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      11-19-2011, 12:41 PM   #1
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Oil Leak & Preventative Maintenance Input Wanted

So, I'm about to purchase a home and I've been crazy anal trying to plan for expenses next year. As a result, I've taken my car to the shop 2 times during the fall to see if any repairs were on the horizon. I've basically been trying to find a problem, well on my third trip to the shop I finally found one.

Occasionally, over the course of the last 6 months I've noticed that my oil gauge can sometimes get hung-up. There's a constant clock ticking on the screen. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. A month ago, I got a low oil light and took it in to the shop. I asked them to change the oil, notified them of the warning light and asked them to double check all my coolant and wiper fluid lines (my wiper fluid line had a leak which necessitated my last to the shop). I constantly fear a cooling system failure *so I always have them check it.

I didn't explicitly ask them to check for an oil leak, but I did advise them that my oil level light had gone on.

Last weekend it was raining so I was having a little fun accelerating to lose traction. I wasn't going that crazy, but I was accelerating a little bit hard. When I parked my car in the gym parking lot, there was a burning scent. I though it was tire burn. The next morning when I started the car there was a burning scent that I could smell because the heater was on full blast. The scent dissipated within a minute, but came back later in the evening when I started again, (and then dissipated again).

The scent is gone, but I decided to take it back to the shop and my mechanic opens my hood and finds a leak on the left side of my engine block. He wasn't too concerned, he said that "probably a screw came loose" and that I could keep driving it until he had time to look into it after thanksgiving.

I guess I'm writing this as a form of therapy. I thought I had vetted out any problems with my first two visits, but I actually believe that they missed this leak. I think its been there the whole time and they've just not looked for it. Perhaps if I had been more emphatic about the need to check everything, they would have discovered this earlier. Ultimately, I feel like working with a shop is kind of like a relationship *you need to just trust them to keep my car running. I suggest that they be as preventative as possible, but I'm not mandating that they adhere directly to Mike Miller's handbook. I would say that I've got a 70% preventative stance *all my fluids are perfect, but I'm not changing any parts that aren't broken.

Have you guy's had any similar experiences? Thanks!
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      11-19-2011, 03:02 PM   #2
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No thoughts, feedback?!
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      11-19-2011, 03:03 PM   #3
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I don't think this leak could happen over night from a little acceleration. I floor mine everyday and its still running fine. If something it could of been from the frequent checks that caused this problem. If they unscrewed the same bolt over and over again they might have weakened it.

It happened to me with the bleed screw for the radiator when I did a coolant change. I had a hard time unscrewing it and when i put it back I didn't realize I weakened it. So after a little heat the screw exploded.

Just a thought
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      11-19-2011, 03:58 PM   #4
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[quote=E-9-D;10833806] but I decided to take it back to the shop and my mechanic opens my hood and finds a leak on the left side of my engine block. He wasn't too concerned, he said that "probably a screw came loose" and that I could keep driving it until he had time to look into it after thanksgiving.

Ultimately, I feel like working with a shop is kind of like a relationship *you need to just trust them to keep my car running. {/QUOTE]

I get what you are saying but to the issue of trust, I would not trust anyone who says they are not concerned because "probably a screw came loose"!

Oil leaks happen and are generally not emergencies, however, if it was in, it was in long enough for him to do more than guess. I wouldn't accept that.
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      11-19-2011, 05:33 PM   #5
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[quote=E30M3Driver;10834558]
Quote:
Originally Posted by E-9-D View Post
but I decided to take it back to the shop and my mechanic opens my hood and finds a leak on the left side of my engine block. He wasn't too concerned, he said that "probably a screw came loose" and that I could keep driving it until he had time to look into it after thanksgiving.

Ultimately, I feel like working with a shop is kind of like a relationship *you need to just trust them to keep my car running. {/QUOTE]

I get what you are saying but to the issue of trust, I would not trust anyone who says they are not concerned because "probably a screw came loose"!

Oil leaks happen and are generally not emergencies, however, if it was in, it was in long enough for him to do more than guess. I wouldn't accept that.
The shop is very accommodating, I drove up and immediately he looked under the trunk real quick finding the leak in a matter of seconds.

Ultimately, perhaps I need to go all-in on preventative maintenance. Just do the stuff that Mike suggests and have peace of mind...
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      11-19-2011, 05:36 PM   #6
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why not check the basics for oil leaks:

valve cover gasket
oil filter housing - check for cracks, and leaks around the cap
oil filter housing gasket- check this area for leaks.

since you say you can smell the burned oil, im leaking to a valve cover gasket, which is a common, easy repair.
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      11-19-2011, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by express705 View Post
why not check the basics for oil leaks:

valve cover gasket
oil filter housing - check for cracks, and leaks around the cap
oil filter housing gasket- check this area for leaks.

since you say you can smell the burned oil, im leaking to a valve cover gasket, which is a common, easy repair.
I was going to suggest the same exact thing. Sounds like VC gasket.

The oil level sensor won't respond until the engine oil is above a certain temp and the engine has been idling for a minute or so.
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      11-20-2011, 12:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunnerxq View Post
I don't think this leak could happen over night from a little acceleration. I floor mine everyday and its still running fine. If something it could of been from the frequent checks that caused this problem. If they unscrewed the same bolt over and over again they might have weakened it.

It happened to me with the bleed screw for the radiator when I did a coolant change. I had a hard time unscrewing it and when i put it back I didn't realize I weakened it. So after a little heat the screw exploded.

Just a thought
I'm pretty sure the coolant drain plugs are one time use as are many of the screws and fasteners in our cars.
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      11-20-2011, 01:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesM3M5 View Post
The oil level sensor won't respond until the engine oil is above a certain temp and the engine has been idling for a minute or so.
I find it takes about 3 to 5 miles of moderate driving - depending on the ambient air temp. Prior to that, you get the ticking clock as per the design.

Unfortunately, on the NA models (no temp gauge) that's about the only way to tell the motor has warmed up.

Tom
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      11-28-2011, 02:50 PM   #10
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So it turns out you guys were right. Its a valve cover gasket.

What do you guys think about the preventative maintenance questions I posed earlier? Didn't hear any feedback on that part of the thread.
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