So, imagine that you’ve just noticed a big puddle of oil on the ground in your garage and you are almost sure that your rear main seal is failing and has to be replaced. But what does the rear main seal replacement cost?
- What Is A Rear Main Seal?
- Where Is The Rear Main Seal Located?
- Causes & Reasons Why It Fails
- Symptoms Of A Bad Rear Main Seal
- When To Replace A Rear Main Seal?
- DIY Rear Main Seal Replacement Steps
- Cost To Replace The Rear Main Seal
- Final Conclusion
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Although the rear main seal is a piece of rubber, it is a crucial part of your car and this seal is making sure that your crankshaft seals properly. This means that the seal will prevent fluid leaks and potentially hazardous situations on the engine.
The engine, to function properly, has to have working seals and gaskets. These components will prevent the fluids from escaping and will work to keep your engine healthy and properly lubricated.
A good inspection of all the seals in your car is a must every 50,000 miles. This is to make sure that everything is in check and that nothing is prone to failure.
In this article, we are going to learn a lot about the rear main seal. We will learn what this seal really is and where it’s located on the vehicle. We will also see why these rear main seals fail and how you can recognize a failing seal. Then, we are going to cover how this rear main seal is replaced and also the rear main seal replacement cost. So, let’s begin.
Rear Main Seal
The rear main seal is a circular thick rubbery component that slides between the crankshaft and the engine block. This seal is needed to keep your oil inside the engine bay.
If your rear main seal starts to leak, you will start to lose a huge amount of oil from your car. If this passes by unnoticed, your engine will starve from oil and this will eventually cause your engine components to friction.
And this friction will damage your bearings and cylinder walls. These leaks will prevent the oil from reaching some integral engine components and could escalate to a bigger rear main seal replacement cost.
Especially for a part that costs a few dollars at your local parts store. These rear main seals do not generally cost more than $25. However, the rear main seal replacement cost is very expensive since it requires a lot of labor hours to be done.
That’s especially true in some cars that have a really tight space to work on and will bring a lot of hurdles for the mechanic to access them and replace the rear main seal properly.
If your rear main seal is leaking, a good OEM seal is a tight fit and this will guarantee that no oil escapes from your engine. Also, you have to be sure that this part is very soft and is basically a new part. You don’t want to get a new plasticky rear main seal that will not do its job properly. And the rear main replacement cost is not going to be very expensive.
Rear Main Seal Location
The name is a clue that the seal is located in the rear. This is always the case if you have a rear-wheel-drive car. The rear main seal is right between your engine and transmission.
This is the case because, in front-wheel cars, the engine is oriented differently compared to a rear-wheel-drive car. This can also make the removal process of this rear main seal to be a lot more complex and it can be tricky to get a hold of it.
Tight engine bays make this repair a lot more expensive than you planned. So, the best way to avoid big repair bills is to find a car that has a lot of working space. Rear main seal replacement in older cars is a breeze. But if you try to replace one in an Audi, you will have to tear the whole car apart and pull the engine out. And this costs time and money. So, if you want to save some cash by getting a car that is easy to work on, it’s worth considering.
That’s why I love big American muscle cars. They are simple to work on and extremely easy to repair. Just bolt the component off and replace it with a new one, it’s as easy as that.
What Causes A Rear Main Seal To Leak
The rear main seal fails because of two factors. These factors are affecting its lifespan and making it unusable. One of these factors is heat and the other factor is age.
In the engine bay, there is a lot of heat that affects these rear main seals and ruins their sealing characteristics.
The other factor is age. It doesn’t matter the conditions in which you are keeping your car. These parts, over time, become brittle and plasticky. When they harden, they tend to get looser and allow the oil to pass freely. Also, make sure that you don’t overfill your engine with motor oil.
Personally, my rear main seal failed because I have overfilled my car with motor oil. When I put the factory-recommended oil in the right amount, it showed that the amount was too high.
So, I had to remove some of the oil from the car but I couldn’t visit a mechanic and I drove the car as it is. Driving under these conditions made the old and plasticky rear main seal fail and the underside of my car was splashed with oil. This was the case because my car is front-wheel-drive, and when the seal fails, it splashes the underside of the car.
I had to replace the rear main seal and it cost me around $400. This was the case because my car has a small engine and is extremely easy to access. The job lasted 5 hours and an experienced mechanic tackled this job perfectly.
