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Engine oil leak repair cost: How much is it? 

  • Cars Explained
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 11 minutes

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How’d you feel when you see oily marks in the driveway or a burning odor and smoke coming from your engine? Or the oil light on your car’s dashboard flickering on and off? Yes, your car has an engine oil leak. It isn’t an issue that you can ignore but indicates an issue that you can’t afford to ignore. It’s also time to worry about the engine oil leak repair costs! 


Ignoring engine oil leak repairs can result in issues like overheating on the side of the road or substantial engine damage later. Also, when you observe an oil leak, your heart may stop for a second as you think of how much the engine oil leak repair cost will be. After all, the engine is one of the most costly parts to repair. 

Here are all the details on engine oil leak symptoms and the repair cost! 

What is engine oil? 

It is a lubricant that helps in the lubrication of moving engine parts, thereby reducing friction. It also cleans and avoids dirt in the engine. You need to check your car’s service manual to figure out when to change the oil. Ideally, most drivers change their car’s engine oil every 12 months or 15,000 miles. The oil dipstick can help you ensure that you have enough engine oil.  

Know why do cars need oil! 

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Types of engine oil 

  • Conventional oil 
  • Synthetic oil 
  • Synthetic oil blends 
  • High mileage oil 

How much does an engine oil leak repair cost? 

Repairing an oil leak might range from $100 to $2,000 or more. The high rate is due to the many different sources of an oil leak and the location of the leak. Also, the type of car you drive has an important impact on engine oil leak repair costs. 

Labor costs will be additional, and various little seals on top can cost anywhere between $10 and $30. These are the most common oil leak repairs and the estimated costs. 

Repair  Estimated costs 
Exchanging an oil drain plug gasket   $35-45 
Replacing a new oil filter  $30-70 
Repairing gasket damage  $85-$200 
Repairing an oil pan  $100-$500 

You’ll most likely need several engine part repairs if you regularly drive a car with oil leaks. It can be very costly than a simple oil leak repair. To avoid higher engine oil leak repair costs, you must act quickly after discovering the oil leak. 

Factors affecting engine oil leak repair cost 

  • Oil leak’s location 
  • The real source of the leak 
  • Type of car you own 
  • Your car’s engine type 
  • Labor costs 

How serious is an engine oil leak? 

Oil leaks can damage your car’s engine, radiator, heating, and cooling system and harm the environment. If not properly maintained, the rubber hoses and seals used in these parts get damaged by accumulated oil and worn out early. Oil leakage also poses a risk of fire and safety. 

Can you drive a car with an engine oil leak? 

An oil leak can be dangerous since it can result in a fire. Eventually, an oil leak will lead to early engine damage if you don’t fix the leak right away.  

What causes an engine oil leak? 

These are the main factors that cause oil leaks in your car’s engine.  

Degradation of oil filter 

Oil filter causes a significant majority of oil leaks. The leak can happen as the housing itself can be broken. Though rare, it can happen at times. Internal engine pressure can also force it to loosen with time, but only if it wasn’t on tight enough to begin with. 

It’s also possible to tighten the oil filter, which can cause damage to the gasket. Also, oil leakage can happen if the old gasket sticks to the engine during the replacement. An oil filter is essential to keep pollutants from entering the engine oil and causing damage. So it is crucial to change the filter at regular intervals. Still, chances are there you can receive a malfunctioning one. 

A blown gasket 

Gaskets maintain fluids in their right places in the engine. Also, gaskets control where oil flows as it travels through the engine. But gaskets do have a finite lifespan, typically about 200,000 miles. So the gasket starts wearying with time, making it hard for the oil to leak through. 

A broken oil filler cap 

Did you see oil puddles form rapidly near the engine or under your car? Then the issue will be with the oil filler cap attached to the valve cover. The filler cap might easily break or become loose after covering a good distance. It can also happen if the mechanic forgot to replace the oil filler cap on service completion. But, again, it is an issue that you can fix easily.  

Excess quantity of oil  


A tiny error can cause the leak if you just filled up the oil. For example, you may have poured too much oil while filling up during the oil change. All you should do is remove the excess oil in this situation. 

Crankshaft seal failure 

The crankshaft may be seen projecting slightly at both ends of the motor. There are seals at these mounting places that prevent the oil from leaking out of the motor. You can see front and rear seals on the crankshaft. You can find oil leakage towards the front of the motor, which is visible through the belt if the front crankshaft seal leaks. There will be oil between the engine and transmission if the issue is with the rear crankshaft seal. 

What are the symptoms of an engine oil leak? 

Knowing in detail about the symptoms of an oil leak can help you reduce the engine oil leak repair cost. The earlier you diagnose it, the more you save on repair costs! 

