Oil/Grease on underside of car but car running fine

My car is operating correctly but I recently found this on the underside of the car. I don’t know if what I am looking at here is simply something that got splashed on by the road or whether this is a blown gasket or seal or what. I took a swipe at is with some cloth and it is oil/grease not transmission fluid. There are no other signs of leaking anywhere on the car or on the ground.

A visit to the mechanic or the car wash?

Here is a picture from another angle.

The seal where the half shaft is inserted into the transaxle is leaking.



Also the circlip that holds the inner CV joint in place in the transmission may be missing or not engaged… the gap looks kinda big.

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Yup, both comments above are my guess as well. Better get that fixed up. Worth checking the CV’s to see if they need replacement after being without lube for a bit.


It’s not the CV-joints leaking.

The transaxle is leaking fluid past the axle seal.


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That sounds worse.

Ya think?

Or don’t ya?


In either case, the axle needs to be removed and the seal inspected/replaced.

It looks like the seal is smeared and deposited on the smooth surface of the inner axle - the smooth surface that should be farther into the transmission, surrounded by the seal. For some reason the inner axle is not fully inserted into the trans. It should click into place, and stay there. All lengthening and shortening of the drive shaft should be taking place within the inner CV joint.

Thanks for the all comments. Two follow up questions:

Is there any particular urgency to getting this fixed?

Further, any ball-park figures on getting this repaired? Just to have a range in mind so I don’t get ripped off by a mechanic.

Personally, unless its a new car, it’s not something I would be concerned with at all unless it gets worse. To repair it requires pulling the axle out, then replacing the seal and putting it back together. I gotta believe the labor is in the several hundred dollar range. This would be something you do if and when you ever need an axle or it starts to drip transmission fluid. Others may disagree though, but to me its not going to hurt anything.


The OP could try pushing the axle farther into the trans. It might click into place with a good shove. Then the only problem is a worn seal and possible leak. Same as now.

BTW, pretty good detective work finding this problem! Had the axle ever been pulled, say, maybe while putting in a new wheel bearing or hub? Maybe it was never pushed back hard enough to set it in place.

I think that axle is in about as far as its going to go. There has to be some clearance between the transmission and the spider housing.