So, make sure that you don’t overfill your car with engine oil. This is another factor that can increase your rear main seal replacement cost.
Rear Main Seal Leak Symptoms
A leaking rear main seal is a big problem. And it’s not that hard to recognize if you have a real main seal failure. To do this, you need to know the location of this rear main seal. And this is behind the firewall of the vehicle. The seal is basically located between the rear of the engine and the flywheel. Then the flywheel is connected to the transmission.
But enough with mechanicals, let’s see first how you can spot your leaky rear main seal and diagnose the issue. Because at the end of the day, you have to be sure that it is the rear main seal that is leaking engine oil. You don’t want to pay a rear main seal replacement cost for nothing. So, let’s discuss the symptoms of a bad rear main seal.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost, Symptoms #1: Oil Stains On The Ground
Oil stains on the ground (which you can clean by learning how to get oil stains out of concrete and how to get oil off driveway, as well as how to get oil stains off driveway, and how to get motor oil out of clothes) will be a normal thing if you are having a leaky rear main seal. And these stains will be puddles of oil after a while if you don’t get this thing sorted out.
But you should be aware that the oil can leak from numerous places. Maybe you have a leaky oil pan, or your oil pan gasket has failed. That’s why you need to figure out the location of this leak. The location should be from the back of the engine.
To make sure about where those oil leaks come from, it is a good idea to park the car in the same spot for some time.
Make sure that the car is parked in the same spot. If the leaks come from the oil pan, then the leak should be further at the front of the car. If the oil stain is caused by a rear main seal, then the oil stain should be right on the firewall mark.
So, to be 100% sure you have to check the car from underneath. If you have some jacks, you can secure the car and lift it in the air. By accessing the car from the ground, you are going to have a clear vision of where the oil is coming from.
If there is a big splash of oil under the bell housing, that means that you are in big trouble as this rear main seal has to be replaced and you need to google “rear main seal replacement cost”. That is something that we are going to discuss later.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost, Symptoms #2: Oil Loss
Another symptom of a rear main seal that is leaking is big oil loss. Especially if the seal is leaking, the loss of oil is going to be more and more pronounced.
Your oil will simply disappear and you will have to refill your oil daily in some extreme cases. That’s why you need to check your oil level frequently.
Imagine that your rear main seal has failed and you are simply not aware of this situation. You drive the car for a thousand miles and you don’t pay attention. Suddenly, the engine stops and doesn’t turn on.
This means that your engine is done. In this case, you are going to need a completely new replacement engine that will cost thousands of dollars.
So, when you are experiencing some leaks on the ground, make sure that your oil level is in check. By observing the oil level frequently, you will know that you are losing oil and you will refill the oil on time so that your engine will not be starved from oil which will result in catastrophic engine damage.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost, Symptoms #3: Smoke from the Exhaust
When your rear main seal has a leak, it allows oil to seep into areas where it shouldn’t be. In some instances, this oil can reach the exhaust system. Once this happens, you’ll notice white smoke emitting from the exhaust when you start the vehicle. The sight of smoke usually raises alarms for car owners.
Remember, the color of the smoke matters. White smoke indicates oil burning in the exhaust system. This smoke has a distinct, slightly sweet smell. However, it’s different from the black smoke that signifies a rich air-fuel mixture or the blue smoke indicating burning oil from worn-out internal engine components.
Always pay close attention to your exhaust, as it often provides key indicators about the health of your engine.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost, Symptoms #4: Performance Decline
A leaky rear main seal might not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to significant performance issues over time. The gradual loss of oil leads to insufficient lubrication of engine parts. As a result, you might experience a rough idle, misfires, and even decreased acceleration.
The engine heavily relies on oil for smooth operation. Without proper lubrication, the engine parts wear out faster, potentially leading to more significant damage. Therefore, if you notice your car doesn’t feel as peppy as it used to or struggles during acceleration, it’s worth checking out.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost, Symptoms #5: Check Engine Light
In modern cars, the vehicle’s computer system continually monitors various components. A rear main seal leak might cause fluctuations in oil pressure, which the computer can detect. When this happens, the check engine light on your dashboard might illuminate.
