Jeep Leaking Oil: Common Causes & Solutions

Jeep leaking oil

Oh no, you were probably just getting ready for a weekend trail run when you noticed a puddle under your Jeep…

Trust me, I’ve stepped out and wondered why is my Jeep leaking oil?

It seriously sucks, but thankfully I had a few buddies with me to help me figure out what the problem was.

Below are four signs that indicate that you do have an oil leak.

I also share (with the help of my mechanic buddies) what the common issues are and what the solutions are for each problem!

Keep scrolling down to figure out what could possibly be causing your Jeep to leak oil!

4 Signs Your Jeep Has an Oil Leak

1. Puddles Under Your Jeep

I’ve had many panic attacks when I’ve seen puddles under my vehicles in the past, not all puddles are a bad thing, however!

There are a few colors of oil you really need to keep an eye out for.

Dark brown and yellow puddles that are left on your driveway is an indicator that your Jeep is leaking engine oil.

If you see a puddle that is dark red, that is transmission oil, which I would be much more cautious around.

2. Smoke from Your Jeep's Engine

This one is a sure sign that there is something not working properly with your Jeep.

If oil is leaking from the valve cover, it will fall onto the exhaust manifold causing it to smoke from the heat!

3. Your Oil Light Is on in the Dash

If your oil light turns on, that is an indicator that your oil level has dropped.

An easy way to check this out is by checking your engine oil dipstick after letting the vehicle idle for a few minutes.

Odds are that your oil level is below the recommended level!

4. You Smell Burning Oil

If you are smelling oil when your Jeep is running it could be caused by a few things!

Your engine oil level is low (for some reason your vehicle is consuming oil) or is old causing it to become sludge-like.

A bottle of engine oil

Or like I mentioned above, if oil is dripping onto the exhaust manifold and burning off you will certainly smell that inside the cab of your vehicle!

This was the case with a Jeep Renegade burning oil that my friend diagnosed recently!

Why Is Your Jeep Leaking Oil: 5 Common Causes & Fixes

Above I covered the signs that you have an oil leak. If you come across red oil, I cover what causes a Jeep leaking transmission fluid in another article!

Now we are going to cover what the actual causes of the leaks are and what the common solution is to getting the problem fixed!

1. Oil Leaking Off the Engine

Engine oil leaking off the engine onto the exhaust manifold is typically a symptom of your valve cover leaking engine oil! This is quite common on Jeeps that are older and have quite a few miles on them!

The Solution

Either have a mechanic or do it yourself. Remove the valve cover and replace the valve cover gaskets with a fresh one. Inspect the valve cover to make sure it has no defects before reinstalling it!

Use this when diagnosing a Jeep Grand Cherokee burning oil!

2. Defects with the Rear Main Seal

The rear main engine seal can start leaking for a few reasons.

  • The Jeep was stored for a long time without being started
  • It was run with low oil for a long time
  • The vehicle is older and/or has high mileage 

All of these reasons cause the seal to dry, harden, shrink and crack which causes the leak.

The Solution

Like the valve cover gasket, the solution is to replace your rear main seal with a new one.

I would highly recommend having a qualified mechanic replace this for you unless you are comfortable with removing many components off of your engine to get at this seal!

3. Front Oil Pan Gasket

The engine oil pan gasket gets worn out over time, between age and mileage this is a component that will eventually need to be replaced.

The Solution

Remove the engine oil pan and inspect it. 

Sometimes it can simply be reinstalled with a new gasket installed, but if there is any warping of the oil pan it will also need to be replaced!

4. The Oil Filter Is Worn-Out

Maybe you have used your oil filter for 2 or, heaven forbid, 3 oil changes. The gasket eventually gets worn out, causing oil to leak from the oil filter.

The Solution

Remove and replace your engine oil filter. Odds are if this is happening, your Jeep will also need an oil change!

5. Broken or Loose Filler Cap

The filler cap on top of your engine may not have been tightened all the way or something was dropped on it, causing it to crack.

When the engine oil gets hot, it sputters out of the filler tube onto the engine!

The Solution

Remove and replace your engine oil filler cap.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Jeep Oil Leak?

This really depends on what the culprit is.

It can range from $10-$850+.

The most costly fix will be getting the rear main seal replaced!

Can You Drive a Jeep with Leaking Oil?

In most cases, you will be able to drive a Jeep that is leaking oil.

Before driving it, I recommend checking the engine oil level to make sure it isn’t too low, otherwise, you could damage your engine.

How Do I Find Out Where My Oil Leak Is From?

Clean your engine bay, then turn the engine on and check for any leaking oil with the hood of your vehicle up.

Aside from the rear main seal, the other likely culprits can be found easily!

Checking Out

At this point, you are well armed to figure out why your Jeep’s leaking oil and what to do once you’ve figured out what the cause of the problem is!

Now that you have this covered, let’s answer: Why is my Jeep leaking water?

Need Help Fixing Your Jeep?

If you are looking for expert advice on diagnosing and fixing your Jeep issues, be sure to check out my other guides!