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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I just noticed a dark oil leak under my car and I am wondering what the problem could be. I have shot a video of the location of leak on the link below. Any ideas? There are no lights on my instrument cluster, but this could potentially go bad if left unattended.


Last time when there was a small oil leak under the engine compartment, it turned out to be a 2200 USD fix (a clutch needed replacing). Luckily I was still under a comprehensive Volvo motor plan then, so I didn't worry about the cost to fix.

By the looks of things, the oil seems to be leaking directly below the oil filter. Maybe the filter is loose, it just needs to be tightened or it could be another costly fix. Any advise will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Hi Janico

It's tough to see from the video. I would open up the engine hood and shine a bright light from up top. See if there is any oil near the filter...if it's just that it's an easy solution..36mm oil socket wrench.

There is a washer that goes on the filter. If the shop mechanic where you last took the car in for an oil change forgot to put the washer on the filter it could be that or just tighten the filter and see if that helps.

If the place where you last took it for an oil change will take a quick look, call them up and ask what their policy is as far as follow up work.

Keep us posted,

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Janico

It's tough to see from the video. I would open up the engine hood and shine a bright light from up top. See if there is any oil near the filter...if it's just that it's an easy solution..36mm oil socket wrench.

There is a washer that goes on the filter. If the shop mechanic where you last took the car in for an oil change forgot to put the washer on the filter it could be that or just tighten the filter and see if that helps.

If the place where you last took it for an oil change will take a quick look, call them up and ask what their policy is as far as follow up work.

Keep us posted,

Good luck.
Actually the car is three months overdue for its 7th annual service. Reason for that is I never reach the 20000 km/year service interval. I am roughly 13000 km into 20000 km service interval and I was waiting to at least reach 20k km after my last service to get more bang for my money (since my car is out of warranty anyway).

However, I do believe that it is likely that a very dirty oil may cause oil leaks. For example if one of the oil pathways is clogged, it will increase oil circulation pressure and push against the seals and leak. Which ironically is one of the reason I waited for a while after 12 months service interval, since I believe that these dealers may not change a clean oil for example, but charge me for it.

So for the above I have booked the car for service for next week. I doubt driving my usual city short distances until then will cause any major harm.

Now, with my war against less than sincere dealers, I am afraid the guy might change a seal and tighten somewhere but still charge me unreasonably if I go there with no clue what is wrong, and what is required to fix it. Its much nicer when I tell them exactly what I need done, even bring my own parts if possible to curb these huge prices we get charged at the dealers sometimes.

Maybe to assist in diagnosis, there are couple of activities that I have done in the last two weeks which may or may not have bearing on this oil leak which is somewhere around the filter area.

1. I have changed in the last two weeks to 93 instead of 95 octane petrol(South African rating of octane). I have driven a quarter tank with this petrol rating before noticing oil spot on my parking space.

2. I have done a tedious wheel rotation (front to back) using my spare wheel with the jack that is provided with the car. That means at least all four corners of the car were lifted twice high enough to seriously tilt the level of oils in their reservoirs. This was done a week prior to noticing the oil spots.

Given the size of this community here, it is not uncommon for someone to see effect of the same cause:D. Otherwise thanks Highwayman for your input and will see what I find at the dealer next week:)
 

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So you skip on oil changes because it's out of warranty? I can't imagine why you have trouble! You're not getting better bang for your buck, no one goes broke changing their oil on time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So you skip on oil changes because it's out of warranty? I can't imagine why you have trouble! You're not getting better bang for your buck, no one goes broke changing their oil on time.
Not skip, prolong. My reasoning is if the car is really not moving much. What's why remove/replace things that are still good. The car just cover about 200km/ month. Which is just enough to avoid things going bad from it being still for long. Like flat spots on tyres.

I have noticed the oil that is leaking is very dark. Chances are, during my last service, the oil could have been still very clean and they didn't bother to change it.

My skepticism is borne out of last year December before my maintenance went out. I took the car to Volvo dealer for malfunctioning door locks. When I returned the dealer told me he has done some checks and diagnostics and didn't find anything wrong. But my gut feel just told me that absolutely nothing was done. They just parked the car in the back throughout the day and reported that they found nothing when I came to collect it. The problem has since grown from strength to strength.

My suspicion was confirmed when my friend took his car to the same dealer, which apparently the car was there for weeks. N in his case he actually had evidence (just can't remember the exact facts) that nothing was done whereas the dealer claimed otherwise. In general customers are not allowed into the dealers workshop to witness repair work but my in my friends case he actually fought to see progress that they claimed they made.

