Oil leak caused by dealer?


#1

I had the valve cover replaced on my '96 Toyota Camry after noticing an oil leak and burning oil smell. When I got the car home, noticed oil leaking badly. Checked dipstick and oil was 1 quart over. Had local mechanic drain oil and measured 5.25 qts. and owners manual says engine uses 3.8 qt. Called dealer and told him what happened, said the dipstick would of had to been an inch over the line; I told him it was and local shop will verify this. I looked at invoice and noticed dealer had sold me 5 qts. of oil. Checked receipts for past 3 years and each oil change they had put 5 qts. in car. Front seal is now leaking. Is dealer responsible for leak? I have spent approx. $2000.00 over the past three years on brake jobs, timing belts,radiator flushes etc. My late husband was a certified mechanic and maintained our cars meticulously. How can I nicely get them to fix this for free. The car has 137,000 miles on it; and I’m guessing they will laugh me out of the place.I want to sell the car. Should I fix the leak or sell as is and disclose the leak to the buyer?


#2

On a 12 year old car with 137,000 miles the front seal leaking is not unusual. It’s normal wear.

The only way overfilling the crankcase damages an engine is if the oil level is high enough to be whipped into a frappe by the crankshaft. That fills the oil with foam, which makes a terrible lubricant, and of that gets pumped through the system the bearings will be trashed. They have to maintain a good high pressure barrier between the crank’s surfaces and the main crank bearings and the connecting rod bearings, probably the most challanging lubrication job in the entire engine. You’d know this had happened because the engine would make a horrible knocking noise. You’d get an oil pressure light also, because the pump cannot maintain good pressure if it has to pressurize all that air to do so.

In short, the dealer is not responsible for the leaky front main seal. However, he should not be overfilling the car either. The proper volume is on a sticker under the hood, right in front of his nose, and he should not be ignoring it. I’d find a new shop. I’m sure friends of your late husband can refer you to someone good.


#3

MB usually you are right on,but oil capacity on a sticker never seen it. Oil viscosity on the cap sure,engine size.plug gap sure but I was always looking in the book if it was a car I didn’t know for capacity.Just thought is this a Toyota thing? didn’t do much with Toyota. Thanks


#4

You know, I think you’re right. I seem to recall having written mine myself with a magic marker.

Oops.