OIL ISSUES 1996 Toyota

Old 10-12-08, 06:05 AM
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OIL ISSUES 1996 Toyota

Hello! I am a female college student and know nothing about cars but I will try my best.

Ok so here is the deal:

I have a 1996 Toyota Camry LE 2.2-liter 4-cylinder. In April, I got into a wreck and we had to replace the battery and the radiator. (This was all done by a reputable mechanic). Well cosmetically my car was not looking too good. So we had to replace the hood. Well when we did that we just opted for the cheap black standard hood.

It is now October and for a while it has been leaking oil. Because I am a broke college student I have just been getting oil changes every 3000 miles. My car has over 205,000 miles on it. But I have been getting oil changes on time and when the oil is discolored.

Well my mechanic said the reason for the oil leak is occurring under the car is because the oil pan was rusted out. (This was in May). Well now in October, it is spraying and it is very evident with the black hood that is not painted.

There is oil all over the hood! It is in little drops and then where the headlights are it is the most severe. It is definitely oil (at first I thought it could be from the radiator) and it looks as if it is rising where the headlights are.

Once you left the hood up you can definitely tell that the oil leak is on/around the engine.

I was wondering if all this can be cause from the oil pan? And would it be spraying if it was?

I was wondering if anyone knew any ideas of what can be causing all of this. I just don't want to get ripped off since I do not have a clue when it comes to vehicles.
Old 10-12-08, 06:47 AM
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If the oil pan was leaking, I would think it would leave oil on the ground more, and not be spraying back up into the engine bay, so I think it could be something else.

Your best option right now would be to clean the engine bay and see if you can pinpoint the leak while the engine is running.

Also, if there are any technical type high schools around you, you may see if they have a auto class. Sometimes they won't charge you for repairs because they will use your car to teach their students and often time, do a pretty good job.

How is your oil level between oil changes? Do you often have to refill? If you are finding "oil" near the headlights and hood, maybe your transmission cooler is leaking? Check all your fluid levels and check back with us.
Old 10-13-08, 09:48 PM
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To add on to what Mark said:

Engine bay cleaning: This month's issue (September/October) of Project Car magazine (available at B&N or BAM) has picture instructions about how to clean an engine bay. p.86; $30 in parts assuming you are spending $9 in towels. Take heed about covering your electrical connections.

Leaking from the pan: you can take light colored cardboard to give you an idea of about where the oil is leaking. What I've done is to place cardboard under the car when you are done driving for the day. Mark with a sharpie on the cardboard where the each front tire is. Perhaps make a note which side is driver's. Come out the next day and pull it out to see if you have any oil on it. You can measure from the sharpie marks to give you an idea where it's dripping from ("six inches from left wheel".)

One question: do you know how to check your oil? If not, look here:

After a bit, you can figure out that you are using X quarts of oil every Y miles. This would tell you how bad the leak is.
Old 10-14-08, 05:09 AM
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Three common places for oil leaks on your vintage Toy:

1. Distributor shaft seal
2. Camshaft end seal (timing belt/gear end; opposite end from distributor)
3. Oil pump

The #2 & 3 leaks are in the timing belt area and the oil could get thrown around a bit.

Also check oil filler cap (on valve cover) and PCV hoses.

Like Mark, I would think an oil pan leak would be tough to get oil in the places you describe, like the headlight area.

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