Car has 120K miles on it. Over the past few months, there has been an oil leak from the engine. The leak is under the right front passenger side of the engine, about a foot inside the right wheel well. Last week, I took it to the dealer, and was told there was too much oil leaking to determine the source. He recommended a "step-wise" approach to find the leak. The first step was to replace the valve cover gasket (parts + labor = $200). Then, after 1-2 weeks, I would need to bring the vehicle back in to see if it was still leaking.
This morning, after a quick drive, the oil leak is still there.
And, it seems to be heavier than before! At the initial repair estimate, I was told the problem could also be the right axle shaft seal (parts + labor ~$220) and/or front engine seals (parts + labor ~$450). Now, I have a few questions I hope someone can answer.
1. Is this stepwise-down approach correct to determine the source of the oil leak and also to fix it? Or, could the leak have been identified in a different way? I just have an awful feeling that I am being fleeced for unnecessary repairs (since the cause of the leak hasn't been identified, I have to fix EVERYTHING).
2. Are those parts and labor estimates accurate? Or, are they inflated?
3. I was told the front engine seals replacement would be the longest. This is because they are inside the engine. Is this the same as a timing cover seal? Now, I had my timing belt and water pump replaced 2 years ago at 90K miles at the same dealership. Should the seals have been replaced at that time? When I queried them about this, they said they only replace them if they are or look bad....?
4. Does anyone have any other ideas or suggestions as to the cause of the oil leak? A google search also mentions things such as crankshaft oil seal, oil pump oil seal, oil pump o-ring, etc, etc. Are these similar to what was mentioned in the initial repair estimate, or completely different?
This fix isn't quick, and the repair is getting to be complex and expensive. All responses appreciated. Thanks!