An oil leak at the top of the engine, along the sides, or making a puddle under your car are signs that the oil filter housing could be leaking. To see if your car or truck’s oil filter housing has a leak, check out these tips and instructions to fix it yourself and learn more about diagnosing oil leaks with this article and video.
How to Fix an Oil Filter Housing That Has a Leak
If your oil filter housing is leaking oil, here’s how to fix it.
Steps to inspect an oil filter housing leaking oil
- Check the Oil Level
A low oil level is one sign of an oil leak.
General Steps to Check the Engine Oil
– You can check the oil level of many vehicles that are equipped with an oil dipstick. With the engine cold and the vehicle parked on a level surface for a more accurate reading, remove the oil dipstick and wipe it clean with a cloth rag.
– Reinsert the dipstick into the oil dipstick tube. Remove the oil level dipstick. The oil level should measure somewhere between the two markings on the dipstick. If the measurement is below the two markings, you can add a quart of oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. You can tell if you need more than one quart by adding oil and taking another measurement. If the measurement falls below the two markings after adding a quart, you’ll know the engine needs one more quart or more depending on future measurements.
You’ll need to have the proper oil level to diagnose this problem and not end up with more, like a rod knock.
How-to Video: How to Check the Oil of a 2008 to 2019 Ford F-150
How-to Video: How to Change Engine Oil on Any Vehicle
Read: How Often Should You Change Your Oil?
- Check for Oil Leaks on the Top and Sides of the Engine & the Bell Housing
Check for any signs of an oil leak on top of the engine, which can be a symptom of a problem like blow-by. Look for an indication of a large oil leak with a flashlight.
The oil filter housing featured in this article’s featured video above at 2:20 is on a block mounted to the top of the engine block. The housing has small O-ring gaskets that can leak oil.
Check along the engine block for leaks. Oil leaking from the housing can stain down the engine.
Check the back of the bell housing. You may think an oil leak from this area is from a bad valve gasket, but it could be the oil filter housing leaking. If you find a lot of oil covering the area, that’s a sign of a major leak and needs to be fixed as soon as possible. If this is the case, you can wash the oil off and with the proper amount of oil in the engine, try to run the car, and see if you can find the oil leak.
More on how to clean an engine bay
Check all of the angles of the engine to see if oil is leaking from a part like a gasket. In our example the top of the bell housing was covered in oil and dripping. A rear main seal could cause this large of a leak, but it wouldn’t leak engine oil on top of the bell housing. You could find an oil leak on the outside of the bell housing at the bottom, but this is because it has drains so oil can escape in the case of internal leaks. With this kind of leak, it could be the valve cover or the oil filter housing.
More on how to fix a valve cover leak
Removing the parts like upper intake plenum and some fuel lines will allow you to see the oil filter housing mounted to the top of the block. After removing and disconnecting all of the parts, oil sitting on top of the engine block is a sign oil is leaking from the oil filter housing O-ring gaskets. The gaskets can crush and flatten over time, leading to oil leaks.
- Look Underneath the Vehicle for Oil Leak Puddles
Check underneath the vehicle for puddles of oil collected on the ground. If the oil filter housing has an oil leak, oil will drip down to the ground and form over time while the vehicle is parked.
- Check for OBD-II Codes with a Scan Tool If the Check Engine Light Is On
If the check engine light is on, search for OBD-II codes with a scan tool to see if any are related to the oil filter housing. The code that appeared in this example was P06DD, which is a code related to Chrysler for low oil pressure. An oil leak from the engine oil filter housing could trigger this code.
What Is OBD II and How Does It Work?
How to Use an OBD2 Scan Tool (Car Tester)
Why Is My Service Engine Soon Light On?
How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Oil Filter Housing?
Replacing an oil filter housing can cost up to $2,000 at a professional mechanic repair shop.
Replacing an oil filter housing yourself as a DIY repair will likely cost around $400.
How Long Will It Take to Replace an Oil Filter Housing Myself?
Replacing an oil filter housing yourself as a DIY repair can last from around 3 to 4 hours.
We recommend replacing the upper and lower intake plenum gaskets at the same time.
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