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What are the Symptoms of Fuel in My Engine Oil?

I recently changed my car’s oil and noticed the leftovers in the drain pan had a gasoline smell. How can I tell if fuel is getting into my engine oil?

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Kathryn Mae Kurlychek · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
One of the easiest ways to tell if fuel is contaminating your engine oil is by smell, as you noticed! You may smell gasoline in the drain pan after changing your oil, or catch a strong whiff while you’re driving.
Another way to tell is if you notice white smoke clouds coming from your tailpipe when you’re driving. Alternatively, your engine oil level may be too high or the oil pressure too low. Any and all of these issues could be symptoms that gas is leaking into your engine oil.
If you suspect this is the case, you’ll want to address it immediately, as too much fuel in your engine oil can become dangerous. If you’re not someone who’s car-savvy, you may want to have a mechanic take a closer look. If you feel comfortable and able to address the problem on your own, here’s what you can do:
  • Check your fuel system
  • Replace your piston rings
  • Change your engine oil
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