Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Oil Pan Gasket Replacement

I recently had my gasket replaced and 24 hours later, there were several oil leaks in my driveway and oil dripping from my 99 Toyota Corolla every time I parked. I brought it back to the shop this am since they were no open on Saturday. My question is they stated it might just be a loose filter and/or a bad filter. I paid $424 for this service including an oil change. My brother-in-law stated this was very high priced. I feel it is in the ballpark but now am awaiting an answer as to what the problem is. Help! This shop does have a AAA rating as well as a BBB rating.

Please tell us why you had the gasket replaced, and how that leaking compares to what’s happening now.

There’s a good chance the oil pan gasket was never leaking to begin with and this was a misdiagnosis. That’s also a common misdiagnosis. Oil pan gasket leaks are not near as common as they were in the old days of cork gaskets, 4 piece gasket sets, etc.

Since they bring up a loose or bad filter (likely another bogus diagnosis) this gets into the area of the oil pressure sending unit. Sending unit leaks are common so I would clean that particular part off and check it again after running the engine a bit.

How many miles does the car have on it and how much oil are you using?

Oil drips on old high mileage engines are common (look at all the oil spots in the mall parking spaces) and do not necessaryi;y need addressing. As gaskets age, they compress, losing their pressure against the surfaces and allowing seepage of pressurized fluids. This in itself does not necessitate repair, as along as the oil level is kept above the fill line.

Your engine has numerous such gaskets. Perhaps the most common to eventually allow leakage is the front main seal. That’s a rubber seal at the front of the crankshaft that holds back the oil in the crankcase. The crankshaft spins inside this rubber seal, and they do wear out with time. Often, with high mileage engines, they’re changed when the timing belt is changed, because that’s when the mechanics is right there anyway.

In short, I doubt if your problem is serious enough to be investing money in, but I would suggets that you have the tech change the main seal when you get the next timing belt change.

I agree that is very high price for an oil pan gasket on a Corolla. If the drips are from near the front of the engine, I’d be concerned that it might be the front crankshaft oil seal.

But with any vehicle, oil can drain from any one of a number of places, and the oil always migrates to the bottom of the engine where it catches on the oil pan and makes it look like the oil pan gasket or rear main seal is leaking. Most of the time it is neither.

Mountainbike has a good suggestion about the main seal (front crankshaft oil seal), but if it is leaking at the rate you indicate, the leak can get worse very fast. These are capable of dumping all the oil in your engine within a few minutes when they really let go. How soon are you due for a timing belt?