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

What kind of seal might it have been?

My dad has a 97 Dodge Neon 4 cylinder. The car has been leaking oil, and on Sat the leak grew and was real bad. He took it to the only shop he could find open who put it up on the lift and said the leak was coming from the front of the engine. On monday they did the work ($286) and told my dad it was a seal on the front of the engine behind the flywheel. My dad is old and doesn’t hear well and the mechanics english was not real strong and his writing on the recepit is not real clear. As I am worried my dad might have gotten taken, is there a replaceable seal on the front of the engine that could go and cause a leak? They showed my dad the leak as the car was on the lift and running as that was only when the leak occured. I am concerned my dad was taken. He says he drove it around and such and didn’t see any leaking when he picked it up and left it running in his drivway for a while upon getting home and no leak. Just wondering?

They May Have Saved Dad An Engine. A Main Crankshaft Seal Leaking Badly Could Result In Low Oil And Engine Damage. Since It Was The Only Shop He Could Find, He Did Alright.

Don’t upset dad and the next time you go by the shop you can talk to them for an eplanation or give them a call. I don’t think they hurt Dad too much. It sounds like it could be a reasonable repair at a reasonable cost.


My dad said he could see where it was coming from and it only leaked while the engine was running, I just wasn’t sure what kind of seal would be up there. The mechanic said the seal isn’t that expensive, it’s the labor in replacing it that is the cost.

It actually sounds reasonable to me. A Crank seal is NOT that easy to replace…Especially on a small fwd vehicle. You have to remove a lot of stuff just to drop the oil pan. As CSA stated…a bad leak from a main seal could leak all the oil out in hours…thus destroying an engine.

The repair does not sound like a problem to me. A crank seal can easily cause a problem like this. It was leaking before; it’s not leaking now and there is no reason to suspect your dad got taken.

The seal is cheap, getting to it is another matter altogether. An engine rear main seal or transmission torque converter seal is also cheap but the transmission has to come out to change it.

The only question about this repair would be IF the harmonic balancer was grooved up due to wear and the seal was replaced without taking the wear groove into consideration. In a case like this it could start leaking again in the future. As to when, who knows.

How would you take that into consideration? What would have to be done?

This is not a tough one indy. Did the car stop leaking oil or not? If it stopped leaking oil then I just really have to wonder what you’re asking about.

As noted, the crank seal is probably what was done. There’s also probably a cam shaft seal, but the crank seal would be most likely given what you described.

Well A) I was trying to find out what might have been the issue since my dad is unsure
B) Was it a fair price he was charged
C) Could something be done to cover the leak for a while only to have it reapear…

I trust no one unless I actually see the work done and have the old parts…

In that case I can’t really elaborate on what’s been said. Crank seal was probably it. This is not an odd thing. The price is pretty good.

There are things that can be dumped in the crankcase that can sometimes slow down or stop minor seal leaks. But it sounds like his wasn’t minor. The labor/part warranty is often 90 days. Have your dad get the oil changed. If someone did this, whatever they added should mostly go out with the old oil & it will be leaking again within 90 days if he drives somewhat regularly.

Sounds like it was either a front main seal or crankshaft seal. Neither is easy to replace, so the price is good. If the car was leaking oil badly when it was taken to the shop, and is now no longer leaking, the repair was successful. It’s not like you can stop a severe leak by pouring an additive into the crankcase or slathering the leak in RTV. You can try, but it won’t work. I don’t think your dad was taken for a ride, and by the way, some of the best, most straight-shooting and honest mechanics I have ever met are the ones who don’t speak English very well, typically Hispanics. You can get some amazing deals out of those guys.

The consensus here is that your dad got his moneys worth and it needed that repair. I fully agree with the consensus.

The flywheel is at the back of the engine, but the crankshaft seal is at the front, just behind the timing gear. This requires removing the timing belt to get at, so unless the timing belt was recently replaced, it should have been at this time. That is the only flaw I see in the deal.

There are 2 ways of going about the repair of a worn whatever. In this case one of those methods would be a new balancer. The other would by installing a Speedi-Sleeve. These sleeves are stainless steel, available in many sizes, and are simply a thin sleeve designed to slide over the worn area and provide a new surface for the seal to ride on.

It’s the responsibility of the person changing the seal to check this kind of stuff and make the call from there as to whether any wear is negligible enough to not worry about or whether something additional is needed.

If it’s leaking again in 6 months then apparently the wrong call was made but remaining optimistic, I’d like to think that things will remain fine.