However, the check engine light can come on for numerous reasons. Therefore, if you see this light, it’s a good idea to get a diagnostic check. Most automotive stores can read the error codes for free. By identifying the root cause, you can address the issue before it becomes a bigger problem.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost, Symptoms #6: Clutch Slippage (For Manual Transmissions)
For cars with manual transmissions, oil from a leaky rear main seal can seep into the clutch housing. Once inside, the oil contaminates the clutch disc, leading to slippage. If you find that your car’s clutch isn’t engaging as it should or you experience difficulty shifting gears, it might be due to oil contamination.
Moreover, if the oil reaches the clutch, it doesn’t just impact performance. It can also lead to the clutch’s premature wear and the need for a replacement. So, always keep an ear out for any unusual noises or changes in clutch behavior.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost, Symptoms #7: Overheating Engine
Oil plays a crucial role in cooling the engine. It dissipates heat generated by the constant movement of engine components. If the rear main seal is leaking and the oil level drops, there’s less oil available to cool the engine. Over time, this can cause the engine to overheat, especially during prolonged drives.
An overheating engine can manifest in many ways: the temperature gauge rising, steam coming from the hood, or even the engine stalling. Therefore, always keep an eye on your car’s temperature gauge and act immediately if it starts rising consistently.
A rear main seal might seem like a minor component, but its failure can lead to numerous symptoms that can harm your engine in the long run. Always be vigilant and pay attention to your car’s performance. Regular maintenance checks and being aware of these signs can save you from more significant troubles and hefty repair costs in the future.
How Long Does A Rear Main Seal Last
This is a good question, mainly because if you don’t have enough cash in your bank account you can continue driving like this. When this seal starts to fail small drops of oil start to appear and you need to be aware that you are having a rear main seal leak on your car.
By knowing this, you will be sure that you are not going to be left without oil at any moment. After you acknowledge that your seal is leaking always have an oil bottle inside of your trunk for refills.
But as time goes by, this problem exacerbates and the leaks become puddles. Things are starting to get serious. By serious, I mean that you cannot handle the leaks anymore and refill the oil. Your car is losing too much oil from the rear main seal.
This requires a rear main seal replacement. The replacement rear main seal is cheap, but the rear main seal replacement cost is expensive. This seal can cost you a lot of money to replace. And that is something that we are going to cover in one of our next chapters.
Rear Main Seal Replacement
Replacing a rear main seal is not a simple task. To do this job, you need to have a proper working environment because you need to access the car from underneath if the vehicle is a rear-wheel drive.
This is because the transmission, torque converter, and flywheel have to come off to reach the rear main seal. And that’s a lot of work to be invested into this job. That’s why the rear main seal replacement cost is that expensive. But we are going to cover that later. Now let’s see how we can replace the rear main seal in a DIY fashion.
To do this job, you are going to need wrenches, a lift, a jack for the transmission, and a new rear main seal.
The first step involves jacking the car up into the air and inspecting the leaks. The next thing to do is to start unbolting the transmission of your vehicle.
Make sure that you have the right support that is going to handle the transmission and you will not end up hurting yourself. That’s why this is a two-person job. You will need to get a transmission jack to attach the transmission to it and slowly bring it to the ground.
After you remove the transmission, now it’s time to remove the torque converter. The torque converter should pop out easily.
The next step is to remove the flywheel. The flywheel is usually held by a couple of bolts and will be a little bit tricky to pop it loose. A few taps with the hammer will do the trick and will release the flywheel.
Now it’s time to remove the rear main seal cover. This cover is usually held by a few bolts. After you remove the cover, you can reach the rear main seal.
Now it’s time to address the rear main seal. This rear main seal is a pain to remove. You will probably need a screwdriver to pop it loose. Just make sure that you don’t damage the metal around it. It may be tricky but it will get loose after some persuasion.
After you remove the old seal, you can inspect it and you will see that is hard as a rock. That’s why the seal was leaking. Replace the old seal with a new one. Make sure that it fits nicely and try not to damage it while you are replacing it. Then you are ready to reassemble everything and make sure that you don’t end up with leftover parts after you are done with the job.
This is a tough and demanding job. But if you are willing to do it and if you have the tools, nothing can stop you from doing it. Wrenching on your car will probably be your favorite sport. Now let’s discuss the rear main seal replacement cost.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost
Now we come to the main topic and that is the main seal replacement cost. The rear main seal replacement cost is not cheap, to be honest. The part is not that expensive at all, and you can find a rear main seal for $25 or less in some situations.
