Please settle an argument for me I own an '...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

Please settle an argument for me. I own an '86 Ford Escort. The man at the service station says I have oil leaks coming from the valve cover gasket and the oil pressure switch. He says not to fix them. He says that as these cars get old, everything loosens up a little and pressure builds up inside the engine. He says that if he fixes these leaks, it will leak elsewhere because of the built up pressure. My husband says he's wrong. What do you think?

TOM: I think your mechanic has pressure built up inside his head, Betty. I agree with your husband.

RAY: Me, too. You should definitely fix the oil pressure switch. That switch is constantly subjected to high pressure from the oil pump,gets constantly bombarded with oil from the output of the oil pump. If that oil switch ever failed completely, you could lose all of your oil and seize the engine in a matter of minutes. Can you imagine the "I told you so's" you'd get from your husband if THAT happened?

TOM: The valve cover gasket could also cause you serious problems. Although it won't cause a catastrophic leak like the oil switch, it could allow oil to seep down onto the hot exhaust manifold. And if the leak is severe enough, you could have an oil fire.

RAY: So unless oil fires and engine failures are your idea of excitement, I'd fix the leaks, Betty.

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