Leaking Oil Can I Travel 410 mi. round trip?

toyota
camry

#1

I have 1994 Camry…Just found out need new gaskets leaking oil, need 3 new tires, and change transmission fluid. No time to do now, do you think I can highway drive the 410 miles roundtrip, or think risky?

Don’t know what to do


#2

That all depends on the rate of the oil leaks and how often you check the oil level. If the rate is low and you check and fill as needed, you’ll be fine.


#3

Where is the oil leaking out? How fast is it leaking?


#4

What I’m thinking is that you have a '94 that needs 3 new tires. The only way I can think of that someone would need 3 new tires (as opposed to 2 or 4) is that they most commonly take whatever shortcut is possible in car maintenance - trying to save money today while not thinking so much about how saving money works in the long term.

I could be completely wrong about that - but you’re asking and providing very little info about the car and its history of care - so I have to guess on minimal info.

So going on a 17 year old car with a questionable maintenance history the only way I’d take a roadtrip is with an AAA card in my pocket and a lot of time cushion.

As for the specific things you mention, the gasket thing is questionable. Look around any parking lot you see. Leaks are very common. Just about everyone has a “leaking gasket” of some kind. Do you check your oil? How often do you have to add how much oil?

Transmission fluid? Well, that’s just one of those things that you say nothing about. Why does it need to be changed? Is it simply due? Has it ever been changed? Is it very dark and does it smell kind of burned up or very acrid? Or does it look mostly red/pink?

“need 3 new tires” - well, how would anyone here be able to tell you whether or not your tires are safe. We can’t see them or inspect them. Why do you need new tires? Are they completely bald? Belts showing? Uneven wear? Cracked sidewalls? etc. etc.

No time to do now

??? None of that should take very long.


#5

Do you know how to check your oil level? If yes, then just check the oil level every time you take a break from driving, rest stop, food stop, and/or gas stop.

The tires should last for the trip, but keep your speed down if you encounter rain. The tires must have low tread levels and that makes them susceptible to hydroplaning, which is basically no traction because water under the tire lifts the tire off the road.

Transmission fluid change should have been done a long time ago, at least that’s my guess. Another 400 miles won’t matter much.

All these items can be done in 1/2 day or less at a shop and most have a courtesy car that can take you home or to work while the car is in for service. Is “no time” an excuse or real?

You and the car would be better off having the work done before the trip. Since it is likely you’ll put off the service for the same “no time” reason after the trip, the real risk is the service won’t be done at all until a tire blows, you have an accident, run out of oil, or the trans dies on you.


#6

Thanks for the feedback. I will check the dipstick, if the mark didn’t go down too much overnight, I guess it is a slow leak. Do you think I need to stop every 50, or 100 miles to check?


#7

I bring the car in every year for an oil change and general check up. The “no time” is because today I have no time, not in general. I had changed one tire last year, but was told I have time on the others. Since I was hoping to buy a new car within the year, I put off buying all new tires. The transmission fluid is definitely dark and burnt in color but since I have a condition in which I have no sense of smell, I detect no odor.
The service station that changed the oil and oil filter for me did a general check over which stated:
Need: Air Filter, Front tires, RR Tire worn on outside, LR tire Good
leaks- transmission, Oil Pan, and Valve Cover (need gaskets)
Thanks for the feedback


#8

If the transmission fluid is dark and burned looking you might not make it.

How about you just rent a cor for now?


#9

"if the mark didn’t go down too much overnight"
This depends on what is leaking, but usually the oil will leak out faster while the engine is running than while it is just sitting there. (It may not leak at all while sitting.) You need to check the oil level after you have driven several miles.


#10

It seems you do mostly local driving a 410 trip isn’t the norm. Most of the “leaks” that were mentioned by the garage are pretty typical of a '94 Camry. My guess is they are pretty minor, but checking the oil level a couple of times when you are traveling is a good idea. You might even buy a quart of oil and keep it in the trunk in case you need to add some along the way.

Most garages tell you to get a new air filter as general practice. It is a good idea and easily done. If the current air filter has less than 30K miles on it, it is probably OK for the trip.

The real issue is the tires. The RR tire worn on the outside is the one I’d be concerned about. Is there any cord showing? If yes, the tire is dangerous. If there is still decent tread in the most worn area it might be OK for the trip. Take a close look at that tire and the other 2 worn ones to be sure you have safe tires.


#11

If the oil leak is from the valve cover gaskets, I would not worry about that. Just fill the crankcase up to the full mark before you take off and check the oil level every time you stop to fuel up. But, do carry that extra quart just in case the oil light should come on or you need to add a quart at the fueling station.

Also I would not be concerned about the transmission fluid. The tranny not be making a lot of shifts on your trip if you are using expressways. For most of the drive you will be in overdrive with the torque converter locked so the tranny fluid should not be stressed. But, get the tranny serviced with pan drop, filter change, and refill if you want to extend its longevity.

Others have addressed the tire issue. If there is any concern, run the Camary by a tire shop and get their opinion. If these tires are the originals, I would be concerned about the age of the rubber. If you decide to go on the trip, keep the speed down; be attentive to the handling of the car; and slow down much more if you are driving on rain slick surfaces. Also make sure you have a good inflated spare and all the OEM tire changing equipment.

Have a safe trip.


#12

I am going to guess that you are planning to replace three tyres and use the spare as the fourth. I recommend not doing that. If you get in a panic stop situation that one tyre is going to have different grip than the others, it also could have been in there since 1994. That would be bad. Tires not only wear out, they get old and brittle. Not good. There is a date code on modern tyres, you might as the tyre store how old that tyre is before considering using it.


#13

Thanks for the feedback. I will check the dipstick, if the mark didn’t go down too much overnight,

Oil usually doesn’t leak at night when the engine is off…UNLESS it’s the drain plug. Valve cover gaskets or sending units all leak when the engine is running or a short time after the engine is turned off.


#14

If the oil is leaking bad enough that it’s “going down overnight”, then you’re also creating a hazard for other drivers, and generally leaving a huge mess wherever you go too.

Same with the tires—if they’re ready to blow or have no tread, you’re risking yourself as well as everyone driving near you, especially if it decides to rain.

What gaskets are leaking?

If you insist on making the trip in this bomb, I’d stop at every rest stop and check the oil.

To answer your question: Yes, I think risky.