What makes this job expensive is the labor. This job is highly demanding in labor and will require a lot of labor hours to get things done and sorted out as they should.
It usually takes between 6 to 10 hours to get things straight and in proper working order. This is a lot of time that you have to invest to get this work done.
Or if you take your car to a mechanics shop you cannot expect that it’s going to cost you less than $1000. This is the case because most repair shops have rates of $50 to $100 per hour. This is not cheap by any means.
Also, your car will be at the shop for a few days, since mechanics also work on other customers’ cars. Patience is another aspect of this job; you have to be patient and make sure that you have another vehicle to drive while this car is serviced.
How Long Can You Drive With A Rear Main Seal Leak
As we said, you can keep driving your car as it is but you shouldn’t. This is the case because your car is constantly losing oil and if you don’t fill the car with oil, you are going to leave your engine dry and your engine is going to fail.
That’s why you should check your oil level very often and make sure that every time it has the right amount of oil inside and everything is properly lubricated.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost: In Conclusion…
In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to rear main seals. We learned what are they and what their purpose is within your car. We’ve also learned about where they are located inside of the engine bay, and how to find out if you have a rear main seal leak.
Then we have covered how to replace a rear main seal on your car. This may come in handy if you want to do some DIY work on your car. And we finally covered the rear main seal replacement cost. This is important because this work is not cheap and can cost a lot of money to complete, mainly due to its complexity.
And finally, we found out how you can save some money by performing this replacement job at your house or a friend’s house. That’s if your friend has the proper tooling.
Rear Main Seal Replacement Cost: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you’re still curious to learn more about a rear main seal replacement cost, our FAQs here might help…
How Much Does It Cost To Fix An Oil Leak
The cost of fixing an oil leak would vary massively, depending on the source of the leak and the particular component at fault. Generally speaking, an oil leak repair might cost you anywhere between $100 to as much as $2,000. For example, if the cause of the leak is worn-out seals and gaskets, these could be replaced for pretty cheap. You could find these individual seals and gaskets selling for as little as just $10 each. The same goes for oil filters, which could be found for as little as $30. However, for much more extensive damage such as replacing a punctured oil pan, it could cost you as much as $500 just for the pan itself.
What Is The Rear Main Seal
The rear main seal, as its name suggests, is located around the rear of the engine. Specifically, where the crankshaft and transmission connect, near the rear-bottom of the engine. The sole responsibility of the rear main seal is to keep motor oil sealed within the engine. On top of that, besides keeping oil sealed inside of the engine… It also needs to ensure that contaminants like dirt, mud, water or other pollutants don’t creep into the engine from the rear. Thus, mixing in with the oil, and causing some internal engine damage. As such, a leaky and worn-out rear main seal can lead to oil leaks appearing.
How Long Does It Take To Fix An Oil Leak
All the time required to patch up an oil leak will vary wildly depending on what’s caused the leak to appear in the first place. For example, if the cause of the oil leak is something as simple as a loose oil reservoir cap, bad oil filter, or worn-out drain plug, an experienced mechanic could have each one replaced in under 15 minutes. Although, an issue as significant as faulty valve cover gaskets might take a few hours. On the other hand, there are also potential problems that might require significant disassembly of the engine to get to the parts in question. For instance, a blown head gasket would sometimes take days to replace.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace Rear Main Seal
A brand-new, replacement rear main seal can be found at most auto parts stores for as little as just $25. However, what makes a rear main seal replacement cost so expensive is the amount of labor required. Primarily, because the rear main seal is located between the engine and transmission. Therefore, replacing it often requires removing large parts of the engine and transmission to even get access to the old rear main seal. Oftentimes, it can take even an experienced technician at least 6 hours of work, just to replace a rear main seal. Hence, the total rear main seal replacement cost could easily skyrocket to upward of $1,000.
How To Fix A Rear Main Seal Leak
There are several methods to try and fix a rear main seal leak. The most cost-effective and simplest one is by using a special rear main seal repair additive. It’s similar to stop-leak solutions that you’d pour into your oil reservoir (where you’d add motor oil into). It works by circulating special additives and agents alongside your oil. As your oil finally flows to the rear main seal, these additives and agents in a stop-leak or rear main sealer solution would gradually repair and re-heal the rubber seals. It might not necessarily work for more significant leakage. But for minor leaks, it should at least stop or slow down the oil leaks.