Reasons why Engine May be Low on Oil - Service Information to Know from Hanson KIA

April 9, 2019

Unless you're driving an all-electric vehicle like the Kia Soul EV, your car needs oil to function. If the oil levels are low, the oil won't be able to properly lubricate the engine. This could lead to massive engine damage. It's a good idea to regularly check your engine oil levels. After all, the oil is in a closed system, so low levels are a sign that something isn't as it should be. If the oil in your vehicle's engine is low, here are five possible causes.

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5. The Oil Pan Is Leaking

The oil pan often does a pretty good job of letting you know that it's leaking. In addition to low oil levels, it will often leave a puddle of oil underneath your parked vehicle. This is because the oil pan is where the oil rests when the engine is turned off. If it has a leak, the oil will escape and fall onto the pavement. The good news is that this is a relatively easy problem to fix, and often requires replacing either the gasket or the oil pan itself.

4. The Oil Is Leaking from Somewhere Else

Unfortunately, the oil pan isn't the only place where a leak can develop. Unlike oil pan leaks, leaks from elsewhere in the engine may not even leave a telltale puddle. If the oil lands on your engine, it can congeal instead of making a puddle. Because pinpointing the source of an oil leak isn't easy, technicians will generally rely on a dye leak test to find the source of the problem.

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3. A PCV Valve Is Bad

If oil isn't leaking, but the levels are still low, it's likely being burned up in the engine. One potential cause of this problem is a faulty Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve, known as a PCV valve. This valve lets air escape, releasing pressure from the crankcase. If the PCV valve has been damaged or worn out, the pressure could cause the oil to get into the combustion chambers and burn up there.

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2. Bad Intake or Exhaust Valves

These dual valves are crucial to your engine's functioning. The intake valve lets the fuel and air combination to enter the cylinders of your engine, where it will be combusted. The combustion process produces exhaust that needs to exit the cylinder, and that's what the exhaust valves do. If these valves are worn out, oil can leak through them and get into the cylinders, where it can burn up.

1. The Piston Rings Are Bad

The piston rings keep a tight seal as the piston moves up and down the cylinder. If these rings get worn out, the seal may not be as tight, and oil can leak into the cylinders. Piston rings are long-lasting parts, so worn piston rings might be a sign that your engine is nearing the end of its lifespan (or is in need of a serious rebuild).

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  1. Hanson Kia

    2300 Carriage Loop SW
    Olympia, WA 98502

    • Sales: (877) 816-5820

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Hanson Kia

2300 Carriage Loop SW
Directions Olympia, WA 98502

  • Sales: (360) 339-5079
  • Service: (360) 339-5079
  • Parts: (360) 339-5079


  • Monday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Tuesday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Wednesday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Thursday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Friday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Saturday 7:30AM-6:00 PM
  • Sunday Closed