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Car seepage. Serious or not?


I just purchased a 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor with 98k mileage on it. Old car. The car passed NYS inspection on the day I bought it.

However, I noticed that there’s a “wetness” underneath. But nothing is actually leaking or dripping. I even put a piece of paper underneath the car after I drove it all day and the next morning, I didn’t see a drop of oil or any other liquid in the paper.

I brought the car to 2mechanics.

The first one told me it’s the gasket valve cover needs to be replaced. The other mechanic told me, it’s an old car, the wetness I see is just the car getting “greased up” due to old age/mileage. Nothing to be alarmed about. I asked my friend who knows more about cars than I do. He also agreed with the 2nd mechanic especially since there’s no oil dripping/leaking.

I just wanted to get a few more professional opinions about this. Attached is the photo of the “wetness” Thanks!

Just keep a close watch on vital fluids ( oil and coolant ) . It is 12 years old and you could go to a drive through car wash with the belly wash . Also you could spend the money and have the engine compartment detailed and then watch for leaks.

Doesn’t look like anything serious.

What you can do is spray the grime off with brake parts cleaner.

Then how quickly the grime reappears gives some idea how severe the leak is.


In addition to the good advice that has already been provided, I would like the OP to consider this reality:
Some leaks will only take place when the appropriate system is pressurized.

Ergo–a trans fluid leak, or a coolant leak, or even a motor oil leak may not reveal itself when the vehicle is parked with the engine “off”, but can become very active once the engine is started and the vehicle is driven.

I think everybody’s right. The undercarriage wetness is typical of valvecover seepage running down the engine and accumulating on the engine’s underside. Often some crank and cam seal seepage contributes. This only happens when the crankcase is pressurized; i.e. the engine running. And as long as the fluid levels are maintained, it’s generally harmless. Engines don’t die because of valvecover gasket and/or seal seepage. They die because the oil is allowed to get too low.

If you really want to track it, clean it off as Tester suggested and add UV sensitive dye to the oil. The leak tracks will light up like neon under the blacklight.
Here’s a link to one. You can get them along with the blacklight at any parts store.

I see a similar thing on my Corolla when the valve cover gasket is leaking. I’ve had to replace that gasket several times over the course of 200 K miles. If you don’t like the mess it makes, and it isn’t a costly gaskget to replace, that’s probably where to start. Otherwise just live with it until it is leaking enough to drip oil on the driveway. In the meantime continue to check all the fluid levels on a routine basis.

I have no mechanical expertise. I just wanted to say Congratulations! I have a 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor with 100,000 more miles on it than yours. Enjoy! (And these cartalk folks are very knowledgeable, good resources.)

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