Zen and the Art of Camaro Maintenance

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1984 Chevrolet Camaro that I bought used in 1987. It was in great shape, had only 30,000 miles, belonged to a school teacher, etc. I haven't had any problems until it recently started leaking oil erratically. It'll go for weeks without leaking any oil, and then it won't hold the same oil for two days! My mechanic says that my valve cover gaskets need to be replaced, but my husband thinks that my car will be magically fixed, so he's not doing anything. Help!

RAY: Let's deal with your car first, Peggy, then we'll get to your husband. Two things come to mind that could cause intermittent oil leaks. The first is the valve cover gaskets. They'd be most likely to leak after you've driven the car at sustained high speeds (of course, we know people who buy Camaros never do this).

TOM: The other thing that could leak intermittently is the oil pressure sending unit. That's the switch that measures the engine oil pressure and sends a signal to the gauge on the dashboard.

RAY: If it's the sending unit, it's cheap. A new one will cost you less than 100 dollars. Valve cover gaskets, on the other hand, could easily run you over 100 dollars.

TOM: Now, Peggy, let's get to your bigger problem, your husband. You're going to have to convince him to abandon this Zen approach to fixing your car. It may be great for motorcycles, but we've never seen it work on a Camaro.

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