95 Saturn SL1 w/ 345k miles leaking oil, maybe CO

My car has been slowly leaking oil for about a year now. I get a small puddle (2" dia max.) near the front passenger side wheel. I have tried to have it fixed in the past, but nobody has been able to identify the source. I have to add a quart of oil every 400 - 600 miles (I have a 91 mile commute, each way). Recently I’ve started noticing an exhaust-type smell in the cabin sometimes and am concerned that I might have larger issues.

Is there a way to test if I have a dangerous exhaust leak in the cabin? Considering the age of my car, is it worth trying to solve my oil leak? Thanks.

As long as the oil leak doesn’t get any worse, I wouldn’t worry about it. Just keep an eye on the oil level.

The exhaust leak you want to figure out. To locate any exhaust leaks, start the engine and then use something to block the tail pipe so exhaust gasses can’t escape. Then check the length of the exhaust system. If there’s a leak, you’ll find it.


Have you confirmed the puddle is motor oil? Could it be another fluid; water, power steering, brake fluid, coolant, or hydralic oil from a strut?

The exhaust smell might be the mystery fluid is dripping onto a hot part of the motor or exhaust system. These “fumes” could be coming in via the clean air vent under the windshield of the car.

You can have all this checked over by a good independant mechanic. With the age and miles on the car you may find repairing the car is more $$ tban the car is worth. Sometimes with an older car you can torque a few bolts and reduce an oil leak. Other times it is cheaper to just add oil every so often and drive on.

Does the engine look oily and grimy?
If it’s only oily at the bottom it’s probably a crankshaft seal.
If any oil is dripping or splashing on the exhaust system that could explain the smell.
Try using “high mileage” oil.