Rear Main Seal
If you have ever been told that you need to replace your rear main seal and then told how much it would cost, you may still be suffering from sticker shock. If you don't know, the rear main seal is essentially a large rubber seal that fits between the engine and the transmission. The purpose of the rear main seal is to fit around the crankshaft to keep the oil from leaking. When the rear main seal becomes damaged it will usually cause a "check engine" light to come on. A common result of the rear main seal being damaged is significant oil leakage, which means that the rear main seal needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, replacing this seal is very costly, not because the seal is expensive but because of the labor involved.
The rear main seal usually does not become damaged spontaneously. In fact, this seal is usually damaged when the engine oil level is too low. When this happens the rear main seal can actually dry out and end up cracking or tearing, allowing for oil to leak out from around the crankshaft. While this is the most common reason for the rear main seal to break, it can also be caused by old age, or if there is an internal balance problem in the engine. Many times a rear seal is damaged when a vehicle has not been driven in a long time, which allows for the rear main seal to become dry and cracked.
Replacing the rear main seal is very costly. In fact, even with new methods of getting to the engine, basically the whole engine has to be removed. This includes the radiator, vacuuming out any Freon lines, and more. There is a lot of work involved in replacing the rear main seal because so many of the other components under the hood have to be removed. Of course, when you are talking about having your vehicle worked on, time is money, and the process of replacing the rear main seal can take anywhere from four to eight hours! This is a lengthy process and this is what you are paying for when you are paying to replace a rear main seal.
Wondering if you can replace the rear main seal on your own? The answer is probably not, not unless you have your own shop and a lot of the tools that will be necessary to remove the hood and basically lift the engine out of the vehicle! You will also need a lot of patience and time to make it happen. This is a huge repair to make if you have never done it before, you are best not attempting it now unless you have the utmost confidence in yourself and your abilities on working with engines.
Are you curious if there is any way to avoid replacing the rear main seal? There really isn't, although you can try some different oil additives that are on the market today. These additives are added to the oil and work to swell the rubber seal, which can help to seal off the leak. Many people will also use thicker oil in their car as the oil will help to fill the gap in that exists between the seal and the crankshaft, which will slow down the leak. Of course, the only cure for the problem is to replace the seal, which will cost you either in time or money, or both! Luckily, once you fix the problem it should be good for the life of the vehicle.