I admit the place was actually a manhidra/Tata/ citrioen dealer with a small Volvo section and in my opinion they shouldn't be selling expensive cars like Volvo based on their service for starters, among other things that appaulled me there. It was the only Volvo within a 300 km radius. So that's why I went there.
 

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Short trips are far harder on the car and the oil than long ones. That's why your oil is so filthy. That's why there is a time or miles interval. Additionally condensation can mix with the oil over time causing sludge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Short trips are far harder on the car and the oil than long ones. That's why your oil is so filthy. That's why there is a time or miles interval. Additionally condensation can mix with the oil over time causing sludge.
True that short city driving trips can be detrimental to the oil. I agree.

It's a pity that i don't have time and energy to compare the oil sample of now vs 12 after this service. I'm still having a feeling that the oil in my car is over 24 months.
 

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Actually the car is three months overdue for its 7th annual service. Reason for that is I never reach the 20000 km/year service interval. I am roughly 13000 km into 20000 km service interval and I was waiting to at least reach 20k km after my last service to get more bang for my money (since my car is out of warranty anyway).

However, I do believe that it is likely that a very dirty oil may cause oil leaks. For example if one of the oil pathways is clogged, it will increase oil circulation pressure and push against the seals and leak. Which ironically is one of the reason I waited for a while after 12 months service interval, since I believe that these dealers may not change a clean oil for example, but charge me for it.

Given the size of this community here, it is not uncommon for someone to see effect of the same cause:D. Otherwise thanks Highwayman for your input and will see what I find at the dealer next week:)
Ok, glad to offer advice. If what you're seeing looks like engine oil sludge, it may be something to investigate. The next time you take your car to the dealer insist they separate the oil in a container to examine if there is engine oil sludge. If the oil is too thick and dirty that is not good. Always change the oil twice a year even if you don't drive...that insures the oil's viscosity is effective. Old oil will not work as good as fresh oil.

Perhaps ask friends or coworkers with Volvos in your area where is a good Volvo mechanic in your area. If Volvo is rare in your area, finding good service may be your biggest problem.

Make sure the oil used is full synthetic (DO NOT USE CONVENTIONAL OIL GRADE) and change it more frequently the next few times to see if it helps.

If you can after the next oil change take your car out to the highway/expressway. Run the engine to high RPMS...this will help burn up the sludge deposits. A car does not like local only driving. Try to take it out on long drives with occasional turbo boost at least once every week.

Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Actually the car is three months overdue for its 7th annual service. Reason for that is I never reach the 20000 km/year service interval. I am roughly 13000 km into 20000 km service interval and I was waiting to at least reach 20k km after my last service to get more bang for my money (since my car is out of warranty anyway).

However, I do believe that it is likely that a very dirty oil may cause oil leaks. For example if one of the oil pathways is clogged, it will increase oil circulation pressure and push against the seals and leak. Which ironically is one of the reason I waited for a while after 12 months service interval, since I believe that these dealers may not change a clean oil for example, but charge me for it.

Given the size of this community here, it is not uncommon for someone to see effect of the same cause
. Otherwise thanks Highwayman for your input and will see what I find at the dealer next week
Ok, glad to offer advice. If what you're seeing looks like engine oil sludge, it may be something to investigate. The next time you take your car to the dealer insist they separate the oil in a container to examine if there is engine oil sludge. If the oil is too thick and dirty that is not good. Always change the oil twice a year even if you don't drive...that insures the oil's viscosity is effective. Old oil will not work as good as fresh oil.

Perhaps ask friends or coworkers with Volvos in your area where is a good Volvo mechanic in your area. If Volvo is rare in your area, finding good service may be your biggest problem.

Make sure the oil used is full synthetic (DO NOT USE CONVENTIONAL OIL GRADE) and change it more frequently the next few times to see if it helps.

If you can after the next oil change take your car out to the highway/expressway. Run the engine to high RPMS...this will help burn up the sludge deposits. A car does not like local only driving. Try to take it out on long drives with occasional turbo boost at least once every week.

Take care.
Yes, the short trips are definitely having a huge impact on my car. I do mainly these trips so much that the fuel consumption is always above 20 l/100km. A full tank last less than 200km.

This oil sludge story seems to be likely the issue. Will have them diagnose that.

I will definitely be paying more attention to the oil from now on.
 

