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Leaking Oil - Head Gasket Job

I’ve had a head gasket job done on my 2002 Honda Accord EX 2.3 liter, 4 cylinder engine, through the dealer. I have approximately 170K miles on my car.

Aside from the head gasket, the dealer mechanic replaced the water pump, timing belt, cam seal replaced and still there is a slight oil leak on my garage floor.

The dealer mechanic states they can’t find where its leaking, I am wondering if it has a slight oil leak due to a bad head gasket job. Any suggestions is appreciated.

Thank you everyone.

It would be difficult to even guess over the internet.
What I would do is get a clean piece of cardboard and lay it under your car after you park it. Once you see an oil drip, you can get a pretty good idea where on the engine it is leaking from. Then, have a look in that area under the hood. Bear in mind, leaks can travel along most surfaces for a while before they drip, so you may have to trace back, but at least this will give you some info to tell the mechanic.

Another way to find an oil leak is with a dye kit. It comes with a dye that’s UV sensitive and a blacklight. The trail(s) from the leak(s) will light up like a volcano flow at midnight.
Here’re some links to some examples.

Maybe, maybe not.

When a mechanic is certified and capable of replacing a head gasket they should be able to find an oil leak (if you can actually confirm it is oil and is leaking from this vehicle).

I’d hate to think that it conveniently cannot be found because that would mean that it would result in a do-over (shame on me), but it does make one wonder.

You might have to have a different competent mechanic isolate that leak so you can help them find it.

As long as they leave the front main oil seal alone there always will be oil on your floor. Maybe the oil pan bolts are loose.

I would like some clarification on this topic. First of all. Did they replace the valve cover gasket or head gasket? A head gasket problem is usually low compression and loss of coolant. A valve cover problem is usually loss of oil as stated. Many people mix up the two.

From what you are saying, It looks like you had the 110,000 service done which is the timing belt, water pump, cam seals, which sounds routine. I can see a valve cover gasket at this time, but a head gasket is not routine and would cost $2000-3000+ for a dealer to replace.

The best way to determine where the leak on the floor corresponds to the area underneath. there are so many things that can leak oil. An oil filter, oil pan, oil pan bolt. distributor o ring, oil pressure sensor, crank pully seal. It’s endless. It may be possible something is leaking from the previous repair, but most reputable Honda dealers should check their work for free if you bring it back.

– John (I have had 1: 94 1: 96 1: 97 1: 98 2: 99’s 2: 03’s 1: 04 1: 07) Accord

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I agree with John (0708Honda).

To add to that, overfilling the engine can EASILY cause the issue and it’s not always so cheap to fix…Especially on Honda’s and Toyotas.

While I’ve not worked on cars in MANY years, I’ve hear the terms head and valve cover gasket used interchangeably and they aren’t the same.

I had my cylinder head pressure check and resurfaced on 7/30/2016. They installed a new head gasket kit, spark plugs, radiator cap, coolant. It cost me 2,010.86. Does this help?

Keeping a high-mileage engine oil-tight can be a real challenge. For now, keep cardboard under it and report back on rate of oil usage.

No. Pictures might help. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether the oil pan gasket or oil pump is leaking on an old engine like this for example.

The technician might be questioning the value in repairing this leak and doesn’t want to waste time on identifying the problem, is it one drop or a puddle?

I always thought Honda engines were designed to last 300K. It is just a little bit of an oil leak on my garage floor.


It isn’t a puddle but its about less than 1/8 a cup. What disturbs me is I paid $2K to get it fixed and it is leaking. Shouldn’t the dealer have fixed the problem for that price?

I believe that is part of the “Asian car myth.” I don’t buy any Asian cars. My GM cars and engines always go the distance. One of my cars, a 3.8L Impala has over 300,000 miles, is driven daily, and doesn’t leak anything. The engine has never been wrenched on, with only little maintenance done.

I think the myth got started back in the 70s - 80s when there was some real junk being produced as cars and it still survives.

I read manufacturers’ technical service bulletins on all makes/models frequently and to think that Honda engines last 300K is true in only some cases, others not so much.

If never taken out of the shipping crate they will last almost for ever.

Seriously, where did you get that idea anyway?

I’ve seen plenty of GM engines done for (blown up) at 75k, 100k, 150k, 200k, etc. That being said I also see plenty of Hondas and Toyotas with 200k, 250k, 300k, 400k. Really comes down to routine maintenance. I think GM needs to cut costs to cover union legacy costs, Healthcare, etc. So you’ll find plenty cheap parts on American cars.

The myth is alive and well! :wink:

Huh? I thought it came down to “make”? This is confusing me!

Right. I hate those cheap parts that last virtually forever. :smile:


If your ever up to it, we can take apart a GM car down to frame and a Japanese car and compare engine, exterior, and interior parts. Between interior parts like window regulators or interior pieces, and engine parts you will find where the GM bean counters have been.

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