Thursday, November 5, 2009

1994 Camry Oil Leak

Since I gave up the rollickin' Ford Fusion to save money when things looked bleakest for the family, I now tool around in a 1994 Toyota Camry with 220,000 miles, a busted up stereo, and a profound oil leak. The oil leak has become so bad that I can smell it burning when the engine heats up...this is not good. In fact, I have a feeling that it is very, very bad....

I'm calling Gregg's Japanese Auto to have them take a look and diagnose the problem. My fear is that the repair will come close to costing 1/2 of what the car is worth (thanks to Cash For Clunkers, the resale value on used Camry's ticked upwards) - when I registered the vehicle the DMV placed a value of $4700.00 on it, which was a shocker considering the miles.

Anyway, if anyone out there has any experience with older Camry oil leaks, I'd like to hear from you. Here are some more details:

The oil is pooling directly under the rear portion of the engine block, but drips all over. I can smell burning oil as the engine heats up and I am losing about a quart every two weeks driving less than 100 miles in that time frame....

Is it time to put this Camry out of its misery, or can it be saved?


  1. Well, I'm not much of a mechanic, but if you can smell the oil burning I would guess that means it's leaking out of the top of the engine and burning on the engine block rather than leaking from the bottom and dripping harmlessly to the road. That tells me it might be a head gasket.

    I don't know what a shop will charge you to replace a head gasket, but a quick google search tells me that one can be purchased for as low as $37.74, and if there isn't too much stuff in the way, could be a pretty easy repair.

    Here's hoping that you get an estimate that isn't too bad. Oh, and I once saw an episode of MacGyver in which he repaired bullet holes in a radiator with a few eggs. Perhaps you can use eggs to seal your oil leak as well.

  2. no no no, that camry is awesome!!! and aiden broke that radio SORRY

  3. I have a 1994 Camry with 160,000, and a pretty good oil leak. If you are leaking from the top it would most likely be the valve cover gasket leaking, not the head gasket, if your head gasket was blown or leaking you would have bigger problems and clues, like white smoke out the exhaust and oil in your radiator. Also the placement of the oil filter on the front of the motor (this is speaking of a 4 cyl Camry) is such that when you remove the filter you will spill a certain amount of oil on the front of the motor, even with several paper towels stuffed under it to catch as much as you can, motor heats up you will smell this oil burning. So cleaning oil off the motor should help this. I was surprised when I pressure washed my motor how I was expecting leaks up top but now don't see any leaking oil after 3000+ (up top anyway). I would pressure wash the motor and then see where it is leaking up top, underside leaks most likely will be oil pan gasket, rear main seal, and I read today under the oil pump. Changing your oil regularly will help prevent oil leaks, if you keep your oil topped off you will be okay. There are stop leak additives that will rejuvinate seals, but they will have to added continuously, they are not a one shot fix.