Getting (much) engine oil off tarmac driveway

My mate recently asked if he could come round to mine so I could take a look at his ailing pug, which was making odd noises that were affected by engine speed but not road speed. I cleared the drive so he could park on it on the level and popped the bonnet to look for anything obvious. Nothing.

I asked him to get in and race the engine slowly to about 2000RPM. My mate is a good bloke but not the fastest thinker and interpreted my instructions as "as soon as it starts, try to stick your right foot through the wheel arch". My face was alarmingly close when the #2 con rod came through the crank case and the #3 ripped through the sump.

Even with a warm engine, what oozed out was like treacle and, since I now felt the need for a bit of a sit down for some reason, I didn't immediately get around to cleaning it up. When I asked when the oil was last changed, he said "when do you do that?"

The RCA of the failure now clear, I towed his car to the scrappers and set about my drive. Half a bottle of fairly liquid and the pressure washer have had little success so I'm open to suggestions of how to make a better job of it?

Have you tried scrubbing with washing powder, dohbi dust, persil etc?
Removing oil stains

There are a number of proprietary oil-stain removers available, but we have not yet found one that works well and removes all of the stain, although some of the commercial cleaning agents supplied by specialist construction chemical companies, can remove most of the stains.
Prevention is better than cure, so put a cardboard or wooden 'drip tray' underneath any leaky engines. Note that tarmac will degrade if contaminated with oil or a thin, oil-derived product such as petrol, diesel or hydraulic/brake fluid. This damage can not be treated. You may have to repair or replace seriously affected areas.

The sooner an oil stain is treated, the more likely it is to be removed. Use a cloth to soak-up any oil droplets on the surface, but don't smear or rub the oil into the surface. Fresh oil stains can be soaked up by proprietary absorbent materials or even some of the clay-based cat litters, cornflour or talcum powder. Any residue remaining after treating with an absorbent agent can sometimes be removed or ameliorated by scrubbing with a detergent and brush before washing down with water. It may take several attempts for this to work. Clean oil will generally soak into the paving and there will be little evidence of its presence after a few weeks. Dirty oil can be very difficult, if not impossible to completely remove.

For more stubborn stains, you could use a degreasing agent or engine cleaning fluid such as Gunk, but always test a small inconspicuous area first for adverse reactions.

If the stain is proving impossible to shift, consider replacing the contaminated area of paving.

From 'Google is my friend'...........although the road construction industry does have a bitumen remover they use to clean up after laying tarmac and removing marks from kerbs etc, shall track down the name and let you know......
Having seen what kero and Avtur do to tarmac I can only confirm 570 mils post. Standard treatment on RAF airfields was to get the fire section to hose down with shed loads of water.
And worry about the polution later.
Your problem is that anything strong enough to clean the oil off your tarmac will also eat your tarmac! I fear you have two options:

Live with it
Replace it
Scatter biological washing powder on the oily bits and let nature do the work.
Use fairy liquid and an old-school, stiff-bristled scrubbing brush. Sort of thing you'd see that ginger scutter using in Downton Abbey.

Edited to add: years ago my first motorbike, a 1984 Honda CB125, blew over in a storm (about two weeks after I bought it) and the brake pedal made a hole in the engine casing. Was oil all over the pavement, so I know that this does at least work on paving slabs.
The last two are probably better ideas than any kind of solvent based cleaner. Not sure how effective they would be but at least they wont eat your driveway!
Thompson Concentrated Oil and Driveway Cleaner from Homebase. £9.00 for a litre. Used it last week and it does the job,don't go by the instructions there shite,pour it on use a scrubbing brush on it until it goes semi solid and leave for about 15mins,scrub again,wash off. It worked pretty well for me.
Park the Land Rover somewhere else :)


Book Reviewer
When I asked when the oil was last changed, he said "when do you do that?"
Heh. I suspect we've all got a mate like that.

As a Landy owner I know nowt about oil leaks but I heard about this stuff that eats oil - well, the bugs do (caution - shite website alert)

Oil Eating Microbes for Safe Oil Spill Cleaning and Bioremediation

Oil Eating Bacteria for Hydro-Carbon Contamination Removal

Don't know what it costs to ship to the UK, or even if it works. I can only find one review of it.

WonderMicrobes - they eat polymerization - BioFuels Technologies Forum
Concentrated TFR is your friend - used neat through a pressure washer it shifts everything. Make sure there are no painted surfaces around otherwise you will need to get the painters in.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Why don't you just cover the rest of the drive in oil too? At least that way it will all match.


Dave's Gourmet Insanity Sauce from Dave's Gourmet, Inc. - The original super hot sauce & originally banned!

This is the original hottest sauce in the Universe and still Dave's best seller. In fact, it is the only sauce ever banned from the National Fiery Food Show. The label says, "Great cooking ingredient for sauces, soups, and stews. Also strips waxed floors and removes driveway grease stains." Label also includes the following
WARNING: "Use this product one drop at a time. Keep away from eyes, pets and children. Not for people with heart or repiratory problems."

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