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2003 Honda Odyssey Leaking Oil

Today, my father and I took our Odyssey in for a regular oil change at our local Honda dealer like we always do. Turns out, our car is leaking oil! It’s leaking from the oil filter housing gasket and the rear main seal. The estimate the dealer gave us to fix both the leaks is $1458.21, with the rear main seal replacement making up most of the money.

The car otherwise passed the dealer inspection with everything marked green on the inspection sheet. The car is also in good running condition. Could we just fill it up with oil once in a while and forget about the leak, or should we get this fixed soon?

All comments are appreciated.

So . . . is the oil filter leaking, or is the oil filter housing gasket leaking?

This is that gasket.

By the way, how bad is the oil situation?
Any spots on the driveway?
Have to top off often?

If that gasket is badly leaking, I might consider getting it replaced and hold off on that rear main seal for now.

If the answer is no to all of the above, I’d be inclined to keep an eye on it for now.


The gasket is leaking. I have since edited into the post.

The leak isn’t bad. I haven’t seen any spots on the driveway, but the technicians said that on Odysseys, the crossmembers or whatever catch the oil before and it collects there.


Also, do you think we will have to get this fixed eventually, or can we just keep going for a a year or two with the oil leaking?

I would keep going, just as long as you’re not constantly adding oil.

I seriously doubt the rear main seal is leaking. I also doubt the oil filter housing gasket is leaking either, but the oil pump pressure sending unit may be attached to the housing and if that is leaking, it would be a concern to me simply because these can fail and dump a lot of oil in a short time. Fortunately, they are pretty cheap and not to difficult to change, but they are also usually pretty reliable. They don’t fail very often.

Monitor your oil loss. If you are not loosing a quart every 500 miles or less, then i would just check the oil level at every gas stop and add oil as needed. If you don’t see amy oil loss, then its possible that what the dealer saw was just oil that dripped down as the oil filter was removed. The Odyssey is not prone to oil leaks, most of the time, when there is an oil leak, it is very minor.

@keith why do you doubt a leaking rear main seal?

I’ve replaced some over the years.
Sure, it doesn’t happen often, but it does happen occasionally.

Because it doesn’t happen very often, but mechanics/dealers looking to generate business usually go to that right away, along with control arm bushings. The OP was not aware of any oil leak so either they never check the oil level or it simply isn’t leaking that bad.

Regardless, the OP needs to establish the severity of the problem by checking the oil at each gas fillup. Owners need to do a little troubleshooting for themselves.

You may need a rear main seal, but if it were my car, I wouldn’t do that part straight away. I’d fix the oil filter part of the problem, look for drips on the pavement indicative of a rear main seal leak, and check the oil level regularly. It may be most or all of the leaking is from the faulty oil gasket, not the rear main seal. It’s difficult to tell where a leak is coming from as the wind from driving at 65 mph blows any leaking oil all across the bottom of the engine. Most important is to make sure the oil stays at all times at the proper level until this is resolved.

@keith respectfully, some engines are more prone to leaking rear main seals than others.
Over the years I’ve worked on different brands and some are more prone to leaks.
But I will say that sometimes even really oily looking engines aren’t actually losing a lot of oil.

But since none of us, except OP, has seen the engine, we’ll never know.

The car is 11 years old with X number of miles so it’s entirely possible there could be a rear main seal leak.
Heat, hardened rubber, and a possible wear groove in the crank journal can do it.

Thank you all for commenting on this post! I’ll keep all of y’all’s words in mind.