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Why you might see oil spots under your car after an oil change

Updated on January 29, 2013
Oil filter placed over crossmember creates a lot to clean up when replaced
Oil filter placed over crossmember creates a lot to clean up when replaced | Source

Have you ever noticed oil spots under your car after an oil change? There are a couple simple explanations that can help create some understanding. So before you run back inside the service facility, consider these factors;

The placement of the oil filter on the engine can create quite a mess. Some vehicles have the oil filter place in a spot that is directly over cross members or other engine components. When the technician removes the oil filter, the oil runs down and pools in a variety of places. No matter how hard a person tries, getting it all cleaned up can be nearly impossible.

Another problem can be where the drain plug is placed. Especially if your vehicle is nice and warmed up, the oil comes out at a very high rate. If the direction of the drain faces steering or suspension parts, a mess is inevitable.

A surprising place that oil will hide in until you start driving is in a wiring harness. If a wire loom is draped across in such a way that it catches oil during the filter replacement, the oil will get inside and come out intermittently as the vehicle moves or sits.

On a lot of newer vehicles, especially on imports, the oil filter is a paper cartridge that is placed at the top side of the motor. Again, trying to clean up all the places the oil runs can be challenging.

Not to make excuses, because if a shop has a lot of time the service can be performed and cleaned up pretty effectively. The problem is, most us want to wait on our oil change and we want it in 10 minutes. We incidentally create the problem by our own demands.

If you have oil on your driveway or in the garage, and you happen to have a cat, -don't eat the cat- keep it around because the kitty litter can help remove the oil. Just put a little on top of the spot and wait. Sweep it up and you'll find most of the spot should be gone.

If you have any question or comments, please feel free to respond!

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