike the first damage caused by impact, the wearing out of an oil pan gasket isn't a result of bad driving. Most times, the oil pan gasket wears over time and is simply a direct function of usage.When the oil pan gasket wears, leaks become inevitable, and the gasket that formerly stood as a seal has lost its ability to seal.

This scenario is ideal because the gasket is pretty much a thin sandwich layer sitting between the engine block and the oil pan. When this sandwich gasket layer wears, an unwanted opening pops up, and oil will spill as the engine runs.

5 symptoms of an oil pan gasket leak

What are the symptoms

What are the symptoms of an oil pan gasket leak?[/caption]It should not be a surprise to us when we experience a bad or failing oil pan gasket.Just as we have described, this gasket is often susceptible to wear and tear. This wear happens over time; we only begin to notice it when the wear gets to a level that affects the gasket's functionality.We know that the oil pan gasket functions as a seal between the engine block and the oil pan.

This seal prevents oil from spilling out at this connecting point when oil migrates into the oil pathways.Symptoms of an oil pan gasket leak are essential and must be known by every driver, especially since we know that the engine's health is paramount to us.Let's look at the major symptoms you will find associated with an oil pan gasket leak.

Oil underneath your car

Puddle of oil

Puddle of oil[/caption]Often, this symptom is a clear indication that your gasket is down and in need of a replacement. You would often find a small pond of oil underneath your car's engine on the floor.You can easily see this oil after parking your car for a while. To observe this symptom, you can easily bend over in front of your car to see if you will find any trace of oil on the floor.

You can also probe further to be sure this is an oil pan gasket leak or some other engine component leak.

Decreased oil level

Dipstick oil level

Dipstick oil level[/caption]One significant symptom to look out for is a decrease in your oil level to enhance your leak search further. To do this, you can use a dipstick to check the oil level of your engine's oil.If the oil is low, then you might have a leak present. Ideally, you will have to do a quick search around your car to see any oil trace.

Furthermore, you should also take a look at your oil pan gasket or have a mechanic look at it for you to identify the source of the problem. Your gasket may either be damaged or worn out. If either is the case, you will need to replace it quickly to avoid further damage to other engine parts.

Check Engine Light on your dashboard

Although it may have other functions, this light can also serve as a good indicator or symptom to look out for in the occurrence of an oil leak.In some newer car models, there is a portion or different indicator for the oil light. This light also can come in handy. Once this light pops on, we advise that you park your car and investigate the problem properly before driving further.

Engine overheat

We know from this article's trend that one of the main functions of the oil pan is to move towards the engine's moving parts and lubricate them.However, when the oil pan gasket leaks, a sufficient oil amount will not adequately get to all the engine's moving parts. This shortage of oil means friction among these moving parts will become inevitable.

When this friction occurs, heat, which is a close associate with friction, is generated, and thus, the overall engine's temperature goes up and begins to overheat. Once you notice that the oil pan gasket leak is directly associated with this occurrence, the wise line of action will change the gasket. If your engine continues to run, overheating or a failed gasket will become the smallest problem to you in a very short time.

Smoke from your Engine

Smoke from engine

Smoke from engine[/caption]When oil spills because of the leaky gasket, bluish smoke generates from your engine. This smoke either emits from your exhaust pipe or comes out from the top of the engine itself.This scenario happens because the oil leaked into the exhaust manifold, which is usually hot when the engine is running.

The contact between the oil and the exhaust manifold brings about this rather disturbing smoke.Therefore, do not allow this leak to persist as a continuation of this leak will severely damage some electrical sensors in your car. This damage will happen if the oil eventually leaks onto these sensors.

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How do I fix my oil pan gasket leak?

An oil pan gasket leak is cured by replacing your oil pan gasket or the oil pan entirely. However, there are other ways to handle a leak on your oil pan without going through the rigor of changing or replacing the entire system.

