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Oil seepage out of front cover-2000 Toyota Echo HELP!


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Just to let you know, I'm a 60+yr. old lady, who loves watching Scotty on youtube.  Well, here goes.  Got a 2000 Toyota Echo.  I bought it last November (-yeah, did not have it inspected first) with 102,000 miles on it.  Just had the oil changed for the first time since I bought it.  A local Chevrolet dealership did the oil change.  The invoice I got after the oil change says "has oil seepage out of front cover, requires further investigation".  I scheduled an appointment at a Toyota dealership next week to try and find out where the leak is coming from.  I can barely afford the $145 per hour diagnostic fee so it may end up that I find out what's causing the leak, but I can't afford to have it fixed.  If it's fixable.  I guess it's my fault for not having it inspected, but I needed a car and I did not have a lot of money.  Anyway, could someone please just give me the bad news and tell me how much something like this might cost to fix.  Or if it's even fixable.  Since I've had the Echo, I have never seen any fluids in my garage or on the driveway.  I make sure to check.  And even though I have my oil changed, I still check to make sure the oil is full and clean at regular intervals and that there are no leaks.  I don't know what kind of oil the previous owner used, but I put in a 5w30 sythetic blend and I am religious about having the oil changed on a regular basis.  This oil change was performed at least a 1000 miles before the due date on the last oil change because I'll be travelling about 175 miles in the car in a few weeks and I wanted to have everything ready.  I live in a small town.  If my car breaks down I have no one to call and I'll be walking a very long way to get home.  I'm really glad there's a place for people like me, who are not mechanics, to ask questions.  I'm a single lady, who just moved to a small town and I have no one else to ask.

4 Answers

Dealers are the worst possible place to bring your car, especially one whose age is measured in decades. I would not put much faith in anything they tell you. A good independent mechanic is the ticket. (Definitely NOT a chain like Firestone or Pep Boys.)

How bad is the leak? If it's just a little seepage you can leave it alone for now and keep an eye on it. I could well just be something simple like a valve cover gasket dripping oil down to the timing cover, if there is a leak at all.

I would suggest something like a AAA membership or similar service would be a good thing to have if driving an old car long distances so you at least have someone to call if it breaks down on the road.

Thanks for the advice. I found a small spot of oil on the left side of the valve cover today and I will have a local mechanic ( has many good reviews) look at it next week. I really baby any car I own and I like to be proactive. One question I have is if it's the valve cover gasket that's bad would that mean there may be oil in the spark plug holes? I guess you can only tell when you get the valve cover off. I will have them and the spark plug coils replaced if there is though. Is that what you would do?

If the valve cover gasket is leaking there would likely be some oil on the outside of the plugs but it would take a lot of it to affect the coils. A valve cover gasket leak is usually a minor issue unless it's leaking a large amount.


Don't trust or take your car to a dealer.  They are in the business of ripping you off.  As @chucktobias pointed out, find an independent mechanic that won't take advantage of you.  Dealers will tell you anything and flat out lie to charge you more money.

I think I may have found a good mechanic yesterday. He has good reviews so we'll see what happens. I think I may have found where the oil seepage is coming from also. I looked around the Valve cover and saw a bit of oil on the left side near a bend. The spot of oil seemed to be dried ( probably baked on because of hot engine). I took pictures of it and will show the mechanic. I saw a video that said if your Valve cover gasket is bad, it would likely show up where there are bends in the gasket. I also watched Scotty's Jan 8, 2013 youtube video: "How to fix engine oil leaks in your car". I know it might be something else, but at least I've narrowed down what the problem might be. Toyota dealership charges $145 per hour for diagnostic so I hope Scotty may have saved me some money. I would love to try and fix this myself, but I fear I'll get to a point where I need something I didn't know I would need and I will have to walk miles to get the part, if they even have it. Again, I live in a small town where they don't seem to know a lot about Toyota's for some reason. Thanks


I have a bad experience with a Toyota dealer and I think I'm not the only one here. Try to find a trustworthy mechanic.

If you are not sure what is leaking, here are Scotty's tips.

Good luck!


I looked around the Valve cover and saw a bit of oil on the left side near a bend

Valve cover seepage is such a minor issue I do not think it's even worth addressing at this time.

But as far as the repair, The gasket is cheap (maybe $30), and it takes a few minutes to install.

Talk about price first - it should be total around or under $100.


Scotty has a video on performing the repair:

And an old short one: