1996 Mitsubishi Mirage Oil Leaking from WHERE?

1996 Mitsubishi Mirage 154000 miles

Mine’s not so much a repair question (since I have no plans to do any repairs myself), but more of a general question:

When I bought my 96 Mitsu Mirage a few months ago, the owner explained that it had a minor oil leak (1/2 quart between oil changes), that her mechanic attributed to age, and didn’t think it was worth searching for and repairing. I only paid $600 for it, and assuming “you get what you pay for, " I figured a minor oil leak was no big deal.

Not long after I bought it, the oil leak worsened, to a quart a week, sometimes more, depending on how much I drove it, and how fast I drove. When I took it to a mechanic acquaintance of mine for an oil change, he took one look under the hood and automatically declared that I need a new head-gasket. I look under the hood and have no idea what I’m seeing, so I trusted him.

But, just this week, my car wouldn’t start. I had it towed to a different mechanic, who said the problem was that it needed a new distributor. Now after reading a couple different forums and things, it looks like you can actually leak oil from the distributor.

I know this was a long explanation, but my question is this: Is it possible I was never leaking from my head-gasket at all? That the leak was always from the distributor, and it just got worse and worse until it stopped working? And maybe “blew" oil onto the head-gasket, making it appear as if it was leaking oil? Are the two parts even close to eachother?

I feel as though I get taken advantage of a lot by mechanics, since I have no clue what they’re saying. So before I talk to my mechanic about it, I’d like to know if it’s even possible! And I’m worried if I even present this theory to my mechanic acquaintance who’s offering to fix my head gasket, some other gasket, and two belts (for the same price I paid for my car), that he’ll toss the theory to the side at the prospect of losing money by not doing the repairs.

How do I check where the oil is actually coming from? I don’t want to get wrapped up in some major engine repairs if they’re unnecessary.

I know this is lengthy… I hope someone can help!
Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 AT 10:37 AM

1 Reply

Well first there is a tracer die that you put into the crank case, (where you pour the oil in) and in a couple of days the die will come out of where ever the oil is leaking, and you can get this at any parts store. Two, the distributor couldve busted its seals and began to leak oil and spattered over the engine, especially if this is a four cylinder its very close, a blown head gasket usually causes coolant to leak, and not oil, that gasket would have to be so bad, that the car would've stopped working a long time ago, he wouldntve been so quick to do a head gasket if that was a six cylinder, they are much harder and there are two. Four cylinder only has one and pretty easy to do, but costs a good amount of money to repair, the gasket itself only costs about fifteen to thirty bucks depending on brand and store. Its the labor, and shops always charge you three times the price of the part. Thats how they can give you warranties.
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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 AT 2:02 PM

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