We all have a cabinet in our kitchen filled with pots and pans. Your vehicle has one very important pan in it as well. The oil pan! Naturally, it's the pan that holds oil for your engine.
The oil pan is a very important component of your engine's lubrication system and is attached to the bottom of the engine. It is a reservoir for oil that will be circulated throughout the engine to lubricate, clean and cool moving parts. A pump forces the oil from the pan through a filter to remove dirt and other debris before it circulates through the engine. It's important that the oil doesn't leak out, so there is a gasket between the oil pan and the engine block.
The oil in your engine can get very hot while it’s running. This heat causes your oil pan and engine block to expand at different rates – cushioned by the gasket. Your oil pan can also get hit and damaged by debris kicked up from the road. Wear and tear, heat and time all take their toll, and it's possible for the gasket to wear out which can cause it to leak.
One sign you may have an oil pan gasket leak is a spot of oil visible under your vehicle where you park. If the leak is bad enough and your engine has lost enough oil, the oil light in your vehicle may illuminate. Your vehicle may also overheat. Along with coolant, motor oil helps keep the engine cool by reducing friction and heat. If oil levels have dropped, the engine will have difficulty preventing heat produced by friction, resulting in an overheated engine. The most common sign that the oil pan gasket has failed is black smoke coming from under the hood. The smoke produced is a result of oil dripping onto the exhaust manifold.
Let your Service Advisor know if you are experiencing any of these signs. They can cause serious and permanent damage to the engine that may lead to replacement or extensive repairs.
The life of your engine may depend on it.
Old Town Automotive <br/>707.443-4556 <br/>www.oldtownauto.com
Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant