Car Doctor Q&A: Tracing an Oil Leak With Foot Powder?

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A slight oil leak can be maddening to locate. Car Doctor John Paul suggests you can find the problem in the medicine cabinet. Ooookayyy…

Q. I have a 2009 Jeep which I love but it has an oil leak.

So far I have replaced the valve cover gasket and oil cap but it still has a leak. I stopped into a repair shop and they said they could add a special dye and then check the engine with a ultraviolet light that can help identify the source of the oil leak.

The shop wanted $100 to do this. Is there a do it yourself method to find the leak, without spending $100?

A. This is how we found leaks back in the old days:

Clean of any excessive oil with using an engine cleaning chemical and a garden hose.

Once the engine is clean and dry wait a few days and then get back under the hood or under the engine and spray the suspected area with talcum powder, or better yet, I have found athlete’s foot powder in a spray can works great without making your entire engine bay look like a powdered donut.

Let the engine run and it will be obvious based on the powder where the oil is leaking from. It is a simple trick that still works well to trace all kind of oil leaks.