Oil leaking out of my spark plugs?

I have a 1996 Toyota Corolla with over 200 thousand miles on it, I went to start it today and it wouldn’t start. Popped the hood and one of the spark plug caps was lifted up, went to push it back down and oil was coming out of the port when i pushed down, lifted the spark plug out and the chamber was ful of oil. LOng question short, is this something worth fixing on this car? or am I pretty much up a creek?

You just need a valve cover gasket set.

At the bottom of the spark plug wells are O-ring seals. If these seals develope a leak the crankcase pressure leaks past the seals. This can push oil into the wells, and the crankcase pressure pushes the spark plug wires off the spark plugs.

Install a new valve cover gasket set and that should fix the problem.


The cylinder associated with that spark plug has bsd rings. It is time to move on.

My only problem with this is that I don’t really see it causing a no-start condition after running fine earlier. It would be more likely to develop a miss or drop a cylinder, leading to poor running but running nonetheless. There’s plenty of cars with the plugs-in-the-hole setup that are running around just fine with little pools of oil in there, so I wouldn’t be suprised if the problem is something else and you just never noticed this issue before.

No. It’s just a spark plug tube O-ring. This is a very common problem with these, and many other four cylinder overhead cam engines. Bad oil control rings cause oil burning, not external oil leaks. Bad compression rings can cause external oil leaks (blow-by), but only if it is really bad and will not target one spark plug tube O-ring. It will leak out pretty much all over the engine. I saw this once on a high performance Chevy 350 that was not properly broken in. The guy who owned that car couldn’t keep oil in it to save his life!