I left my oil cap off for a 2hour plus drive and didn’t even realize!

Asked by Jan 21, 2018 at 02:55 PM about the 1998 Honda Accord

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

So I have a 1998 Honda Accord at 298k miles on it
and have been dealing with a minor oil leak for over
a year now. I’m a college student and this is my car
I use to commute to school everyday until I can fix
my other car. My dad knows a lot about cars and
RV’s and usually teaches me stuff about cars so I
know a little. Recently I had to drive back to college
and my dad had just cleaned out the oil distributor
and changed my oil the day I was leaving. I drive for
about an hour stop to get gas and wait about 5
minutes to check my oil and I notice it’s low already
and usually it doesn’t leak that much so I was
worried he made it worse. I put my oil in and started
off for another 2 hour 15 minutes drive until I got
back to my apartment. I didn’t make any stops and
most of the time while I was driving I could smell
the oil but usually I smell it coming through the
vents because it’s leaking but this was worse then
usually and stupidly I just ignored it. Once I finally
got home I realized my engine was smoking a little
bit and that really scared me. So I let it cool down
for about 20 minutes and opened the hood and
noticed I left the fricken oil cap off but luckily it
stayed under the hood  I think when I checked
my oil 2 hours back it just looked low because it
was thin. When I check it before I warm up my car
the oil is thicker so maybe I over filled my oil??
Anyways the next day I drive it to the grocery store
about 10 minutes away and still smell the oily smell.
I park and it’s still smoking a little bit! This time I had
remembered to put the oil cap back on so I don’t
get why it’s still smoking. There’s water or oil down
the front bumper and it won’t dry it’s been there
since I first noticed so I’m thinking I really screwed
up this car. I included a picture of what the undried
water or oil looks like. I don’t know what to do and
am too scared to tell my dad what I did because I
don’t want him to yell at me so could anyone please
tell me what to do or if I should just let it sit. I have
to drive to school tomorrow which is a 20 minutes
drive early in the morning and I don’t want it to start
smoking again. Please and thank you!

2 Answers


You might be OK in this case. Wipe up as much oil that you can with some rags and paper towels. That is what you are smelling, the oil burning off the warm engine. Check the oil level on a cold car , should be between the hash marks and make sure that it is full, add as necessary and put the cap back on. For added assurance you can get the oil changed when you get some free time since the engine got hot and have the coolant level looked. Good luck in class.


I don't know about the coolant thing, its got a spread pattern like oil, and I don't see any green drips on the ground as coolant would not tend to cling like oil does, your going to have to clean it up, use a spray bottle with some Dawn liquid dish soap and spray down the areas let it sit a bit then use another spray bottle to rinse it off you don't want to get stuff too wet especially any electronics so focus the spray. Check all your fluid levels top off if needed, make sure all the caps are secured and drive it but keep a eye on the levels especially if it has a known oil problem. As you had no warning lights the engine basics should be good.

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