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Oil leak? Here are $2,100 reasons not to delay the repair

February 14, 2017

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This is the severely worn timing chain and gear from the Chevy Equinox, which had a rear main seal leak.

This is the severely worn timing chain and gear from the Chevy Equinox, which had a rear main seal leak.[/caption]Has your mechanic ever told you not to delay a repair - because doing so could ruin other parts of the car and cost you more in the long run?We give the same warning to our clients when necessary. And here's a prime example of why we do that: One recent client had delayed an oil leak repair for so long that it ended up costing her more than double it would have originally, and the engine was a day or two way from complete destruction.

What was the Oil Leak?

The vehicle was a Chevy Equinox, and it had an oil leak at the rear main seal of the engine. To be clear, replacing the rear main seal is a major repair in and of itself at a cost of about $1,700.The client knew the engine was leaking and kept putting more oil into the engine. That seems logical, right? Unfortunately, what she didn't know is how important oil and oil pressure are to modern day engines. Despite her efforts, the oil leak was severe enough that the SUV was always running on lower-than-desired oil pressure.As a result, there wasn't enough oil pressure to hold the timing chain and guides in position.

What Damage did the Oil Leak Cause?

Without enough oil pressure, the timing chain began to slide and move around. Think about the number of revolutions the timing chain makes mile after mile or minute after minute. (Think about the RPMs your engine runs at.) This put the timing chain under extreme stress. Over time, the metal components began to wear, allowing the timing chain to "slop around" all over the place.

What was the Needed Repair?

In addition to replacing the rear main seal, we also had to replace the timing chain and guides. This drove the repair cost from $1,700 to $3,900.If she had continued to drive the vehicle for another day or two, it is quite likely that the engine would have self-destructed.We understand this was a major repair from the get-go and not something to undertake lightly. But by delaying the repair, the client paid more than double the cost of the original repair.Don't let this happen to you. If you have an oil leak, know that it can cause problems with your engine bearings, the timing components, the engine cylinders and more. Be proactive about the oil leak and repair recommendations.If it's a major repair that you cannot afford right away, ask your mechanic what your options are. How severe is it? How soon before it gets worse? What risks do you take by continuing to drive with the leak?Understanding your options and being proactive can go a long way toward avoiding this nightmare repair scenario.As always, the team at Auto Lab is here if you have any questions for us.

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