Oil leak


#1

03 vue. 3.0 V6. Never leaked 1 drop of oil. Shop changed oil, now there is an oil leak on front of motor. This motor has cartridge element style filter. The o-ring on cartridge body is included with filter. Filter body is metal and is reused. Shop looked at motor and said maybe front valve cover gasket is leaking? We did timing belt last year. Did not replace cam seals as we did not touch sprockets. Cam side of motor was bone dry. Shop said seals might cause leak also. My math says oil change=leak on front of motor. Leak is small. You remove air intake plenum on top of motor. Than remove upper intake housing. Than remove valve covers. $400 at shop.


#2

Do you have a question?


#3

What does your math say about how long it would take to save $400 worth of oil?


#4

We Car Talk forum-posters of course can’t determine with any certainty the source of your car’s oil leak, or what caused it. It’s certainly possible the oil change was the cause. But it’s also certainly possible it wasn’t the cause.

I’m not sure how those cartridge filters work, but with the traditional screw-on filters, I’ve had a leak caused when some grit got between the oil filter seal and the metal surface, which created some groves in the metal sealing surface as the filter was twisted on. I was able to fix that with a little sandpaper to smooth the groves out. Suggest you visit your shop again, or another shop, and ask them to remove the filter and do a little look-see for something like that.

Since oil leaks can be caused by any of a dozen different sources, the only way to fix it if you can’t see the source is to eliminate each of them, one by one. From my DIY’er experience, the most common cause of small, difficult to find oil leaks on econo-boxes is the valve cover. Sometime all you need to do is torque the bolts to the factory service manual specification, but no more than that.

The only other idea I can come up with is there’s a dye technique that can be used to find oil leaks. First you clean the engine from all oil the best you can. Then you put the dye into the crankcase, and over time it will leak out along with the oil. You can see where it is leaking with a special UV lamp.


#5

Is it even remotely possible that you don’t have a leak and whoever did the oil change accidently spilled a little oil on the front of the engine?


#6

"The only other idea I can come up with is there’s a dye technique that can be used to find oil leaks. First you clean the engine from all oil the best you can. Then you put the dye into the crankcase, and over time it will leak out along with the oil. You can see where it is leaking with a special UV lamp. "

George and I are on the same page on this one. If you really want to find the leak (if there is one) the UV sensitive dye, available with blacklight from parts stores or over the internet, is the way to go.