What is an oil pan gasket?
An oil pan gasket seals the oil pan to the bottom portion of the engine block. The gasket prevents motor oil from leaking out as it travels from the pan to the motor and returns to the pan. In the majority of modern engines, two style of gaskets are prevalent - liquid gaskets and formed rubber gaskets. The choice of gasket will depend on the material used in the construction of the oil pan. A pressed steel pan will use a formed rubber gasket, and an aluminum pan will use some form of liquid gasket.
What are the symptoms of a leaky oil pan gasket?
Simple. Loss of motor oil. Over time and as mileage climbs, all engines develop oil leaks, and the oil pan gasket is usually one of the first areas. Heat and age will dry out the gasket making it brittle, and the vibration of the engine coupled with crankcase gases pushing from the inside will make cracks and holes for the oil to seep out. Expect these leaks.
How severe is a leaky oil pan gasket?
This is not a repair that will leave you on the side of the road, at least if not ignored interminably. However, if we plan to drive our car for many years and high mileage, taking care of small leaks helps to extend engine life. Plan the repair before the leak reaches the point where oil level is critically low, meaning if you are adding more than a quart every once in a while. Find a good mechanic, one who has experience in engine repair, and set an appointment. Most oil pan gaskets can be replaced same day, but there are exceptions which need more time. A good mechanic will advise on the time needed for the repair and how long we will be without our car.
What is the typical cost to replace an oil pan gasket?
- Estimated part(s) cost = $10 - $40
- Estimated labor cost= $100 - $400
- Estimated total cost = $110 - $440
Good news, the gasket itself is quite inexpensive. Depending if it’s a liquid gasket or a pre-formed rubber gasket, price will run between $10 to $40. Installation can vary greatly with the make and model of vehicle. Some oil pans are very accessible, and the labor time will be in the $100 range. Other pans need the removal of exhaust and suspension components removed to gain access. Labor prices in these instances can reach into the $300 to $400 range with some German models climbing higher.
Keep in mind, pricing will vary by location and your vehicle make and model. If you're not already, save time by using Openbay to compare pricing and book an appointment with a qualified repair shop in your area.
Service article written by an ASE Master Technician