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GENE, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 801
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Saturn: cyl..running rough..the spark plugs and air filter

Customer Question

This question concerns finding oil around one of the spark plugs, on a late 90's 4 cyl Saturn. My daughter called long distance with the question. The car was running rough, so she decided she would replace the spark plugs and air filter. As she and a friend removed the spark plug "cover", there was about 1" of oil down at the bottom and around the spark plug. Another guy, that is into hot rods, warned them not to remove the plug, but to get the car to a professional. He referred to a case where an aluminum head spark plug thread was damaged. When the engine was running the plug "shot out" causing a lot of damage. He claimed $6000. I'm trying to give her advice, but never heard of this oil problem. I'm aware that oil can leak into the combustion chamber through bad oil ring, valve guide or seal, blown head gasket. But never heard of oil leaking around a spark plug. The other three spark plug wells were dry.

What is most likely problem and what is path to fix it?

Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  GENE replied 10 years ago.
What has happened is the seal around the spark plug tube has leaked and allowed oil to enter the tube,this will require the valve cover gasket to be replaced,there is no danger of stripping the threads on the spark plug,no $6000 repair bill just a simple valve cover gasket repair and replacement of the spark plugs and the spark plug wires.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to GENE's Post: Thanks for your answer. I just talked to my daughter. She had taken the car to a recommended mechanic. They replaced the head gasket, as well as the valve cover gasket.

She plans to replace the spark plugs tonight. The mechanic said there should be no problem with the head spark plug threads, as long as she does the work when the engine is cold.
Expert:  GENE replied 10 years ago.
Great im glad i could help,please leave feed back for me and if you need any further help my name is XXXXX XXXXX i would be happy to help