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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a used 2010 Ford Escape a month ago and have been leaking a substantial amount of oil the last two weeks. This is my first car and I know almost nothing about them, but am learning!

I took it to a mechanic who told me I had four leaks: valve cover, timing cover, and oil pan (and a transmission leak that they don't do at that shop). The repair costs are almost $1700. I'm taking it for a second opinion today, but am curious if anyone else had this problem or if you can tell from my horrible photo if that estimate is reasonable. Any advice would help thank you!
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I cannot identify by the photo which engine is installed, but will say that the mechanic named just about all the oil control seals that are used when the engine is assembled. I.e., didn't leave anything out, and if you replace them ALL, odds are you will fix the leaking seal along with all the others that may NOT be leaking.
The photo looks like the bottom of the oil pan along the side facing the radiator. It appears you have a drop or so on the bottom of the engine, but nothing on the oil pan itself. IOW, a drop here and there, but not a buildup in one position. Of course there may be other spots that have droplets forming. The left side appears to have oil also.
If you have a leak at the end of the engine where the transmission is attached, at the bottom of the 'bell housing', that could be a rear main seal leak. If it uses transmission fluid, it could be the front transmission seal(converter hub). Need more pictures....
A significant amount of oil is not shown in the picture posted. What is your definition of 'significant amount of oil'?
If you have a puddle in the spot where you park, and it is a new puddle every day, that is significant, especially if you need to add oil between changes as the level indicated on the dipstick is in the ADD area. If you have to add a quart every 500 miles, then you have a leak that may be worthy of spending $$ to fix. If you add a quart every 1000 miles, another story, different in that the leak is less severe. You can also consume oil by burning along with the fuel.
I have a V6 with about 155,000 miles on the odometer. I just replaced the cam cover seals, taking roughly 5-6 hours, taking my time, taking breaks, and without use of assists available to professionals. I had a slow seep that would leave oil on the bolts holding the A/C compressor. I assumed(!) that it was seepage down the front (radiator) side of the engine. I replaced both front and rear seals, AND the PCV valve. If you have a PCV valve that is clogged, it may limit airflow through the inside of the engine, where all the parts move and the OIL lives. If it develops pressure inside, it can push oil out the easiest spot it can find. It can develop pressure if the PCV valve is not allowing flow, as some gases leak past the piston rings into the crankcase when the engine is running. ALL engines have that leakage, called 'blowby', to some degree, generally more as an engine ages. So, if the PCV is not functioning, replacing it may reduce oil leakage. You can test for PCV function by having the engine running at idle, and removing the small air tube that connects from the air cleaner to the top of the cam cover. A working PCV will develop a slight suction on that tube if you were to cover it with a digit, say, a thumb. If you get no suction, the PCV may be dorked, sticky, clogged, non-functional by any means. The 4-cylinder engines made by Ford in the past may or may not have an actual PCV valve. Escort engines made in the 1980's used a fix orifice and did not have a PCV, so you mileage may vary.

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I had a significant leak on my 3.0L V6. It was so bad there I could not identify where it was leaking from. The entire bottom and front side of the engine was covered in oil. It looked like a shootout from a Quentin Tarrantino movie... As the exhaust got hot it would smoke from under the hood. Again, significant leak.

Since it's an 05 with some rot issues and a dead 4WD transfer case, I mostly ignored it until I could replace the truck and junk it.

Many months later, it threw an oil pressure light. The oil pressure sensor switches are known to cause this so I ordered one and installed it because it was cheap and easy to do. Guess what? The switch was also leaking oil. Now there's no oil leaks. Like none. Zip.

That pressure sensor switch was leaking and since it's behind the AC compressor, it hid itself well. The oil made its way to the belt and slung itself over the entire bottom and front of the engine.

Even though the switch requires the AC compressor to be removed, it's only a 30 minute job because the AC is on the front side of the motor right under the front bumper. I don't have a lift so I used wheel ramps for better clearance. Just three bolts and swing the compressor out of the way - you don't need to disconnect any refrigerant lines. Change the switch with a deep socket and reassemble.

John

EDIT: remember, all motors with high miles or a lot of age leak some. Substantial can mean anything. To me, that's a two inch puddle any time it's parked. To others, that could any seeping that visible on the engine. Is it leaving a drop, two drops, or a small puddle?

Any oil that leaves a drop or two or more should be investigated, but on an older engine you generally see some seepage from the timing cover, oil pan, front crank seal, etc, but only seepage, not dripping. If you're just seeing some dampness and no puddles, I'd be inclined to ignore it.
 

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I just bought a used 2010 Ford Escape a month ago and have been leaking a substantial amount of oil the last two weeks. This is my first car and I know almost nothing about them, but am learning!

