Will repairing this oil leak cost more than the car is worth?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1987 Crown Victoria with 95,000 miles. It's now leaking oil. My
mechanic has checked the obvious places for leaks and tells me that
checking further would involve stripping down the motor and would cost me
more than the car is worth. The car is in excellent condition both inside
and out, and has had very good care. I still enjoy it, and cannot afford a
new car. Meanwhile, it has ruined my driveway and garage floor, and friends
ask me not to park in their driveways when I call. Do you have any advice
for me? -- Jane

RAY: Sure. Have your friends over to YOUR house.

TOM: Actually, this is not a big problem, Jane. Typically, these cars leak
oil from the gasket at the back of the intake manifold. And it is a pain in
the neck to get to, but it certainly wouldn't cost more than the car is
worth. The repair will cost you a few hundred dollars, 98 percent of which
will be labor.

RAY: And when you do it, be sure your mechanic checks your positive
crankcase ventilation (PCV) system. That's supposed to relieve pressure in
the crankcase. But often it gets plugged up and the crankcase pressure
can't escape. So it ends up blowing a gasket -- which is probably what
happened to your car.

TOM: But for a few hundred bucks, Jane, you can keep this car that you love
AND play pinochle at your friends' houses without having to park two blocks
away. What a deal, huh?

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