Losing engine oil, leak showing up on power steering pump

  • 2004 Camry, 4 cyl. 285,000 miles.
  • Losing about 1qt of engine oil every 1200 miles, no oil spot on the floor
  • Added leak dye to engine oil
  • leak dye showing up at power steering pump. The power steering reservoir is above the pump. The large powering hose from the reservoir connects to the pump below. Leak dye show up on the pump where the hose plugs in to the metal tube from the pump. Also see dye forming on the metal tube bend, similar to a water leak drip forms around a U bend.
  • verified power steering fluid does not have any leak dye.

any ideas on why the power steering pump in involved with the engine oil loss? if so, what/where is causing the leak?

There must be a leak in the engine somewhere above the power steering pump. Valve cover gaskets are common leak sources. I can’t be from the power steering equipment, that’s just where the drips are ending up.


I know for sure it’s not dripping from the engine into power steering dump because I see dye on the power steering hose tip where it connects to the pump. The hose is facing down.

If you’re absolutely sure it’s not from the valve cover gaskets, next check (feel) around the timing belt cover., especially at the bottom.

If you hit oil, remove the cover and check the insides for evidence of oil. A leaky crank or cam shaft seal will drip while you’re running and the combination of spinning wheels, moving belts and wind can deposit the oil all over creation.


Here’s a diagram of where I found the leak dye

Oil will collect at the lowest points, that’s what you’re seeing. That doesn’t tell you where it came from.


FWIW I had a similar problem on my vehicle (about the same age, mileage, not a Camry) oil disappearing, no oil spot on the driveway and no obvious leak.
Fortunately I was due for a timing belt replacement when the seeping rubber crankshaft seal became apparent.

I say fortunately because the repair was pretty easy, the part cheap and if I waited until it failed completely and become obvious, it would have meant at least an additional timing belt replacement or a much more expensive repair.

That’s a very minimal amount of oil usage, especially for an engine with 285,000 miles that had a bit of a reputation to use some oil. Why are you even looking for an external leak?

But, if there is fluorescent dye on the PS pump then there must a small drip somewhere that is finding its way to that hose. Is there any oil evidence around the timing chain cover or is it being slung up from behind the crank pulley?