I took it to a mechanic who told me I had four leaks: valve cover, timing cover, and oil pan (and a transmission leak that they don't do at that shop). The repair costs are almost $1700. I'm taking it for a second opinion today, but am curious if anyone else had this problem or if you can tell from my horrible photo if that estimate is reasonable. Any advice would help thank you!
Welcome to the city, mags

I would strongly recommend going to more than one shop for estimates/diagnosis. Look at some reviews for shops around you, and which ones have treated 'everyone' fairly.

But first I would inquire where you purchased the car one month ago, and see if you can't go back to them for some resolution.

I hate to say this, but a lot of people will treat the elderly/women differently when you walk into a shop. If you have a brother, dad, uncle, friend that could go with you to the mechanic… I would suggest that.
you said it was major oil leak, and you are obviously willing to crawl under the car… Put a piece of cardboard underneath it so you can see where exactly the puddle is beginning, then you know where to look up at from underneath and try to trace where the major leak actually is.
I strongly recommend some sort of glasses to protect your eyes when underneath a car. Allow the car to cool down for several hours before you touch anything.

you are already ahead of the game, you found the city(us), and the only dumb question is the one not asked. ( :

I would strongly recommend joining something like AAA. it's not expensive, and you will never be stranded as long as you have cell service.

Rereading this, sorry to go dad on you... lol
 

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I think I just figured out the photo position. It is a 4-cylinder, and the photo is looking in/up showing the front(belt) end of the engine to the left, and the bottom of the A/C compressor directly above the oil pan sealing surface.
GIven the drops collecting on the compressor, you have a seeping cam cover gasket. That is the set I just replaced on a 3.0, which as two. A 4 only has one. It really is not difficult to replace the cam cover gasket, though I have not done it. Unless there is some restriction on access I do not know about, it should be a minimally difficult task.
The things to disconnect are not many, with the main ones being the injectors and the spark plugs along with the COPs that make them spark.
I had just about the same amount of oil dripping from the compressor, and just checked the other day, with no drops forming. To me, so far, that indicates that replacing the cam cover has slowed or eliminated the seepage that was collecting. I will keep checking now and again. I am at about 155,000 miles, so the rest of the sealing is likely on the way to needing replacement, but it may or may not get done. The engine does not leave drops on the garage floor, neither does it seem to need additional oil between changes. Slowing down the seepage may cut the use significantly.
FWIW, repairing just one of your leaks may give you adequate service leaving the others to keep slowly leaking. The cam cover should be doable. I would check for a video on YT. A minimal tool set would be needed, at least I think so.
tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome to the city, mags

I would strongly recommend going to more than one shop for estimates/diagnosis. Look at some reviews for shops around you, and which ones have treated 'everyone' fairly.

But first I would inquire where you purchased the car one month ago, and see if you can't go back to them for some resolution.

I hate to say this, but a lot of people will treat the elderly/women differently when you walk into a shop. If you have a brother, dad, uncle, friend that could go with you to the mechanic… I would suggest that.
you said it was major oil leak, and you are obviously willing to crawl under the car… Put a piece of cardboard underneath it so you can see where exactly the puddle is beginning, then you know where to look up at from underneath and try to trace where the major leak actually is.
I strongly recommend some sort of glasses to protect your eyes when underneath a car. Allow the car to cool down for several hours before you touch anything.

you are already ahead of the game, you found the city(us), and the only dumb question is the one not asked. ( :

I would strongly recommend joining something like AAA. it's not expensive, and you will never be stranded as long as you have cell service.

Rereading this, sorry to go dad on you... lol
No thank you so much for the advice! I was definitely nervous of being taken advantage at a shop bc i'm a younger woman who clearly doesnt know too much about cars. Unfortunately, I can't go back to the place where I bought it bc i recently moved to another state, which also means I have no male family or friends yet to take with me to the mechanic /: but, I will be sure to take it to another mechanic for a second opinion! Until then, i've been checking the oil and bought some that fits with my type of car in case I need to refill until I figure it out.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think I just figured out the photo position. It is a 4-cylinder, and the photo is looking in/up showing the front(belt) end of the engine to the left, and the bottom of the A/C compressor directly above the oil pan sealing surface.
GIven the drops collecting on the compressor, you have a seeping cam cover gasket. That is the set I just replaced on a 3.0, which as two. A 4 only has one. It really is not difficult to replace the cam cover gasket, though I have not done it. Unless there is some restriction on access I do not know about, it should be a minimally difficult task.
The things to disconnect are not many, with the main ones being the injectors and the spark plugs along with the COPs that make them spark.
I had just about the same amount of oil dripping from the compressor, and just checked the other day, with no drops forming. To me, so far, that indicates that replacing the cam cover has slowed or eliminated the seepage that was collecting. I will keep checking now and again. I am at about 155,000 miles, so the rest of the sealing is likely on the way to needing replacement, but it may or may not get done. The engine does not leave drops on the garage floor, neither does it seem to need additional oil between changes. Slowing down the seepage may cut the use significantly.
FWIW, repairing just one of your leaks may give you adequate service leaving the others to keep slowly leaking. The cam cover should be doable. I would check for a video on YT. A minimal tool set would be needed, at least I think so.
tom
thanks tom you have been very helpful I will check out some videos and maybe facetime my dad so he can maybe help me as well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had a significant leak on my 3.0L V6. It was so bad there I could not identify where it was leaking from. The entire bottom and front side of the engine was covered in oil. It looked like a shootout from a Quentin Tarrantino movie... As the exhaust got hot it would smoke from under the hood. Again, significant leak.

