Is An Engine Oil Leak Dangerous?

Wednesday 8th November 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Oil leaking out of a car

CONTENTS

A small puddle of oil underneath your car could indicate a big problem. Aside from having the issue rectified, you must also bring in oil spill clean up professionals to deal with the engine oil leak immediately to protect people's health and minimise damage to the environment. 

At ICE Cleaning, we offer a thorough, effective oil spill cleaning service. Our technicians are fully permitted to both handle and discard of oil, and can clean up surface and water oil spills. Whether it's engine oil, hydraulic oil, petrol, or diesel, we can take care of it. 

Continue reading to find out the dangers of your car leaking oil and what you should do if there is a spill. 

What causes an engine oil leak?

  • Worn out gaskets and seals: Gaskets and seals are essential for keeping your engine's oil contained. They work under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure, which can lead to them becoming worn over time. Regular checks help spot early signs of wear.
  • Damaged oil pan: The bottom of a car often experiences a lot of wear-and-tear from debris on roads causing oil pan damage. This harsh treatment might result in holes through which the oil can leak out.
  • Overtightened drain plug: The drain plug needs just the right amount of tightness - not too loose that it allows leakage but not too tight as it may strip its threads, leading to an oil spillage.

You can find out more about the different kinds of oils that can leak from your car and what causes these leaks here

What are the dangers of an engine oil leak?

An engine oil leak is not just a messy inconvenience. First and foremost, leaked oil can be detrimental to your car's health. It may lead to poor lubrication within the engine, which could cause parts to wear out faster and ultimately result in expensive damage.

Leaking engine oil is a health risk, too. Exposure can lead to a range of health problems from skin dermatitis to skin cancer. It can even be a fire hazard. Oil has a high flash point so it can ignite easily if a spark or flame is present. 

The slippery nature of motor oils means that if they get onto your tyres or brakes, this could potentially affect vehicle control, leading to dangerous situations on the road.

Oil spills can also have an environmental impact. Spilled engine oil can seep into soil and water systems, affecting local water supplies and harming wildlife.

Adequate levels of clean engine oil are vital for maintaining a healthy running car, as well, because it helps reduce friction between moving parts inside the machine. When you have an active leak, however, levels drop and dirt accumulates more easily, accelerating component wear while reducing performance over time.

What to do after an engine oil leak

It's essential to act promptly after you spot oil leaking from your car as delaying may lead to damage and put people's health at risk. If a spill occurs in your home, such as on the driveway or in the garage, isolate the vehicle immediately. This action prevents further leakage and potential contamination of your surroundings.

Next, bring in professional cleaners to tackle the oil spill. If you attempt to clean it up yourself without sufficient training and the right equipment, you could ineffectively clean up the oil and leave traces of it behind. You will also be exposed to the oil while cleaning it, endangering your health. 

Professional cleaners have the extensive experience and specialised equipment to quickly and thoroughly clean up the spill. They will ensure proper disposal of the oil and waste following environmental regulations, too.

You can find out what to do if an engine oil spill occurs in the workplace in this blog

How to prevent engine oil leaks

Maintaining the soundness of your vehicle is essential for avoiding engine oil leaks. To ensure engine oil leaks are avoided, regular checks and maintenance should be performed in addition to other preventative measures.

Carry out maintenance regularly: Routine vehicle servicing, including changing the oil and replacing filters, can help detect early signs of wear that could lead to a leak. Make sure mechanics use high-quality seals when carrying out repairs.

Monitor oil levels consistently: A sudden drop in your vehicle's oil level might be an indicator of a leak. Keep an eye on it regularly using the dipstick method or dashboard indicators where available.

Avoid harsh driving conditions: Tough driving conditions like off-roading or overloading your vehicle put additional strain on components which may result in damage leading to potential leaks.

Contact us today

Our technicians are available nationwide, 24/7, 365 days a year. If it's an emergency, we can be on site within several hours. 

Get in touch with our friendly team on enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk or 0208 066 0360 to find out more about our oil spill clean up services

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Melissa Harrison

Melissa Harrison

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