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Wait, what?? above 20 l/100 km?
That's 11.x mpg. That is insanely low. I think at my worst fill up I got 15.x mpg (15 l/100km). My average short trip mileage is 17.x mpg
If this is the kind of mileage you are getting there is something here at play.
When you say short, how short? Does the engine reach operating temperature? Is it all uphill?
In short that king of fuel consumption is crazy.
 

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Yes, the short trips are definitely having a huge impact on my car. I do mainly these trips so much that the fuel consumption is always above 20 l/100km. A full tank last less than 200km.

This oil sludge story seems to be likely the issue. Will have them diagnose that.

I will definitely be paying more attention to the oil from now on.
The only way for that sludge to clear is change the oil frequency to a minimum of twice per year. It's the single most important thing you can do to help your car.

I got so frustrated with my local dealers I just changed the oil by myself and know it is done right. Filter is a bit tough to reach so you will need an extension with the 36mm socket. It's no fun but at least you'll use quality oil and quality filter such as Mann or K&N.

Good luck with the next oil change....hope it helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wait, what?? above 20 l/100 km?
That's 11.x mpg. That is insanely low. I think at my worst fill up I got 15.x mpg (15 l/100km). My average short trip mileage is 17.x mpg
If this is the kind of mileage you are getting there is something here at play.
When you say short, how short? Does the engine reach operating temperature? Is it all uphill?
In short that king of fuel consumption is crazy.
I doubt that anything is wrong. My previous Chevy Cruze had matching figures.

I drive 5 km to work n 5km back, in an insane traffic with traffic lights all over. The car is actually always accelerating or decelerating. There's hardly anywhere where a steady speed is maintained for more than 2minutes. N in general we are always in a hurry in Johannesburg in the morning and afternoon peak times.

Whenever I'm driving in a weekend for a longer distance with less traffic. It's easy to average close to 8 l/100km and even lower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, the short trips are definitely having a huge impact on my car. I do mainly these trips so much that the fuel consumption is always above 20 l/100km. A full tank last less than 200km.

This oil sludge story seems to be likely the issue. Will have them diagnose that.

I will definitely be paying more attention to the oil from now on.
The only way for that sludge to clear is change the oil frequency to a minimum of twice per year. It's the single most important thing you can do to help your car.

I got so frustrated with my local dealers I just changed the oil by myself and know it is done right. Filter is a bit tough to reach so you will need an extension with the 36mm socket. It's no fun but at least you'll use quality oil and quality filter such as Mann or K&N.

Good luck with the next oil change....hope it helps.
Videos I've seen on YouTube of DIY oil change. It seems the filter housing is visible from the top. On my car I don't see anything from the top, I just saw the filter from under the car above the hose with oil droplets on video. It's a white housing on the video I've uploaded.

Anyways, I'm nowhere near being able to change oil myself. A lot can go wrong. I'm more than happy to pay someone/dealer to do a good job of it☺
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wait, what?? above 20 l/100 km?
That's 11.x mpg. That is insanely low. I think at my worst fill up I got 15.x mpg (15 l/100km). My average short trip mileage is 17.x mpg
If this is the kind of mileage you are getting there is something here at play.
When you say short, how short? Does the engine reach operating temperature? Is it all uphill?
In short that king of fuel consumption is crazy.
I doubt that anything is wrong. My previous Chevy Cruze had matching figures.

I drive 5 km to work n 5km back, in an insane traffic with traffic lights all over. The car is actually always accelerating or decelerating. There's hardly anywhere where a steady speed is maintained for more than 2minutes. N in general we are always in a hurry in Johannesburg in the morning and afternoon peak times.

Whenever I'm driving in a weekend for a longer distance with less traffic. It's easy to average close to 8 l/100km and even lower.
The total trip duration of 5 km is roughly 30minutes. That has been one of my worries that the engine never gets warm enough
 

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Traffic won’t help your oil problem. I strongly advise you to take the car out on a long drive and burn up that sludge. It’s a recipe for really poor fuel efficiency and worse...more wear and tear for your engine. Better to take public transportation or taxi if possible.

I have a cheap Toyota for the commuting and city. Trying to take it on easy on this luxurious Volvo which so darned comfortable it gets too much wear and tear with traffic.
 

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If you've got sludge in the pan because you are going beyond the factory service interval, driving isn't going to "burn it up".

You'd have to try some sort of solvent in the engine for a short amount of time to try to loosen it up and then change the oil and repeat. If its really bad, you'd have to pull the pan and maybe the head.

So no, extending your oil change is not getting more bang for your buck at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Traffic won't help your oil problem. I strongly advise you to take the car out on a long drive and burn up that sludge. It's a recipe for really poor fuel efficiency and worse...more wear and tear for your engine. Better to take public transportation or taxi if possible.

