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Oil Leaks At 40k Miles


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I have a 1997 model year ES300 with 40,000 miles and recently took it to an independent mechanic listed by BBB, AAA, & Chamber of Commerce in Camarillo and they inspected it and said that the

oil pan gasket

trans pan gasket

front engine seal

one of the valve cover gaskets (rear)

need replacement because they leak oil.

Also that the front brakes are worn to 30% and the rear to 35%.

In comparison, my Mom's 1992 (also ES300) has 80k miles on it and it don't leak anything!

I know that aging has something to do with gasket life but doesn't this sound suspect? Am I being set for a scam? Are these gasket made from silicon rubber? That's what the shop told me. The repair shop said the cost of parts and labor was about $1150, not including the brakes. Regarding the brakes, the Lexus parts guy said that the front pads get replaced twice before the rear pads get replaced. I wonder if the hydraulic distribution unit to rear brakes is off or malfunctioning?

Car was purchased at Jim Falk in Beverly Hills and had 4500 miles when purchased in 2000. An extension warranty was also purchased and is still good till 2008 or 100k miles.

Any advice on this?


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my 1997 es300 also had oil leak when it's 40k miles. i took it back to lexus dealer three times and finally they got it fixed. the last time, it took 3 weeks for them to check and put special growing fluid in the oil tank so they could see where the leak was. they just patched it. my car now have 76k and no more leak thereafter.

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Thank you both for your suggestions.

The Extended Warranty is sold by Bev Hills Lexus but is not them. It is a separate insurance company.

I will take it to the dealer for a 2nd opinion. However I do know that some of the dealers, for instance Santa Monica Lexus have made verbal claims of items that needed replacement or repairs that was not true. I hope this is not the case for the dealer in Bev Hills.

As for the leak detection using UV glowing agents, that is a good idea, but I guess they would charge a fee for the service.

I still wonder why my Mom's '92 ES300 does not leak oil or anything. Did they build them better in that year? I wonder if it the lower compression ratio ? As it uses 87 octane gas on a regular basis.

What would cause sludge to build up in this higher performance engine? I do know that the Lexus dealers use Penzoil or Quaker oil (ash bashed, I believe). Whereas the independent servicer uses Castrol or Kendal racing oils. One of the reasons mentioned is that it will prevent sludge buildup. Not to mention the higher degree of internal wear protection.

If it has built up some sludge, how is it removed? How is sludge in the engine detected?


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