Car Leaking Oil After Oil Change(Causes and Fixes)

For some car owners, changing car oil becomes the bane of their existence. Regardless of the benefits of periodically replacing your car oil, if this activity isn’t done effectively, it gives rise to more problems than it solves. A significant issue people often face after getting their car oil changed is oil leakage from the car.

This guide investigates various causes of oil leakage in the car after an oil change and their fixes. So, without further ado, let’s see why you might have an oil leakage after the engine oil has been changed.

Why Is Your Car Leaking Oil After An Oil Change?

There can be a number of reasons for the leakage of oil from your car after an oil change. It’s crucial for you to be familiar with the possible causes to figure out an optimal fix for the problem. The quicker you act, the more oil spillage you can conserve. We have discussed some of the most common causes of oil leakage after an oil replacement below.

1.    Poorly Fitted Or Broken Gasket

One of the major reasons for oil spillage from your car right after an oil replacement activity is a poorly fitted or broken gasket. Gaskets are used in the oil compartment for pressure tightening, sealing, and leakage prevention. Hence, any misalignment while fitting them after an oil change or damage would result in oil leakage immediately.

Since gaskets and seals tend to degrade over time, it is better to inspect their health each time you change your oil and install new gaskets, as they are not expensive at all.

2.    Broken Or Loose Oil Filter

Improper fitting of the oil filter in the oil compartment would also result in the immediate leakage of oil after an oil change. It is always recommended to ensure that the oil filter is of the right size as recommended by the car manufacturer and that it fits properly.

In order to make sure the oil filter is screwed on enough, once it has been fully tightened with the hand, use a wrench to turn it ¾ past the hand-tightened point. The health of the oil filter is also vital for proper oil sealing. We recommend replacing the oil filter with a new one each time you change your motor oil.

3.    Wrong Or Loose Oil Cap

The component responsible for oil spillage over the engine is the oil cap. It also prevents the fumes of oil from escaping the vehicle. If the oil cap isn’t fitted properly to cover the fill tube, you will experience oil splattering in the car engine resulting in oil leakage. Moreover, during the oil replacement activity, fitting the wrong size oil cap or leaving the cap loose will also cause oil leakages.

This is because, since the oil cap has to be threaded on the fill tube for sealing, improper threading would leave space for oils to spill from. Make sure you use the oil cap with threads recommended by your car manufacturer and that it’s appropriately fitted for air sealing.

4.    Improper Tightening Of The Drain Plug

The oil drain plug is a threaded bolt with a sealing gasket around it. This tiny component in the oil circuit performs a major task. Its function is to prevent any motor oil leakage due to the effects of gravity or the pressure built up inside the crankcase. Any issues with the drain plug would directly result in oil spillage after the oil replacement activity.

Aside from its health, the most common problem associated with the drain plug is its over-tightening or under-tightening. If the drain plug remains under-tightened, it won’t form a proper seal to prevent oil leakage. On the contrary, the over-tightening of the drain plug could damage its gasket, causing gaps that allow the lubricant to pass through.

Ensure the health of the drain plug each time the oil is changed. If it is damaged, replace it with a new one immediately. Replacing its gasket upon each oil change is also a good practice.

5.    Oil Reservoir is Overfilled

Finally, the last common cause of oil leakage after an oil change that many people overlook is the oil reservoir or sump becoming overfilled. If more oil is added to the pool than its maximum capacity, then the excess oil will spill out. Overfilling the reservoir can be harmful to the engine due to foaming and increased pressure, which may end up damaging the oil gaskets.

After the oil replacement activity, make sure you remove the dipstick to measure the level of oil in the sump. If the dipstick indicates the sump being overfilled, remove the access oil from the reservoir to ensure a suitable oil level.

How To Prevent Car Oil Leakage?

We have discussed the potential reasons your car could have an oil leakage problem after an oil change and their immediate fixes. However, there are some techniques you can adopt to prevent such an oil leakage issue from arising.

  • Ensure the best health of various components in the oil circuit, which are critical to preventing oil from spilling out. These components include oil gaskets, filters, caps, and drain plugs. Replace them as per requirement or your car manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Make oil inspection a part of your regular routine. Always be safe than sorry and ensure the health of your engine by inspecting its oil circuit yourself. Use the dipstick to check for the oil level and take corrective actions if the level exceeds or falls below the required limit.
  • Always use the correct type of oil for your car’s engine. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual or ask them directly which brand and weight of motor oil works best for your car engine.

How To Tell If There Is Oil Leakage In Your Car?

Now that you understand, there’s only one missing piece of the puzzle before you become an expert on motor oil. That missing piece is the ability to tell if there’s oil leakage in your car. It may be a piece of cake for experienced car owners. However, if you’re a new driver on the road, we have the perfect guidelines for you.

  • Look for the indicator lights on your car dashboard, which warn of the low levels of oil in the engine. If the Check Engine Lights or Oil Change Lights are on, that could be a sign of a low oil level in the reservoir due to oil leakage.
  • If you notice oil spilling under your car and a puddle of grease or oil on the ground underneath your car, it is a clear sign that oil has been leaking from the sump, and this issue need to be attended to on a priority basis.
  • If you smell oil fumes in your car, it’s another indication of potential oil spillage and needs to be addressed immediately.

Note: If you notice drops of oil spilling underneath your car, it may be due to the residual oil under your vehicle after the oil replacement activity. Such a situation doesn’t call for any alarm as it’s not exactly an oil leakage.


Finally, we conclude our guide on the various common causes of oil leakage after an oil change and their potential solutions. Changing your car’s motor oil periodically is beneficial when it’s done in an efficient way to prevent any oil leakages. Let us know about your feedback and thoughts on the topic in the comments below, and follow us for more automotive guides.






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