How much does it cost to repair my car’s oil leak?

Cost to repair oil leak in car

Published on Wednesday, 04 August 2021 at 00:00

How much does it cost to repair my car’s oil leak?

Matilda Douglas-Henry

Oil is quite literally the fuel that keeps vehicles up and running, and an oil leak can have grave consequences for your car. Not only can a leak create serious structural damage, it can also be quite difficult to locate precisely where in the engine the leak is coming from. These are just some of the reasons that repairing an oil leak is a complex and potentially pricey business. Below we will break down everything you need to consider when it comes to oil leak repairs, including:

  1. Why your car is leaking oil
  2. How to identify an oil leak
  3. The repairs that will be carried out to fix an oil leak
  4. How much oil leak repairs cost, and how to save money on them

Why is my car leaking oil?

There are many reasons that your car’s engine might be leaking oil. Here are some of the most common:

A failed gasket occurs when the gasket—the rubber/plastic sealant that keeps the oil inside the engine—wears down, which naturally occurs over time. While some gaskets are very easy to replace others are less so; depending on the make and model of your vehicle major parts of the engine may have to be dismantled as well.

Most engines are fitted out with drain plugs on the oil pan that make regular oil changes a straightforward task. Because they are regularly removed, however, dirt and debris can easily interfere with the thread, making a stripped or leaking drain plug another frequent instigator of an oil leak.

A leaking ring or valve seal also causes oil leaks. These are of notable concern because the oil will not explicitly leak outside the engine unless there are holes in your gaskets—an internal oil leak will occur instead, which can often emit thick smoke from your exhaust[1].

And finally, don’t forget to replace your oil filter every time you get your oil changed. A failed oil filter can lead to leaks; so too can a filter that has been replaced but is fitted with the old oil seal[2].

How do I identify an oil leak?

There are a few warning signs of an oil leak that you will easily be able to identify when you start your engine. These are:

-        A burning smell when driving;
-        Power steering/transmission hard to control;
-        More power is required to brake;
-        Fluid dripping from the bottom of your car.

Any liquid leaking from your vehicle typically signals some sort of issue, but your car is home to a variety of different fluids and it’s important to know what’s what. If your car is leaking fluid that is black, amber, or a light or dark brown, that is more often than not an oil leak.

Clear liquid, however, is not a cause for concern: that will often appear under your vehicle if you’ve been running the air conditioning. Other fluids of note are green/blue (leaking cooling system) and pink/red (leaking cooling system on newer cars, or a power steering/automatic transmission leak).

What repairs are needed to fix an oil leak?

There are a suite of procedures that may need to be carried out to repair an oil leak, the most common of which are outlined below:

-        Replacing a gasket plug;
-        Removing an incorrectly fitted oil filter and putting a new one in its place;
-        Replacing a corroded cooler line;
-        Repairing a damaged gasket, piston, or oil pan[3].

How much do oil leak repairs cost?

Overall, oil leak repairs cost between $250 and $1,000, and can increase depending on the complexity of the required repairs. As mentioned earlier, expect to pay a higher price point if major components of the engine or transmission need to be removed to access the leak[4].

Some of the repairs outlined above will be significantly less pricey than others by virtue of cheaper parts/the minimal amount of labour required. Replacing a gasket plug or oil filter, for example, will be a quick and easy fix that will cost somewhere around the low hundreds. Repairing bigger parts, however, will cost in the thousands, and replacing those parts—i.e. the head gasket—will cost upwards of $3,000[5].

Even though the cost of repairs might seem daunting, your technician will carry out a thorough leak inspection, providing you with a detailed report that outlines the work involved and the subsequent costs. They may suggest extra work needs to be done, like a complete oil change, which will up the price. (A standard oil change might cost between $150 to $250[6].)

As far as saving money on oil leak repairs, it’s important to have a preventative approach. Every vehicle is different, but in general you should change your oil once every three months, during which a technician should be able to identify any issues before a leak occurs.


We know that engine issues and oil leaks are a stress for car owners, and we’re here to take the pressure off. Use DingGo’s quick quotes service today.







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