Main Reasons for Engine Oil Leaks in BMW
If you drive a BMW, then chances are you’re aware of how privileged and fortunate you are to enjoy such a fantastically designed machine. However, the reality is, even the most well-designed machines run into problems occasionally. It’s unusual that BMWs encounter performance issues, but on the occasion that they do, it’s important to remain vigilant, informed, and proactive.
One issue that BMWs encounter, like many other vehicles, is engine oil leaks. Engine oil is one of the most critical elements of your vehicle and its functioning, and if oil begins to leak it can cause serious performance deficits – even engine failure if the problem persists without remedy. If you’re uncertain of what causes engine oil leaks and you’re concerned about your BMW, this article can help put your mind at ease by giving you some baseline of information.
Why is Your BMW’s Engine Oil So Crucial?
Engine oil is like the blood that runs through your car’s veins keeping it alive. Engine oil is responsible for lubricating the various components of your engine so that they can all move seamlessly and smoothly, without causing excessive friction, heat, and therefore part breakdown. When engine oil leaks or begins running low, it can cause excessive friction amongst engine components leading to corrosion and fine debris buildup due to tiny metal shavings, which further contaminate the oil and corrode the parts. This must be avoided at all costs, which is where engine oil care comes in (we’ll get to that later).
Main Reasons for Engine Oil Leaks
Some of the causes of engine oil leaks are benign and rather simple to fix; others, however, may require some extensive repair work that won’t be a total picnic. What brings these factors into play may depend on a few factors, including:
- The age of your BMW
- Your BMW’s mileage
- The quality and consistency of oil care
- The type of oil you use (should be recommended by the BMW manufacturer)
- Driving habits
- Driving conditions
- Pre-existing issues that were never addressed
Here are some of the most common reasons for engine oil leaks to occur, which can be due to any of the aforementioned factors:
Damaged or aged seals
The pressurized system that houses your engine oil has gaps in it that are filled with valves or seals. If these components become damaged or too worn, they can cause oil to exit the system. Furthermore, if a seal becomes damaged it releases the vital pressure from the system, which inhibits the flow of oil to the necessary components.
Damaged oil pan
It’s happened to the best of us, and it likely won’t be the last time. Damaged oil pans usually occur when you get into an auto accident or when you run over a piece of debris in the road. Since the oil pan faces the ground, it is highly vulnerable to punctures and damages. Oil pans often must be replaced if they are damaged, so it’s best to be cautious, avoid road obstacles, and keep your car as high off the ground as possible.
Untightened oil filler cap
Sometimes simple mistakes occur during the process of oil changes – particularly if the professional handling the oil change is inexperienced with BMW vehicles or they are simply rushing the job. While it’s normal for a bit of oil to make its way to the concrete after an oil change, sometimes leaks are due to an untightened filler cap.
The Importance of Ongoing Engine Oil Care
Simply taking proper care of the oil and the oil system can largely prevent engine oil leaks. Here are some tips for ongoing maintenance:
- Routinely inspect the quality, clarity, and fullness of oil.
- Change oil as required or recommended by your owner’s manual.
- Collaborate with a BMW expert on what types of oil and oil filters are best for your vehicle and driving habits.
- Never skip an oil change.
- Always change the oil filter with each oil change.
- Report leaks or other troubling oil-related symptoms to your automotive specialist right away for an accurate diagnosis and treatment protocol.
The BMW professionals here at Pete’s Auto Repair take pride in every automotive maintenance and repair task, and we know the importance of basic oil care. BMW drivers from all over Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, and San Francisco, CA, have given us the privilege of attending to their car’s ongoing care, and it is our pleasure and passion to do so. To schedule an oil change, inspection, or diagnostic procedure, please contact one of our BMW specialists today.
* BMW M2 image credit goes to: teddyleung.