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Oil is crucial for lubricating the moving components of the engine so they last longer and perform better while also functioning to act as a heat absorber, helping to keep the engine cool. The oil sump is an oil tray or tank located at the bottom of the engine. The oil sump stores oil, basically acting as a reservoir and collection/storage point for the returning oil once it has been pumped through the engine, before it goes off on its cycle again. The oil sump cover is a protective cover or plate for the oil sump.

Situated at the bottom of the engine, and sealed with a gasket, the oil sump stores the oil which is pumped around the engine by the oil pump. The oil sump cover shields the oil sump. 

The oil pump is often positioned low to enable it to reach the oil in the oil sump. A short hose or pipe with a mesh strainer enables the pump to collect oil from the bottom of the sump. The oil will pass through an oil filter to clean it from any impurities before it is pumped back through the engine. Oil sumps operate on either a wet or dry sump oiling system, but the wet oil sump is more common. Aluminium is a popular choice for oil sump covers. The oil sump cover in some engines will have cooling fins to help cool the oil and contain a strainer to help filter the oil. The material, design, size and type of oil sump cover will vary from car to car. 

A cracked or split oil sump cover will leak oil and will need to be fixed, if not too badly damaged, or replaced with a new oil sump cover. When replacing this part, ensure you fit an oil sump cover that's compatible with your car by buying a good quality oil sump cover.