Rear main seal

When a rear main seal starts to leak do you have to replace it. Volvo wants $1400 and a a local shop says $850. With all the cars leaking oil in parking lots its obvious many people don’t repair this problem. The car is a 2000 volvo S70 with 122,000 miles and run like a top.

Try a high mileage oil like Valvoline MaxLife. These have additives to reduce oil leakage past seals.

The vehicle is ten years old with with 122,000 miles on it. Be it a Ford. BMW, GM, Toyota, Honda, etc… It’s showing it’s age.


Unless it becomes severe, it can be ignored…You DO check your oil level every week or two, right?

It is checked regularly and changed between 4-5000 miles since birth, usually at a volvo dealership

Generally, rear main seal leaks get worse very slowly.

Buy an oil drip tray for the garage floor.

When the car needs transmission work, that will be the time to replace the rear main seal.

My Volvo stick shift clutch failed at 150k miles. The rear main seal was not leaking so I left it alone. (bad decision) It started leaking at 175k miles and leaked until 250k miles when the second clutch failed. Then I replaced it.

Agree; this is an age-related thing in most cars. Nearly all my cars as they got 12 years or over developed some minor leaks.

Take one of your wife’s old cookie sheets and put some kitty litter on it and you’re all set with a cheap “fix”. But check the oil regularly; a minor leak can get worse and more oil can come out when driving at highway speed without you noticing it.

If the leak gets really bad you need a proper fix. The price quoted by the independent garage is about ball park.

How bad is the leak? Miles/quart? Unless it’s bad, fix is not needed.

The oil change guys at my shop pointed out my rear main leak on my 92 Explorer…

four years ago.

At merely 1/2 quart of oil loss between oil changes, i still have not opted to replace it.

Keep an eye on your oil loss and spots or puddles where you park.
Start saving for the eventual job.
Replace it later when you have both the money and the down time.

I agree it is something to monitor,please don’t have any expectation that the rate of leakage will decrease.

Spent close to 8 years working in Switzerland (not all as a mechanic) and oil leaks whould cause your car to fail and inspection, I wonder how this would go over here in the States?

I must say it was nice not to walk through oil spots in the parking lot. I have no idea why it was considered a safety issue.

I’d also suggest checking your PCV valve. The Positive Crankcase Ventilation system is the way by which your crankcase (where your crankshaft resides) relieves pressure. If the PCV valve is stuck it can allow pressure to build in the crankcase and force oil through old worn main seals.

If the seal is just dirty and distorted you might give Auto-Rx a try. If it’s damaged, then nothing will fix it other than replacement.

Is this engine clean inside …if you can see through the oil cap, that is?

Not all “leaking rear main seals” are leaking. Just because you see oil in this area doesn’t mean the oil came from there. Oil can migrate around and often migrates to this area before dripping. It could just be the pan gasket.

$800-$1400 buys many cases of oil. I personally would not bother addressing this unless leak rates is more than 1qt per 1000 miles.

There might be other local shops that might offer you less… Anyway this is just an advice to all since its already a two year bump… Firstly, if the leakage is too back and serious better replace it… Dont risk. The other part might be affected and you have to spend more. Also make a deal with auto parts shops you know best. or ask from your friends whats best in your town… I wanted to be honest that im not really the mechanic type but you just have to be wise with everything…