Dark puddles underneath your car 

Inspect if there are any dark brown or yellow puddles when you drive out of your driveway or parking place. Place a cardboard piece or plastic plate beneath your car when you park if you don’t have a designated parking spot. By doing this, you’ll know that the leak is originating from your car and not someone else’s. If your oil pan leaks, it will spill directly onto the pavement, potentially causing oil pressure and level problems. 

Smoke coming out from the engine 

If oil drips into the exhaust manifold, smoke will start coming out from the engine area. In addition, the leaking oil can harm the oxygen sensors or cause the gaskets to fail if you neglect this issue for long. 

Dashboard oil light starts flickering 

The oil light on the car’s dashboard is a warning that you should not ignore. It will notify you if the oil level or pressure is lower than normal. Even if this does not always mean there is a leak, it does require more inspection. 

Overheating of the engine 

Engine oil is vital for maintaining the engine’s temperature. It keeps the pistons lubricated and ensures that they slide smoothly within their housing. The pistons will grind against other engine elements without sufficient lubrication, producing a lot of heat and perhaps causing your engine to lock up and stall. The engine might overheat when an oil leak happens and if the oil level falls too low. 

Burning oil smell 


You’ll likely smell burning oil and hear a sizzling if oil is leaking onto the hot metal parts of your engine. The sizzle happens when it comes into touch with the hot engine. You may have an oil leak if you notice a foul odor that is thick and bitter and the sound of bacon frying beneath the hood. 

Do you want to know why your car is burning oil? Here’s more info!

Ways to fix an engine oil leak 

Once your car starts showing symptoms of an oil leak, you need to fix the issue at the earliest. The longer you wait to repair, the higher the engine oil leak repair cost. These are the steps to follow for doing the fix.  

Determine the primary cause 

man examining engine oil leak

Many factors lead to an oil leakage in your car. So, it’s very important to identify the root cause of the leakage. Begin by inspecting beneath the car and inspecting the seals. You need to also check whether the installation of the oil pan plug is proper. If you’re driving an older car, various oil leaks may have compounded into a bigger issue. 

Use of an additive 

Depending on the situation, an oil leak additive may be effective. An additive softens and conditions rubber seals, making them more flexible and allowing for greater retention. But additives may take some time to fully activate. Therefore, you should use this method only if the leak is minor and you have some extra time. 

Refer to the service manual 

It’s critical to refer to your car’s service manual before trying to repair the oil leak. You may find that the repair is simple enough to complete at home in some circumstances. However, in other instances, the repair may be too difficult for you to complete on your own. In these situations, it’s important to seek professional help. 

Start repairing 

You’ll need some tools like a floor jack, jack stands, and a torque wrench for many of the simplest fixes. Before you begin, double-check that you have all of the necessary tools. If you’re securing any bolts, you need to torque them according to the factory specs. Refer to your service manual throughout the repair. 

Go for a test drive 

Lastly, you need to go for a test drive to ensure the issue got resolved. Inspect the oil level and add more if required. Then start the engine and open the hood. When the car is running, inspect the engine to see whether there’s leakage. You can move your car slightly after running for a short period. 

Look for any new oil accumulated in your work area. You must continue to work on the leakage if oil is still present. Otherwise, it’s time to take your car for a test drive to make sure everything is working fine. Remember that maintenance is always preferable to repair and incurring engine oil leak repair costs. You’ll have to deal less with oil leaks if you take care of your engine. 

What is the benefit of fixing an engine oil leak? 

Fixing an oil leak at the earliest will protect your engine. It will also help you avoid other smaller damages, such as internal parts that utilize oil for lubrication or gear wear, among other things. 

How long will it take to fix an oil leak? 

Depending on the mechanic, fixing the oil pan gasket can take between 1-2 hours. It may take around six hours if you’re trying to fix it yourself. 

How long can I drive my car with an oil leak? 

It’s not good to drive long distances if your car has an oil leak. However, it is safe to drive a maximum distance of 10 miles, and you can repair within that distance. 

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Is it worth fixing an engine oil leak? 

Yes. Oil leaks lead to low oil levels, one of the best ways to damage an engine, resulting in a significantly higher repair bill. Oil leaks may be so damaging that repairing them at the earliest is always worthwhile to keep your car running and avoid any complications. 

Tips to avoid oil leaks 

Follow these steps to get rid of hefty engine oil leak repair costs.  

  • It’s important to stick to your car’s maintenance schedule. 
  • You should use the most protective engine oil compatible with your car. Start using high mileage oil after 75,000 miles. 
  • Change your car’s engine oil as recommended in the service manual. 

Save on your car's engine oil leak repair cost

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