I have a cheap Toyota for the commuting and city. Trying to take it on easy on this luxurious Volvo which so darned comfortable it gets too much wear and tear with traffic.
If you've got sludge in the pan because you are going beyond the factory service interval, driving isn't going to "burn it up".

You'd have to try some sort of solvent in the engine for a short amount of time to try to loosen it up and then change the oil and repeat. If its really bad, you'd have to pull the pan and maybe the head.

So no, extending your oil change is not getting more bang for your buck at all.
Thanks for stressing the importance of fresh oil in the car. I think it is warranted that I ask the dealer to investigate if there is a sludge in there, and start the processes of getting it removed if its there.

I believe it will be also worth my while that I request an oil sample of the oil that is in my car now. To compare it with the one 12 months after (6 months after if there is a sludge now). I think the 6 months (twice/year) oil change interval is popular in colder climate areas and may not be a necessity on warmer areas like South Africa. However, I will evaluate the necessity after the service.

As for the accelerated wear and tear due to much city driving, I will just have to pay a little bit extra on maintenance costs just like everyone else. There's really no short term solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi all,

It seems the leaking oil has stopped. There's no new oil spots on my parking space today. I have been cleaning the leaks on my parking space everyday since last Saturday. Every consecutive day the amount of oil leak is less and less and now I see nothing. On the first day there was at least a teaspoon or two of this oil on the floor.

I think it is possible it only leaked once (maybe due to clogged oil passage and it released) and the oil I was seeing after the first day was just dripping from that single occurrence.

I have a suspicion that the 93 octane (instead of 95) that I used (of about 10 liters for a period of a week)has something to do with this oil leak. Has anyone here ever ran anything other than the highest octane petrol available in their country? and also could there be a possible link between oil leaks and fuel octane used?

I thank you guys for your inputs once again.
 

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Fuel quality would have nothing to do with an oil leak. My suspicion from your pic above was that it was simply a loose oil filter but since your car is past due for service you should bring it in immediately to change the oil and maybe figure out where the oil leak is coming from. Good luck.
 

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Hi all,

It seems the leaking oil has stopped. There's no new oil spots on my parking space today. I have been cleaning the leaks on my parking space everyday since last Saturday. Every consecutive day the amount of oil leak is less and less and now I see nothing. On the first day there was at least a teaspoon or two of this oil on the floor.

I think it is possible it only leaked once (maybe due to clogged oil passage and it released) and the oil I was seeing after the first day was just dripping from that single occurrence.

I have a suspicion that the 93 octane (instead of 95) that I used (of about 10 liters for a period of a week)has something to do with this oil leak. Has anyone here ever ran anything other than the highest octane petrol available in their country? and also could there be a possible link between oil leaks and fuel octane used?

I thank you guys for your inputs once again.
Hi Janico

very good question. I am sure this will generate a lot of controversy and speculation on this. Here's what I think, but of course it's only my opinion, which on the internet is something that may or may not be reliable. I am surprised there was not much interest in your posts. Probably because a lot of people are on vacation, taking their Volvo cars on long highway driving to help the engine. ;)

My take on it is this...using the highest octane rating for these Volvo turbocharged cars may not be necessary...but it may help. The key word being may. It won't hurt, but is it a necessary expense ?..I don't know...so excellent question. Not sure how gasoline quality is in Africa but here in the states we have what's called "Top Tier" suppliers.

"top tier" suppliers such as Exxon/Mobil, Amoco, Shell and Sunoco charge way more for super octane rated 93 here in America...that it seems like they are overcharging. In reality it may or may not help. I could tell you this. For the first 3 years of my ownership my wife only used super and she drove less than me and never had problems from 30K to about 70K when she had the car.

After 70K I took over and started using regular grade 87 octane which raises the combustion these engines produce. I can't say that is why I had an engine problem though. My timing belt skipped and resulted in very expensive damage..totally unrelated to not using super gas, but still was worrisome to me. Using regular grade is ok but it will make the engine work harder...the engine will burn more regular grade gas than super rated 93 Octane. Sunoco used to have a 94 Octane rated gasoline but I can't find it anymore.

Now that my engine is rebuilt I am not taking any chances. I only use super gas from top tier stations and full synthetic motor oil to help my engine work less. Not work too hard, since i now have 110,000 miles. Hope to make it to 200,000 with the new timing belt and rebuilt engine. May one get lucky with regular grade gas. ? ..yes...I think it's all luck.

Good luck sir
 
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