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Small Oil Leak


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I don't drive my car during the week...but every other weekend or so I put about 400-500 miles (round-trip) visiting family. I am usually set cruise at 60 mph but occasional take it up to 75 or 80 to get away from packs of trucks and other drivers.

Last weekend, I passed a couple of trucks going up a long hill and my "Add engine oil" light came on for maybe 5-10 sec.

I reached a top speed of 80 mph. I took my foot off the gas and the light went off a few seconds later. I checked my oil level and it was fine. 3/4 of the way to F on the next to impossible to read dipstick.

I haven't driven it for 5 days and looked under the car this morning and noticed a small oil spot. Maybe 3/4 the size of a coffee mug on a pitted black top parking lot surface.

The oil is dripping (dripping is too dramatic of a word...) down off the front-drivers-side corner of oil pan #2. Actually it is dripping down off the 2nd ridge in the pan from that corner (corner => ridge 1 => ridge 2)

Any ideas about where this leak might be coming from? Pan seal? Oil Pump? Somewhere higher up? (Oil looks pretty clean on my finger...a little reddish tint...IT IS THE OIL, RIGHT?) I haven't detected any obvious burning oil smells during this last trip (sniffed around pretty good behind car and under the hood at the end of my trip).

It has been 4k since my last oil change and this looks to be the first sign of the leak. Used Pennzoil Platinum Synthetic this time. Used Mobil Synthetic for over a year before that (and Dino before that). I change it around every 5k. Went 6k once with Mobil 1 Synthetic.

169,000 miles. No major work done in this area.

This kinda stuff gives me an ulcer.

Any info (good or bad) would be greatly appreciated.



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I don't think it IS oil.

Reddish, oily (not slimy like coolant), clearish, and slightly sweet smelling...completely evaporated when I drove the car about 7-8 miles today. Left a white-ish residue on the bottom of the oil pan where the 'drip' accumulated.

SO...Is it a power steering leak OR a transmission fluid leak along the cooler line???

Any guesses?


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