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Nissan Maxima Oil Leak

Q. Hi Vincent Ciulla, Recently I bought a 1996 Nissan Maxima SE with 120,000 miles on it. It is a 6 cylinder, automatic transmission. Due to minor oil leak, the seller replaced oil pan gasket and oil sending unit (I guess this is what it is called. it is referred to as SW Oil Pre.) Now there is no oil leak around the oil pan gasket and around the oil sending unit.

Nissan Maxima Oil Leak

Now after the car is driven for a while, there is some oil leak. few drops on the ground and then there is no more. I took it back to dealer, they test the car while running and noticed some minor oil leak coming from the areas that cover the timing chain housing.

This area is straight up from the oil pan. They said that there is another gasket around that area, that needs replacement. Although the part is very in-expensive, the labor is a lot and have estimated about $1,200.00. Also they said that I can drive the car until the oil leak really increases, and then do the repair.

Few Q's for you:
1. Is their diagnosis correct? Also estimate to repair?
2. If not correct, where else could be the source of leak?

BTW the car is in very good mechanical condition.


A. There is a timing chain cover gasket and a front crankshaft seal up there. In my experience it is the front crankshaft seal that leaks, rarely the timing chain cover gasket. I would have them clean that part of the engine and look again.

If it is the timing cover gasket, and it's not really a gasket but a special sealer Nissan uses, then it is labor intensive. We're talking almost 13 hours labor. At $65.00 an hour it would come to $845.00 plus oil and filter and whatever incidentals are needed.

The front oil seal would be a lot less expensive to repair and I think it's the most likely source of the leak.

Not being able to see the leak for myself, there is no way I can confirm or deny they accuracy of their diagnosis.

Nissan Maxima Oil Leak

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