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Oil Leak: Is It Your Drain Plug?

Have you noticed black, brown, or amber colored oil leaking underneath your Volkswagen? If so, you want to take care of the issue ASAP. The bigger the oil leak, the more oil your engine loses.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what’s causing the leak. This guide covers some of the most common causes of oil leaks. To sum it up, the most common causes include:

  • Loose oil filter
  • Clogged up PCV valve
  • Worn or broken gaskets
  • Worn or broken seals

Another common issue is the drain plug. Sometimes the drain plug gasket can wear out and allow motor oil to leak out of the drain plug. In that case, you need to replace the drain plug. If you’ve determined that the issue is the drain plug, we’ll help you with that in this post.

Locating The Leak

Locate leak

To figure out the source of the leak, you need to locate the leak first. If it’s not obvious where the leak is coming from, try this:

  1. Lay a large piece of cardboard on a flat surface
  2. Park your Volkswagen over the piece of cardboard
  3. Wait a few days
  4. Check the cardboard to find out where the leak is located

When you have a good idea of where the leak is located underneath your car, check the part(s) right above the leak. Grab a flashlight and inspect it closely.

Is It The Drain Plug?

Drain plug

If the oil leak is coming from the engine area, then it may be the drain plug. The oil drain plug is a threaded bolt that’s commonly made from aluminum. It comes with a sealing gasket. The drain plug is installed to the bottom or the side of the engine oil pain. When you change the oil, you remove the drain plug to drain the oil pan.

Do you suspect that the drain plug is causing the leak? Find the oil pan (usually underneath the engine) and then inspect the drain plug. You may find a major issue with the oil drain plug that’s causing oil to leak out. Many VW owners have reported the following issues:

  • Their oil drain plug is stripped
  • Their oil drain plug broke off
  • Their oil drain plug is stuck
  • Their oil drain plug gasket wore down

If you notice any oil on or around the oil drain plug, then chances are the plug needs replacing.

Replacing The Drain Plug

drain plug

The good news is replacing the drain plug is quite a cheap fix. As long as you find a genuine OEM replacement oil drain plug made for your VW model, you won’t have to worry about any fitment issues.

Each VW model needs a certain type of drain plug to ensure proper fitment on the oil tank. For example:

To find the right oil drain plug size for your vehicle, look up your VW model here.

Replacing the oil drain plug is an easy job for beginners. Find a model-specific tutorial. Here’s a general overview of the replacement process:

  1. Remove the old oil drain plug.
  2. Drain the motor oil into a safe container.
  3. Install the new oil drain plug.
  4. If the old oil still looks fresh and clean, put it back into the engine. If the oil looks old and mucky, replace the oil. Don’t forget to replace the oil filter too!