There are going to be several moments in your life when you know your Land Rover is going to need help. An oil leak is one of them. Maybe you noticed a pool of fluid on the concrete floor of your garage as you were pulling out this morning for work. Maybe your beautiful little Calico jumped up in your lap with oily paws, and you backtracked the paw prints all the way to the Land Rover. Maybe there’s no evidence under the car at all; the oil seems to simply disappear and the oil reservoir needs refilled on a regular basis. No matter how you discovered the problem, there is one. Taking immediate action and figuring out what is wrong and where the leak is coming from is a must.
Why? Think of your car like a body. In order to function, a body needs blood pumping through it. Oil is the blood of your car. The heart is the engine. Without oil, the engine suffers and wears down. Eventually, it will begin to grind and then seize up. The head may crack, leaving the engine essentially useless and lifeless. When this occurs, you may have to replace the entire engine to get the car up and running again.
Finding the exact source of the oil leak is essential for this reason. Not sure where to begin? Here’s how to start.
Get the Engine Clean
Like any car parts beneath the bonnet, the engine tends to get dirty from dust and debris it comes in contact with on the road. This can make it difficult for you to see where an oil leak is occurring, so the first thing you need to do is clean it. To do this, you need an engine degreasing fluid and a brush with stiff bristles. Don’t let electrical components come in contact with the fluid or water. Protect them with plastic sheets or bags taped down to prevent leakage.
Use the degreaser as instructed by the manufacturer and brush the engine well to remove dust, dirt and debris. In most cases, you will then hose off the degreaser, revealing a cleaner-looking engine. It may not be completely clean, but it should be clean enough that you can identify the source of any leak.
Follow Up to the Highest Point
With the engine clean, it may be easy to see the oil leak as it is occurring after the engine has been running for a little while. However, don’t be fooled into thinking you know exactly where the leak is simply because of the location of the drip. Oil leaks can be tricky and follow a twisty path from the source. In order to determine exactly where the leak is occurring, always take the time to follow it back to the beginning. This can help save you time and effort in fixing the issue and prevent you from spending money on Land Rover parts you really don’t need.
Common Sources of Oil Leaks
When it comes to Land Rover parts, there are many common areas where oil leaks typically occur. These should always be evaluated first to save you time and effort.
- Timing-Cover Seal- The oil timing-cover seal on the crankshaft-pulley side of your engine may be leaking. In most cases, leaks occur here when the engine is operating quickly, but not so much when you’re idling. To see if this is where the problem is, look for oil spray marks that are in line with the seal. Check for signs of streaks at the lower edge of the seal that run to the sump pan as well. You may also see signs of leakage on the underneath side of the engine. To fix this issue, you must replace the oil seal completely.
- Crankcase Gasket- Another common location for oil leaks in some cars is the crankcase side-cover gasket. This gasket is only present on some vehicles and is very difficult to see because it is hidden by the exhaust or inlet manifold. To test this area for leaks, turn on the engine. While it runs, use a small mirror and a torch to look for oil coming out of the cover. Tightening the cover might help, but you may need to replace the gasket if it doesn’t.
- Cam Cover- Under the cam cover, the moving Land Rover parts may be spraying oil all over the place. To determine if there is a problem here, look at the gasket flange while the engine is running. A sealing problem could cause oil leaks here. Tighten screws or replace the gasket if needed.
- Sump Pan- In order to inspect this car part, you need to be able to get under the vehicle. Run the Land Rover up on ramps and stabilise it so it is safe to be under. Turn on the engine and look for any leaks around the sump pan gasket flange and the drain plug. If you notice a leak around the gasket, you may simply only need to tighten the bolts and nuts to fix it.
- Head Gasket- While the engine is on, look for a leak around the cylinder-head gasket. If there is one present, this means that the passage where oil is supplied by the camshaft is faulty. Tightening of fasteners may be all that’s needed. However, there may be times when the block face, cylinder-head face or head gasket is faulty.
- Distributor Flange- This is a type of mounting flange that is attached to the camshaft or crankcase cover. On some engines, a small O-ring is located over the housing of the flange, while on others there is a small gasket between the flange and the cover. If the connected between the flange and the cover is not tight enough or is worn down, a leak can occur. To fix this, you need to replace the seal or gasket causing the problem.
Want to stop your next oil leak before it turns your Land Rover engine into a ball of useless metal? If you notice any leaks or a shortage of oil, check for leaks at these prime locations and fix the car parts responsible immediately.