Offering luxury vehicles with Swedish design concepts, it’s not hard to see why so many of us fall in love with Volvo and their range of exciting yet practical cars. However, something which most definitely is not practical is allowing an oil leak to cause catastrophic engine failure, leaving you without a car and a hefty repair bill. Therefore, as a good driver, it is essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of oil leaks as well as the different problems they can indicate within your beloved Volvo vehicle.
Damaged Piston Rings or Valve Seals
Your Volvo’s engine requires engine oil to circulate around it, to help reduce excess heat, as well as keep its many parts well-lubricated and moving smoothly. This oil is prevented from entering the actual engine chamber itself (which is meant for fuel and air only) by piston rings and valve seals. If these rings or seals become worn, warped, or damaged, it can allow oil to seep into the engine’s combustion chamber.
If oil gets inside the combustion chamber, it will severely impact the ignition process and can cause misfires or ignition that emits an acrid blue-gray smoke. This emission is caused by the engine attempting to burn oil. However, as this leak happens inside your car, you probably won’t notice any visible symptoms, aside from the smoke.
What to Look For
Be attentive to your oil level. If you notice it starting to drop more rapidly with no signs of leaking outside of the car, it is likely your Volvo has an oil leak caused by these failed rings and seals. If left unattended, this type of leak can lead to complete engine failure, as your Volvo is unable to process fuel correctly due to the amount of contamination from oil within the combustion chamber.
Badly Installed Gaskets
If you’re experiencing oil leaks or disappearing oil, i.e, your oil level rapidly dropping with no explanation, and you’ve recently done some DIY work on your car or taken your car to a substandard repair shop, then your Volvo’s oil leak may be caused by badly installed gaskets.
The gaskets are one of the main parts, aside from the seals and valves, and if these are poorly installed, oil leaks are likely. The most common way in which these leaks happen is down to an over-tightened gasket. This tightness puts undue pressure on to the part, partially misshaping it, allowing for oil to seep through the gaps.
This may seem an obvious problem but often holes go unnoticed. If something is leaking, it’s usually because there is a hole somewhere in the system. These holes can occur in the aforementioned gaskets and seals with time and wear. Holes can also appear in your pan lid or oil filter.
If you suspect your Volvo is leaking oil, work your way through these systems, checking for holes or points of stress or weakness. There are liquid sealants that you can use to patch holes, but it is important to note that this is only a temporary measure. Bring your car to a professional Volvo repair shop as soon as possible for a complete repair so the hole doesn’t open up wider in another area.
Cracked Cylinder Head or Engine Block
This is a less common occurrence and cause for an oil leak. This occurs when oil is able to leak into the coolant system. You may discover oil patches on the ground, but this is not always present in this problem. You can confirm a cracked head or block by examining your oil cap and coolant cap. If they are both a muddy brown or smell of oil, then it is likely you have discovered your problem.
If you suspect an oil leak in your Volvo, even if there’s no visual signs of oil spots on the ground, it is important for the health of your engine and systems to seek servicing and repair as soon as possible.
Luckily, if you’re a Volvo driver living in San Antonio or Longhorn, TX, you’re only a short distance away from quality auto repair. Autobahn Automotive Services specializes in European imported cars. With over 40 years of experience, you’ll struggle to find a more knowledgeable team of mechanics. Our repair rates average 35% lower than quotes by other servicers. We consistent have 5-star reviews with our expertise and knowledge base. Call to schedule an appointment or come by for a consultation. We are happy to do a visual inspection and discuss your repair and maintenance needs.