You see it in every parking lot, every street and nearly every driveway— that dreaded black oil stain spot. You don't want to step on it because you know it's leftover oil residue from a leaking car that you don't want on your new carpet. You may even be leaving the spots yourself, however small they may be. After all, what's one drop of oil every one hundred miles? Other than saving the environment, did you know there are other reasons to have those fluid leaks fixed? Some of them may not be quite surprising.
Everyone knows, or at least should know, that oils and other fluids are an important part of keeping your vehicle properly functioning. A leak left unchecked, however small, can add up to a big problem after a few weeks of driving. So vehicle components, in fact, don't have that much oil in the first place. Take a typical power steering system. Most carry two quarts of fluid or less. Being low on half a quart of fluid can leave you with a lot of noise, increased heat and friction, and failure within a month or two.
So what's the solution? You can check the level and keep adding fluid, right?
Sure. A quart of fluid costs less than five dollars depending where you buy it. Sure. It would be beneficial in the long run to fix it, especially if the leak is the result of a bad seal. But what could be a better reason to fix an oil leak other than helping the environment and keeping the components in your car properly lubricated?
Want a hint?
There have been many documented cases of a fluid leak, even a small one, getting too close to something a little too hot and bursting into flames. Have you ever tried to find an elusive leak on your vehicle? With the engine fan running and high speed driving, a small leak can blow all over the engine compartment. All it takes is for just enough of that fluid to reach the hot exhaust pipe leading from the back or side of your engine to set the whole thing ablaze.
Did you know that the vast majority of the fluids in your vehicle are oils? Most people know about engine oil, but often do not know that fluids in the transmission, power steering system, or axles is really a modified oil. If you did know, great! If you didn't, now you do.
Those who look at the issue of leaking oil from an environmental perspective say the focus should be on oil tanker spills. However, less than 10% of all oil that makes its way into nature and the ocean is from tanker spills. The rest comes from such things as those tiny oil leaks on your car.
Do yourself and the environment a favor: fix fluid leaks. You won't be polluting the waters and putting yourself at risk of fire. You won't have to top off as often, either.