Your Drain plug vs. Oil pan leak

Drain plug

Drain plug[/caption]The oil pan leak may also be associated with a drain plug that you did not properly tighten. As with most engines, the drain plug runs into the oil pan.Whenever the engine oil in a car is being changed, the drain plug is often removed and put back into position. The frequent oil change accompanied by the drain plug's removal can lead to a leak.To fix this, you can tighten your drain plug properly and add a new gasket behind it to further seal the leak. In a more difficult situation, the drain plug may be replaced and, furthermore, the oil pan, depending on the scenario.

How to fix your oil pan gasket leak: Step-by-step guideline

Replacing an oil pan gasket

Ideally, fixing an oil pan will require you to completely replace your oil pan gasket or the oil pan itself.For some vehicles, embarking on this exercise may be a straightforward one, especially if you know your way around with tools. However, replacing your oil pan gasket or oil pan can be an uphill task with other vehicles.Furthermore, with some vehicles, the oil pan's position lies in a convenient zone where you can easily replace it without removing other parts.

Some vehicles will demand that you remove other parts before you can successfully access the oil pan. You may even need to bring down the engine with some vehicles.The complexities and varieties of engine design are why we advise that you consult your car's repair manual and model before you embark on this exercise.Finally, without much ado, let's get into the steps you must take to replace your oil pan gasket or oil pan properly.

Get your vehicle ready

To do this, park your vehicle on a level platform and disconnect the negative battery cable.Furthermore, initiate your brake and choke your rear or back wheels. Afterward, raise your car with the help of a jack and jack stands.

Drain your engine's oil

Draining oil

Draining oil[/caption]Beneath your oil pan, place a bucket or container of your choice and drain the oil. All you have to do is remove the drain plug to initiate oil flow.

Unbolt your oil pan

Find the bolt's locations holding the oil pan in position, then gently remove them one at a time. Do not do this hurriedly; else, you will make a mess.

Uninstall your oil pan

Once you finish removing the bolts, gently bring down the oil pan. If it proves stubborn to come off, gently hit it with a hammer, and it will come off.

Remove your old oil pan gasket

Gently remove the gasket in place and scrape off any debris left off. For the new gasket to function optimally, after removing the old gasket, gently clean the mounting surface.You can clean the mounting surface with the help of a solvent. Cleaning it is necessary for the best performance of the new gasket.

Install your new gasket and oil pan

New oil pan gasket

The new oil pan gasket[/caption]After you must have properly cleaned the surface, gently place the new gasket on the oil pan. Place the pan in position and insert the bolts with your hand.After which, you can further tighten the bolt based on the manufacturer's specifications. Reinstall the drain plug removed and tighten it into position.

Replace the drained engine with fresh oil

Fresh oil

Fresh oil[/caption]At this point, your exercise is almost complete. Begin to unwind by removing the jack and lowering the vehicle down to its original height balance.Furthermore, replace the oil drain with a fresh one to the required measurement. Connect your negative battery cable, and you are good to go.Start your engine and look for oil leaks. We are sure you will find nothing if you did it right!

Oil Pan Gasket Leak Replacement Cost

If you are not comfortable doing the exercise above yourself, please pay a mechanic to get it done for you.We recommend experts such as PartsGeek.com or BuyAutoParts.com with them; you are sure of the best service and best prices.Ideally, replacing a leaky oil pan gasket will cost you something between $300 and $900 for replacement. This price includes both the cost for the parts and the labor cost.However, getting the parts alone should be between $110 and $170. At the same time, the labor cost ranges between $190 and $700.

Key Takeaways

  • The oil in an engine is the vehicle's blood and necessary for the proper running of all the vehicle's moving parts.
  • Oil gotten from the oil pan circulates to the moving part of the engine. The oil pan often sits below the engine block. The seal between the oil pan and the engine block is known as a Gasket or oil pan gasket.
  • The gasket is often susceptible to wear, leading to the leak of oil from the oil pan gasket.
  • The symptoms of an oil pan gasket leak are detailed in this article. Examples of the symptoms include an overheating engine, smoke emanating from the engine, check engine light, a visible puddle of oil, etc.
  • It would be best if you replaced a faulty oil pan gasket. We wrote a step-by-step guide to help you do it yourself. However, if you feel you are not equipped enough to undergo the exercise, you can pay a mechanic to do it for you. Replacement costs are within the article.