Sleek, stylish, and always ahead of the curve, BMW represents some of the best in German engineering. With intelligent innovations and high-quality systems, driving a BMW is like driving on clouds, no matter the road surface. However, one thing that can bring you down to reality quickly is an oil leak. Oil leaks can affect your BMW’s performance as well as damage your vehicle. In this article, we will take a closer look at the causes, signs, and symptoms of oil leaks and why you should avoid them.

What causes engine oil to leak?

Engine oil leaks can be quite a common occurrence, especially in older vehicles or models that have not been properly maintained. Common causes for engine oil leaks include:


Your engine and its connected systems work very hard day in day out. Over time, this can cause them to become damaged or worn out. Engine parts can break, warp, or wear down, presenting opportunities for oil to leak. Alongside the engine, the oil pan can be another place where damage-related leaks can occur.

Poor Oil

Oil that is a poor quality can also increase the risk of engine oil leaks due to lacking the correct conditioners and additives that are included in high-quality oils. This can reduce engine performance and result in parts wearing down faster.

Cracks in the Cylinder Head

Less common but still possible, a cracked cylinder head can allow oil to seep through your BMW and can also contaminate the coolant system.

Other Causes

Damage to the piston rings, valve seals, and general holes throughout the system can all cause oil leaks. Poor gasket installation can cause this too.

Symptoms of Leaking Engine Oil

There are various symptoms of engine oil leaks, but none should ever be ignored, even if they seem minor.

Oil on the Ground

If you’ve parked your car for a few hours and you notice spots or even a puddle of dark brown/yellow liquid that is slippery to the touch, then you have a clear sign of an oil leak.

Smoking Engine

When leaking oil drips into the exhaust manifold, it will burn, resulting in smoke coming from the engine. This shouldn’t be ignored, as the burning oil can damage your BMW’s oxygen sensors as well as damage the gaskets.

Oil Light

The Illumination of the oil light on your dashboard is a warning that your BMW’s oil levels or pressure are low. This isn’t always a sign of a leak, but it should certainly be investigated none the less.

Overheating Engine

If the oil level drops because of a leak, there won’t be enough to circle your engine correctly and keep it cool and lubricated. This can both cause the engine to overheat as well as parts to seize up.

Burning Oil Smell

A burning oil smell is a clear sign that oil is leaking where it shouldn’t. This can often be accompanied by a sizzling noise, and should be addressed immediately.

Why Avoiding Oil Leaks is a Must

Let’s take a hard look at why it is important to repair oil leaks as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your BMW.

1. Engine Health

Leaking oil can put extra stress upon your engine as well as cause it to underperform. Your engine is the most expensive part of your car to repair or replace. So, risking damage through a neglected problem really isn’t a smart move.

2. Fuel Economy

Leaking oil impacts the performance of your engine. It is highly likely your BMW will no longer be as efficient. This can result in achieving less MPG, and therefore, spending more money filling up at the pumps.

3. Oil

The more oil you lose, the more you have to replace. Having to regularly top up your engine’s oil can get expensive in the long run.

4. Safety

It is your responsibility as a driver to ensure your vehicle is as safe as possible at all times for yourself, you passengers, and those are on the road. It part of the responsibility of a car owner to safeguard fellow drivers and pedestrians around you.

Affordable Repairs

The quicker you respond to a problem, the less it BMW Oil Change will usually cost to repair, as the damage is localized and hasn’t as much time to affect other systems. If you live around the Orange County area, including Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Huntington Beach, and Laguna, you should head on down to Mark Douglas Motorworks for excellent customer service at affordable prices.

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