The oil in your car is very important for a large variety of reasons. Not only does it serve as an important lubricant in order to help all the moving parts operate properly but it also acts as a coolant and helps to keep the engine from overheating. It even acts as a sealant and plugs small gaps that could otherwise be problematic.

For all these reasons it's crucial to keep your engine oil topped up at all times. If you're going driving in your 4x4, then you need to ensure you do this before you head out for the day.

But when you get an oil leak this obviously isn't so easy. Now, every time you go to top up your engine, you might find that it starts leaking again and that you end up with a pool of oil on the floor under your vehicle. What do you do?

The solution is to identify the source of the leak and repair it. Here's how you go about doing that.

Locate the Source

To find the source of the oil leak, what you need to do is open the hood and take a look around. Unfortunately, oil doesn't tend to show up very easily and so it can be very difficult to ascertain where it's coming from. One solution then is to use a fluorescent leak detection system. This is a liquid that shows up in ultraviolet light, so you simply put some in the oil reservoir and then shine a light on the engine to see where the oil is coming from. An alternative strategy is to look for it using talcum powder. Use a thin coating around the engine and then go for a little drive. Pull over and you should find oil shows up on the power – where it's thickest is where the leak most likely is.

Likewise, test the oil line that connects to the oil reservoir. Rev the engine while someone watches under the hood and if the issue is with the line then oil will spurt out when you do this. Other common points for leaks are the oil drain plug (which you can replace by looking at a store that sells <a href="http://ultimate4wdequipment.com.au">4x4 parts</a>) or the gasket which is a seal where two metal parts join. Gaskets exist especially to prevent leaks but sometimes they wear out. Again, they're easy to replace.

Repairing the Leak

As mentioned, leaks can be repaired by replacing parts sometimes. Gaskets, plugs and even whole oil lines can be completely replaced with new ones which is usually a good idea. Alternatively, if you want a temporary fix when you're out on adventures, then you can use a 'stop leak additive' which will work by softening and conditioning the gaskets so they become better at doing their job.

Note that when you're driving off-road, it can sometimes be easy to pick up holes in your oil pan due to pebbles and small stones flying up off the road. Take it easy in these spots and remember that even an off-road vehicle isn't invincible!