Technician inspecting the underside of a car

The Internet Can Be A Useful Tool For Every Level Of Mechanic

I think the dealer is right, Alvah. The leak is probably coming from the oil pump. The pump itself may actually be fine. But it’s got a bunch of odd-shaped seals that are built into its machined openings, and those seals are what eventually leak. So the solution is to replace the pump.

If you don’t know your way around this engine, it’s easy to think that the oil pan is what’s leaking. The leaky pump will actually let oil run down to the edge of the pan, so it mimics a bad oil pan gasket.

If your local guys had gone online and done some research, they probably would have figured that out and saved you a bunch of money. So I do fault them for not taking advantage of a resource that every mechanic ought to be using these days: the internet.

There’s a lot of terrible information out there, too. No doubt. But when faced with a tricky problem, a savvy mechanic can weed through it and often find great clues in postings and YouTube videos from mechanics and even competent do-it-yourselfers.

So, I’d go back to those guys and say: “Hey, look. The dealership says it’s the oil pump. How about you credit me for some of the work you already did and give me a break on the oil pump replacement?”

If they’re as trusty as you say, they’ll take some responsibility for the goose chase and adjust the price. I think they owe you a shot at fixing this correctly.

And by the way, getting to the oil pump requires removing the oil pan again (that’s why you’ll need another new gasket when they put it all back together), removing the timing belt, the belt tensioner and the water pump, too. So if you’re due — or anywhere close to due — to replace those other parts, you might as well do them at the same time, since all you’ll be paying for is the parts, and not additional labor.

But I think replacing the oil pump will solve both your current problems, Alvah — the oil leak and what to do with that $1,400 Joe Biden sent you.

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