Things To Do When Your Engine Is Losing Oil - Service Information at Mike Shaw Subaru

As the engine in your car ages, the various seals and gaskets can become dry and brittle, and prone to cracking and leaking. Eventually, many vehicles end up with a mild oil leak. Oil can slowly seep out around gaskets, drip out of the oil pan or even leak into the combustion chambers where it burns up.

If your car is losing oil, visit the Mike Shaw Subaru service center. Depending on how big the oil leak is and where its located, we may recommend a repair to fix the problem once and for all -- or we may suggest simply living with the problem, maintaining your engine properly so it doesn't get any worse, and adding oil to the engine as needed to keep it running smoothly. If your engine has served you for hundreds of thousands of miles already, this might be the more practical solution as you begin to consider a new Subaru to replace your aging vehicle. At Mike Shaw Subaru, we strive to make buying, owning and maintaining a Subaru as affordable as possible. Here are four things to consider if your car's been losing some oil.

A blue-grey smoke coming from the tailpipe often indicates bad piston rings or valve seals, leading to engine oil consumption

4. Check For Smoke

If your engine is burning an excessive amount of oil, it'll create a tremendous cloud of bluish-grey smoke periodically as you drive. Oil that gets into the engine's combustion chambers will burn up in the engine and then get sent through the exhaust, which can cause the catalytic converter to fail. This is an important part of your car's anti-pollution system which most cars are required to have, and it can be expensive to repair. If your car is belching blue smoke from the exhaust, it might be burning too much oil. Visit Mike Shaw Subaru to have a technician take a closer look at your engine.

Because oil is so slick and viscous, even small engine oil leaks can be easy to spot, as they leave big-time puddles

3. Check For Leaks

If your car has been losing oil, be sure to check for leaks under the front of the car. You might also check under the hood, especially if you detect a burning smell -- that could be oil leaking out of the top of the engine, then dripping onto a hot component of the engine where it burns. You'll want to know how bad the oil leak is, and where it's coming from. At Mike Shaw Subaru, we can replace leaking seals and gaskets to stop the engine from leaking oil. Or, if it makes more sense with your budget, we can help you add oil to the engine periodically. If your engine has only a small leak, the most practical solution might be to add a quart of oil every so often.

2. Check The Oil Level Regularly

If your car's engine loses a little bit of oil over time, but otherwise runs well, it's important to avoid oil starvation. If too much oil leaks out of the engine, and there's not enough left inside to coat all the moving metal parts, you'll get excess friction and heat build-up. This can damage piston rings, valve seals, bearings and so much more. To avoid this problem, you'll either need the engine oil leak fixed for good, or you'll need to top off the engine with fresh oil as needed. That's something we'll happily take care of for you in our service center. Or, do it yourself!

Using a large, plastic funnel to keep things tidy, a technician adds oil to this vehicle's engine

1. Add Oil To The Engine Periodically

If your car suffers from a slow, mild oil leak or oil burning issue, we may recommend that you simply top up the engine oil from time to time, instead of a costly engine rebuild service. As long as you're only adding a little more oil to the engine, you won't need any special tools. Just a funnel and a quart of the right oil for your car.

To begin, park the car on a level surface, allow the engine to cool down, wipe down the dipstick, then check the oil level. If it's noticeably below the MAX line on the dipstick, it's a good idea to add some oil. Your owner's manual will tell you the difference in oil between the MIN and MAX lines on the dipstick, so you know how much to add. Just find the oil filler cap and pour the oil right on in. Be careful, be conservative, and make sure not to overfill the engine. Then, use the dipstick to test your work after giving the oil a few minutes to trickle down into the engine. If the oil level is back up to the MAX line, you're all set.

For a little extra help with this, feel free to give one of our friendly service advisors a call at Mike Shaw Subaru. We're always glad to help!

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  1. Mike Shaw Subaru

    1650 W 104th Avenue
    Thornton, CO 80234

    • Sales: (888) 472-4482

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Mike Shaw Subaru

1650 W 104th Avenue
Directions Thornton, CO 80234

  • Sales: 720-724-9280
  • Service: 303-729-2683
  • Parts: 720-728-0862