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Toyotapro, ASE master tech
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 9974
Experience:  ASE Certified, 10+ years Lexus and Toyota Certified
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What is causing my oil leak under the car It started after

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What is causing my oil leak under the car? It started after I had my timing belt changed!
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Fixitman :

HelloCustomer what kind of vehicle is this?


2002 Toyota Highlander V-6


2002 Totoya Highlander V-6

Is the oil leak on the driver side, passenger side or in the front?

Did you ONLY have the belt replaced or were other items replaced at the same time?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I had a couple of belts replaced also. The leak appears to be more center or maybe slightly towards the passenger side. It's towards the front of the truck.
Did they replace the cam seals when they did the timing belt?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I will have to check the work order so let me go to the truck. Please give me about 5 minutes to get that information.

I will be here.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Here is the what the work order indicates-- Removed front engine cover, replace timing belt, reset cam and distributor timing. Other belts replace were vane pump, v-ribbed, and also torque drive shaft bolt.

Interesting way for them to word a timing belt job.

Was the oil canged also during this service?

do you only see the oil when the car is running or does it drip after shut off?

If you use a flashlight can you tell if this is dripping from the passenger side or the front of the engine? How big of a puddle is this leaving? Is the oil level low on the dipstick now?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes we had the oil and filter changed. The oil is a very small puddle about the size of a quarter and I see it after the car is turned off. Mostly from the spot on the floor. It is not using excessive oil - oil level is not low on the dipstick. It is dipping from the front but not dead center a little towards the passenger side about in line with the front tires.
Sorry I am trying desperately to visualize what you stated at the front but "in line with the tires?" So if you used a measuring stick from the front passenger tire is this puddle 6 inches, a foot or 2 feet from the inner side of the tire?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It is about 6 inches off center of the car or 2 feet from inside the passenger tire

Ok, this came from the oil filter then, you are likely seeing old oil that was drained not fresh oil.

The oil filter location is in the center front, when this is removed to be changed it is very easy to drop the filter and fill th subframe with oil which can continue to drip for days.

I recommend you have the shop that just did the service recheck this to be sure the oil filter is not leaking, likely what needs to be done here is the subframe just needs to be degreased and pressure washed out.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Now the leaks has been occuring for 4 months and when I took it back to the dealer they said that my radiator cap was leaking and replaced it. I just wonder if a seal around engine front cover could be leaking?
From your description you stated this was oil not coolant....are you sure that this is OIL and not a COOLANT leak? The coolant in your truck is a reddish pink color....
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
no it is not coolant and really never has been so I advised the dealer that the color was black not red color and I layed newspaper down to collect the dip for evidence.

There are only 2 items that can DRIP engine oil in this area of the vehicle.

1- The oil filter

2- The oil seals behind the timing belt cover (there are 2 cam seals and one crank seal located there) if eitehr of these leaks it will drip in that general area as well, these should have been repalced with the timing belt if you plan on keepoing the car long term.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
One last follow up are the seals expense to repair/replace? The problem am sure will be getting to that area!
The cam and crank seals under the timing cover should be done when a timing belt is done....because to access these seals the timing belt needs to be taken off to access them, so to do this while doing the belt only adds about $150 to the timing belt job. If you replace just these oil seals then your repair bill will be about 3 times this......if you can confirm that these seals are leaking then I would argue with the dealer that these SHOULD HAVE been recommended when the belt was off and that you should only be charged what the difference would have been with the belt already off. Does that make sense?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes it does! The other strange thing that happen was after the repairs were done I found another work order showing that the timing belt was replaced about 40k miles earlier and they overlooked the label on the body case! They refunded me $200 but it cost me $763 for the job. Thanks for your help!
you are very welcome.
Toyotapro, ASE master tech
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 9974
Experience: ASE Certified, 10+ years Lexus and Toyota Certified
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