Since it's an 05 with some rot issues and a dead 4WD transfer case, I mostly ignored it until I could replace the truck and junk it.

Many months later, it threw an oil pressure light. The oil pressure sensor switches are known to cause this so I ordered one and installed it because it was cheap and easy to do. Guess what? The switch was also leaking oil. Now there's no oil leaks. Like none. Zip.

That pressure sensor switch was leaking and since it's behind the AC compressor, it hid itself well. The oil made its way to the belt and slung itself over the entire bottom and front of the engine.

Even though the switch requires the AC compressor to be removed, it's only a 30 minute job because the AC is on the front side of the motor right under the front bumper. I don't have a lift so I used wheel ramps for better clearance. Just three bolts and swing the compressor out of the way - you don't need to disconnect any refrigerant lines. Change the switch with a deep socket and reassemble.

John

EDIT: remember, all motors with high miles or a lot of age leak some. Substantial can mean anything. To me, that's a two inch puddle any time it's parked. To others, that could any seeping that visible on the engine. Is it leaving a drop, two drops, or a small puddle?

Any oil that leaves a drop or two or more should be investigated, but on an older engine you generally see some seepage from the timing cover, oil pan, front crank seal, etc, but only seepage, not dripping. If you're just seeing some dampness and no puddles, I'd be inclined to ignore it.
haha love the tarantino reference! thank you for the info, it's really helpful! This was the amount of oil leaking overnight. Not sure why it's in a few places and seems like a lot to me, but am not sure.
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haha love the tarantino reference! thank you for the info, it's really helpful! This was the amount of oil leaking overnight. Not sure why it's in a few places and seems like a lot to me, but am not sure.
Well Mags, You got friends here in the city! ( :

OK, looking at your oil stain it seems like the front one with the big circle is the main problem. You are correct, you are losing a fair amount of oil.(The next thing to do is slide the cardboard back underneath with white paper over the drip spots, so you can tell what color the fluids are)
I believe the other drips are just blowing back from that point as you drive. Checking your oil regularly, and not letting it go dry will keep it alive until you can repair it. you are on it my friend ( :
I will advise against using any 'stop leak' products.

your oil level is fine so long it is between the two hashmarks on the bottom of the stick. You can keep track of what it wants, so you know that you are adding 1 quart a week, or 1 quart a month. Try not to overfill, it is usually 1 quart between the two hashmarks

google search for 'repair shops near me', then look at the reviews… See which ones have good reviews from women too.
I think you are doing good, keep asking questions.
If you decide to dig into the project, make sure you are wearing surgical/mechanic gloves.
There are a lot of toxins in automotive products.

AAA would also give you recommendations for repair shops that are reputable. If you let us know your general location, someone may know a good mechanic to suggest.(I know a great one in Denver)
 

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haha love the tarantino reference!
Thanks. It's so hard being an internet comedian these days and the pay really stinks.

This was the amount of oil leaking overnight. Not sure why it's in a few places and seems like a lot to me, but am not sure.
Yep, that's enough to be concerned about. As for why the large area, it's simply because any oil leak a bit higher on the engine tends to work in several directions towards the ground, and then you have the radiator fans blowing on it which also moves it around. In my case, the entire bottom third of the engine was soaked in oil and I could not find out where it was because there was fresh oil everywhere. I stumbled across it when I changed the oil pressure sensor switch because it was illuminating the red (and ominous looking) oil pressure light. Once I corrected that, the oil leak disappeared completely. The strange thing is that even as I changed it, it didn't seem to be the cause of the leak.

Getting back to that cardboard, you also can't completely trust that the biggest spot is directly under the leak although that would be nice. I had a car once that seemed to be leaking from the transmission when it had a valve cover leak on the other side of the motor.

As Mountain Escape suggested, verifying what exactly is leaking is also important. For all we know, that could be power steering fluid.

An oil switch as the source would be great (as mine was) because it's quick and easy. Valve covers aren't bad either but take more time. Other things like crank shaft seals or timing cover gaskets require much more work and cost, but you don't want to commit to those repairs until you know for a fact they're the source of the leak. Imagine spending $1700 and finding it still leaking?

John
 
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