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How to Check for Engine Oil Leaks in a Motorcycle?

How to Check for Engine Oil Leaks in a Motorcycle?

How do you check for engine oil leakage? Oil leaks in the engine are a common issue among old motorcycles that can be difficult to find.

Motorcycles are simple machines made up of multiple parts, parts that can become stressed out due to overuse.

The engine's airflow, heat, or vibration can cause the oil to move around. Among the many complications this can cause, oil leakage in the engine is one of them. Since an oil leak can be a cause for concern, it is best to deal with the issue immediately. This article focuses on the causes of engine oil leaks and how to check for the signs.

1. Signs of Engine Oil Leaks

Listed below are several basic signs of engine oil leaks:

  • Puddle of oil under the vehicle
  • Knocking sounds coming from the engine
  • Shallow engine oil level (check light/indicator on the dashboard)
  • Smoke coming out of the exhaust
  • Engine overheating

2.How to Check for Engine Oil Leakage

If you notice oil leaking from the engine, try to find which engine part the oil spill is coming from.

Locating the source of the oil leakage is pretty simple. Follow these tips to identify where your motorcycle is leaking oil:

2.1 Wash/Clean Motorcycle

Sometimes an oil leak is hard to spot due to being covered in grime. Take some time to clean the motorcycle’s exterior, wash off all the dirt using degreasing spray, or wipe the surface using soap or spray.

For Greasy Engine

If you have a greasy engine, use degreasing spray to clean it.

Greasy & Dirty Engine

If there is a lot of grease and dirt, wash the motorcycle’s surface using soap, water, and a brush. Make sure to wipe it dry with a cloth.

After washing, it should be much easier to locate where the leak is coming from.

2.2 Inspect Engine

After cleaning the motorcycle, start the bike and let the engine run. Use the following materials when inspecting the engine::

  • Flashlight
  • Sheet of cardboard
  • Paper towel

While the engine is running, the oil will start to leak out of the damaged part. Use a flashlight to illuminate the parts hidden in the dark. Also, place a sheet of cardboard under the engine so the oil will drip onto the board rather than the floor.

Wrap a paper towel around the engine and secure it in place by applying some tape. The paper towel will absorb some of the leaking oil and allow you to work without it constantly dripping on you.

2.3 Locate Leak

Make sure to turn off and let the engine cool before inspecting where the leak is coming from. Letting the engine cool will prevent excess heat that could cause the leaking oil to spread around.

When you find where the oil leakage is coming from, carefully check the spot to determine the cause.

3. Why Does a Motorcycle Engine Leak?

When checking the condition of your motorcycle’s engine, inspect all of its parts, including the seals, gaskets, filters, pistons, sprockets, etc. There are multiple reasons why a motorcycle engine suffers an oil leak.

3.1 Reasons for Engine Oil Leakage

Reasons for Engine Oil Leakage

Worn or Damaged Seal/Gasket

Several seals or gaskets are built into the engine, including an oil pan gasket, a cylinder head gasket, a crankcase gasket, and a valve cover gasket. Becoming worn down or damaged will prevent the seals/gaskets from stopping oil from leaking out.

Faulty Oil Filters

Oil filters play a vital role in ensuring the engine works properly for a long time. Oil leaks can occur due to the seals around oil filters gradually coming loose over time.

Worn-Out Piston Rings

Worn-out piston rings can result in severe damage to motorcycles and contribute to engine oil leakage.

Cracked Engine Block

The engine overheating could cause the engine block to crack and result in an oil leak.

Faulty Oil Plugs

If you haven’t used your bike to travel a longer route or haven’t done a maintenance check in a while, make sure to check the condition of the oil plugs.

There are also other possible causes that may contribute to oil leakage:

  • Broken oil pan seal
  • Damaged Hoses and tubes
  • Faulty crankshaft seal
  • Excess engine oil
  • Failing filler clipper

4. Dangers of Engine Oil Leaks

It is never a good idea to leave an oil leak alone. Choosing to ignore an oil leak for too long will result in problems for your motorcycle later on. Listed below are the possible dangers of engine oil leaks:

  • Safety Hazard
  • Damaged Engine
  • Causes Pollution

4.1 Safety Hazard

Engine oil is highly flammable, risking the possibility of igniting whether on the road or against your motorcycle’s exterior. !

4.2 Damaged Engine

Oil leaks can cause engine parts to become damaged or weakened, as well as contribute to other mechanical issues. Letting the oil leak grow gradually over time will also slowly destroy the entire engine.

4.3 Causes Pollution

Leaking oil could become mixed with rain or irrigation water that eventually goes into rivers, lakes, or other water supplies. It does not help that oil does not dissolve in water.

Also, an engine suffering from oil leaks may produce smoke that will contribute to air pollution.

Oil leaks can cause severe environmental pollution and are highly toxic to wildlife, plants, and humans.

Related: How Often Should You Take Break During Motorcycle Trip

5. How to Deal with Engine Oil Leakage?

It is possible to deal with engine oil leaks by doing the following tips:

  • Find the spot where the oil is leaking and apply repairs.
  • Regularly ride your motorcycle to prevent clogging and help keep the engine clean.
  • Change out the engine’s oil regularly. Be careful not to tighten oil drain plugs too much.

Related: 10 Signs Your Motorcycle Needs an Oil Change

6. FAQs

6.1 How do I know if my engine is leaking oil?

If your motorcycle engine is leaking oil, you should notice the following symptoms and make sure to resolve the leak issue:

  • Oil pooling under the vehicle/Dark oil puddle
  • Sound/smoke coming from the engine
  • Overheating
  • Low oil level indication
  • Smell of burning

6.2 Will an oil leak damage my engine?

Yes, an Engine oil leak is one of the most common causes of severe engine damage. An engine oil leak may lower the oil level, which can damage the moving parts of your engine.

That's because engine oil provides lubrication for the engine's moving parts. Due to low engine oil parts, friction may lead to excessive parts wear. All of this causes rapid deterioration of the engine, also as expensive damage. It may also lead to loss of control while riding.

6.3 Which is the most common cause of motorcycle engine oil leaks?

The two main reasons for a motorcycle oil leak are faulty gaskets and plugs. The gaskets found on the valve cover, oil pan, crankcase, or cylinder head can cause oil leaks.

The oil leak from the plug includes oil drain plugs, crankcase side plugs, and valve cover plugs. Also, piston rings can cause an oil leak. Make sure to provide regular maintenance for these parts. To check the engine oil leak read the detail described above.

7. Final Thoughts

If you notice something fishy going on under your buddy, make sure to identify and repair leaks.  An oil leak repair can be expensive, so following this guide will help you to identify and resolve the issue in your garage.

When fixing an engine oil leak, you must take your time when looking for and repairing any damage to the engine. You need to visit the mechanic if it feels daunting to fix it on your own and get it fixed. You can also make your motorcycle look good by adding a few parts available at Viking Bags including SADDLEBAGS, FAIRINGS, CRASH BARS, and HANDLEBARS.

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