95 Corolla w/ Oil Gasket(?--16 bolts to get to gasket) Leak

What might be leaking this much oil?, and what might be approximate repair costs for a few different scenarios? A little bit of history: My dear old car, 150K plus mileage, uhhh minimally maintained; per “J Lube” needs a new gasket which involves removing 16 bolts, they think. Car is leaking more than a quart, so I am no longer driving it. I don’t have a lot to spend on it AND it may not be worth putting the money into it. Some ballpark figures parts and labor and scenarios would be greatly appreciated. Thank You So Much. What Gasket is this likely to be or possibly an engine seal or something?

If they say “Gasket”, they must mean the oil pan gasket. The valve cover gasket doesn’t have that many bolts. Do you know someone who can check to make sure the oil pan bolts aren’t just loose?


And whatever you do, don’t let “J Lube” do it - whatever it is. Ask around and find a good, local, trustworthy mechanic.

I have to assume, like Tester, btw that it must be the oil pan. But tell us - how much oil are you leaking? Lots and lots and lots of oil pans out there leak. It isn’t ecologically sound, but its often not a mechanical emergency either. Do you check your own oil? About how many miles can you go before you have to add any (or how frequently have you been adding?)

Thank you for your kind response Tester. There is no drip pan, and I am truly hoping this is something simple like bolts, or under $200-$300. And yes, in a week or two, I will be having a garage or two take a look at it for diagnostic purposes (once it is towed there). If this car runs for another year or so I would be thrilled. Thank you for taking a guess at this. Linda

Linda, you should provide a much clearer description of what is going on with your car. Why, for example, does the car need to be towed?

Hi Cigroller, I am not sure my last comment posted. Car leaked 1.25 Quarts of 5W-30, and I have 1187 miles before my next oil change. So that would mean leaking 1.25 Quarts within 1813 - 2313 miles of city driving. Sometimes 10 mile, 45 mile, or 100 mile roundtrips. I am just thinking towing and not driving may be better for my engine, etc. than ooozing oil all over. MY THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND INPUT; It is greatly appreciated. Linda

You can drive it, just keep oil checked and full.
Lots of cars are like that or worse.
You need to find out exactly where the leak is at, make sure it is not a seal leaking with oil running down to pan the pan driping and someone is thinking it the pan leaking.
Gasket and labor should be well under $100 if it is the pan gasket

You don’t need to tow your car. With 150,000 miles on the engine, losing 1 quart between oil changes is considered normal. Are you sure it is the oil pan? Unless you hit something to bend it, it is rare for the oil pan to leak like this. A rear main seal or timing cover seal is more likely, and will leak down over the oil pan.

Are you sure it is a leak and not burning it? My car, '88 Toyota Supra, has 250,000 miles on it, and burns oil at a rate of 1 quart per 500 miles. It does leak a bit at the oil pan, but with my car, you need to lift the engine out of the car to replace the oil pan gasket. Not worth it. I was also leaking out out of the timing cover seal and rear main seal, but I replaced those during regular maintenance. The timing cover seals with a new timing belt, and a rear main seal with a new clutch.

You went to Jiffy Lube and got an opinion from a person who is not a mechanic by any stretch. Take it with a serious grain of salt. Jiffy Lube does not have any mechanics work on your car, just oil change people trained in that small facet.

I would visit an independent shop next oil change or maybe sooner and inquire about it.

Linda, Older Cars, Older People, Older Pets, And Practically Older Anything, Require More Frequent Care.

When cars are fairly new many people seldom look under the hood (that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t) and never run into trouble. As cars age, owners have to adapt to a more frequent schedule of under-hood checking on their car’s vital fluids, particularly engine oil and coolant. Brake fluid, transmission fluid and window washer fluid can be looked at, too.

A car in it’s “golden years” should have this done with each fill-up of gas or at that frequency. Using or leaking a little oil is just part of the incontinence that comes with a car’s age. Any of this can be “repaired”, but it usually does not make sense economically to do so. Rather a more frequent “monitor and fill procedure” becomes required.

As was pointed out, many brand new cars wouldn’t make it between 5,000 mile oil changes without running into danger, should the car’s fluids monitoring be neglected. A car too low on oil, coolant, or transmission fluid/oil can suffer catastrophic damage, but a little checking can prevent it. There is probably many more miles of driving left in your car with the proper care and feeding.

When the garage mechanic takes a look at the Corolla in a week or two, it would behoove you to get a quick lesson on what to check and how to check under the hood if you are uncertain. I’d even ask permission to stop back occasionally at first, to be sure you’re doing the job. It only takes seconds to check everything and just a couple minutes if topping off is necessary. Never let your car run low or run out of it’s life saving fluids and you’ll be good to go for that next year or so.

Welcome to our world,