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Is this oil leaking from a 97 Chevy Cavalier a serious problem?

I recently looked at 97 Chevy Cavalier with only 64K miles with the prospect of possibly buying it. It was supposedly owned by one person, an older woman who drove it sparingly.

It looked in great shape, except for the engine. There was a lot of caked on carbon and oil both around the head and oil pan. But even worse was wet oil actually seeping from one of the spark plugs and it looked like it was coming from inside the rubber housing.

Could a simple valve cover gasket solve the problem? The oil in the engine actually wasn’t that dirty, a medium to copper colored brown, so maybe a repair of vc gasket would do the trick? Or does it sound like something more serious and costly?

Oil does not leak from spark plugs. What is the rubber housing? Engines do not have rubber housings. Look more closely and post again.

If you can get it dirt cheap, it might be worth buying, but keep in mind that an older woman that drove it ‘sparingly’ probably didn’t change the oil very much, and probably rarely drove it on long enough trips to get the oil good and hot. So the engine very likely has a lot of sludge in it.

Take off the oil fill cap and look at the underside of it and into the oil filler. If you see lots of gook and it feels crusty and grainy, then that’s what the inside of the engine is probably like too. If you’re just looking for a beater car to get you through winter, this might be a good deal, but it may not last you too long.

From your description, I’m guessing that you are seeing oil on the spark plug boot. (the rubber part) It probably seeped down to there from a bad valve cover gasket. The car will need new ignition wires for sure. It is likely to have a multitude of minor oil leaks.

I’m not a mechanic so I’m not sure I used the correct terms, but it was dripping down from the rubber cover of the wiring attached to the spark plug where the plug connects into the top of valve cover or head (I believe that’s what you call it) of the engine.