Engine oil sprayed and dripping around engine; Smell of gas from heater

2002 Toyota Camry. I drive it 2-3 times/week, maybe 10 miles max each week.

My wife and I noticed the smell of gas when the car heater was running last night. After going for a short drive an hour ago, I got back home and opened the hood to find motor oil sprayed and dripping around the engine. I also noticed a small pool of oil hanging out on one of the metal brackets below and to the right of the engine (sorry, I definitely don’t know the name of this car part!). The level of engine oil left is below a readable mark.

I’m aware of a small leak from my oil pan, but have never noticed a pool of oil under the car, so didn’t think it was too serious.

Any ideas what could be going on here? Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Thank you so much in advance!

(Additional info: I don’t have a space/garage to work on the car and my number of available tools to work on the car are pretty limited)

Then. your only option is to have the vehicle towed to a shop so they can figure out what’s going on.



Well your engine has sprung a leak. Top off the oil and run the engine for a minute or two and see if it’s something obvious. Let us know what you see.

This is beside the point, but three trips a week for a total of 10 miles is the absolute worst way to drive a car.

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A better picture would help, but if you see oil on surfaces that are in line with the front of the engine, like it was sprayed out from the front of the engine but perpendicular to the engine itself, that would be the front seal. It is not uncommon for this seal to fail. It isn’t too difficult to replace but it does take a special tool.

The oil leaks out and hits the backside of the harmonic balancer/front pulley and is slung out laterally from the engine, forming a ring of oil around the front of the engine on the firewall, radiator, hood etc.

Engine removal is not necessary, but there could also be a bad seal on the oil pump that is located just behind this seal. I’d do the seal first.

If that doesn’t fix it, the oil pump/front cover may have to be replaced.

Front seal? With engine oil running down the transmission bell housing it seems that there is a leak from the rear of the cylinder head, perhaps the valve cover.

good ideas above. Oil leaks not uncommon, but oil spraying like that is pretty unusual. First priority is to correct low oil problem. Then suggest to ask your shop to find the source, especially check the oil-fill cap and the oil filter.